The pandemic uprooted many aspects of our lives, including how we work. Unless you were an essential worker, you’ve likely worked remotely over the last several years. Now, you might need to return to the office, either voluntarily or because your boss has decided it’s time. Here are a few ways to prepare for your return to the office.
Update Your Work Wardrobe
If you haven’t been in the office in two years, you probably haven’t had much opportunity to pull out your business casual looks. Your work wardrobe might need updating or not fit the way you remembered.
Be gentle with yourself if your clothes don’t fit how you remembered. Bodies change shape with time. The last few years have been incredibly difficult, with many people struggling with loss, mental health crises, and illness. Remember that your body survived this period of high stress—be proud of what you accomplished rather than berating yourself for wearing a different size.
Renegotiate the Domestic Task Breakdown
The way many couples shared domestic tasks shifted when the pandemic started. If your partner has been back in the office and you’ve been working remotely, you may be doing small daily chores to keep the household running.
Emptying the dishwasher or washing a load of laundry are manageable tasks to do while working from home, but they aren’t possible when you’re back in the office. Discuss how you and your partner should fairly distribute the chores now that you both have a commute. This will prevent one of you from taking on more than your fair share and burning out due to the stress.
Take Care of Your Pandemic Pets
Many of us adopted pets during the pandemic. Now, we have two and three-year-old dogs and cats who aren’t used to being alone for long periods. Your sudden absence can cause separation anxiety, resulting in a panicky pet and even damaged personal items.
Cats with separation anxiety tend to groom themselves compulsively, potty outside the litterbox, vocalize more than usual, or vomit while you’re gone. These behaviors are not your kitty acting out but them attempting to tell you something is wrong. Some strategies that can help include adopting another animal, installing a Wi-Fi camera you can talk through, or creating a perch so your kitty can see outside.
Dogs with separation anxiety are more likely to tear up things while you’re gone. They may also bark or whine excessively, potty in the house even though they’re housebroken, or pace obsessively around your home.
Special treats like puzzle toys filled with peanut butter or natural, calming supplements can help with these symptoms. If your dog has lots of energy and loves other dogs, taking them to doggy daycare might be a good fit.
With these ways to prepare, your return to the office should go smoothly. Just take a deep breath—you got this!