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Tips for Managing Your Return to On-site Work Experience

As more of us return to on-site work, we acknowledge that life is not the same as it was before the pandemic. For some, it may be our first close interaction with people, beyond family and friends. For others, the return may feel more comfortable. But it’s likely that—for all of us—transitioning back to the workplace will be an adjustment as we reestablish and reimagine social norms and work habits. 

Here are some tips for managing your return to the workplace.

1) Go easy on yourself and others.

It’s normal to experience anxiety during transitions. We will likely all react a bit differently to returning to on-site work, so have patience and empathy for yourself and your colleagues as you reconnect, relearn office procedures, and navigate the new realities of our workplace.

2) Ease back into social norms and create new ones.

Are you ready to shake hands? Would you prefer a friendly wave instead? Maybe you’re ready for an in-person coffee chat, or maybe you’re not. As we reconnect and rebuild our community, it’s important to communicate and respect each other’s boundaries.

3) Plan ahead and adjust.

A little preparation can go a long way. Small tasks, like making your lunch at home, packing your work bag the night before, and planning when to take breaks, can help your workday run more smoothly. Also, factor in your commute and responsibilities at home when scheduling. Make sure to talk to your supervisor about your schedule, and finetune it as you discover what works best for you.

4) Focus on what makes you happy at work.

You’ve probably missed the Stanford community, your colleagues, your workouts at the gym, or maybe even your large monitor. Take time each day to appreciate the people and resources that make your time at Stanford special.

5) Lean into what you learned.

This past year, you likely learned a lot about how you work most productively. Now is a good time to put that to use so you can be intentional about your time in the office and make the most of it.

6) Take stock of your work/life integration.

Did the line between your work and your life blur while you were working remotely? Re-examine your work life integration and think about how to reestablish boundaries.

7) Most of all: Take care of your mental and physical health.

If you’re not practicing self-care, now is a good time to start. If you feel anxiety, need to adjust your health habits, or just want some support with your wellness, Stanford offers a variety of self-care resources to help you manage this transition, including free counseling from the Faculty Staff Help Center.