Back to the office: How to transition from working at home

Back to the office: How to transition from working at home

One of the greatest shifts in the working world is that for some of us, the office is at home. But a change in industry, career, or rising through the ranks can mean a return to office life. Fortunately, the transition can be made smoother with a little planning and forethought.

  1. Get up and go in earlier

    Adding a commute to your daily work routine usually means getting up earlier and coming home later. When you’ve locked in the new role, start shifting your schedule to match. For example, set your alarm to the time you’ll need to rise, commute to a coffee shop, and work from there until it’s time to head home. This dry run will help at home too, as roommates and significant others can start adjusting their schedule.

    Be sure to budget some time to get there early. Early on you’ll need the time to get settled, learn the building, and find the supply closet, and getting that done before the day really starts helps get you up to speed.

  2. Figure out your commute

    Whether you’re getting behind the wheel or returning to public transit, if you haven’t commuted in a while, it can have some surprises. Fortunately, you can get a rough average by using Google Maps; tell it the day you’re traveling on and what time you want to arrive by, and it’ll tell you roughly when to leave the house. Even with that, though, try out the route at least once before you have to arrive at the office. Commuting is full of surprises.

    And don’t hesitate to be productive on your commute. WiFi on the train, or even just a professional podcast on your headphones, helps get you into the office mindset.

  3. Prep the night before

    If you’re fitting in a gym visit or running errands before work, prep the night before. Pack everything you need and put as much of it as you can in a “staging area” near your front door, so you can get up, grab, and go. And don’t forget lunch!

  4. Check your routines

    When you work from home, taking ten minutes from your lunch hour to do the dishes, or getting out for a run after that 4 o’clock phone call wraps up, is no problem. When you’re not at home, you’ve got to figure out how that gets done, whether that means getting up earlier to workout and wash dishes, or making a little space at the end of the day to run errands and workout after work or during lunch.

  5. Get Involved

    Finally, start getting involved. Sign up for volunteer efforts, ask about committees you can join, and attend getting-to-know-you events. Don’t hesitate to sign up for outside events as well; one of the greatest advantages of working in an office is working with people.

Going back to the office will be an adjustment. But with a little planning, you can get behind the desk just like you never left.