Anticipating Back-to-Office Burnout

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Returning to the office after a year of remote working is gonna be weird.

With things starting to return to some semblance of normalcy after a year and change of confusion, frustration, and probably several other words that end in -ion, there’s a big question hanging over the national workforce: do we all go back to the office, or embrace our new remote lifestyles fully? Many companies, mostly tech-based ones, are opting for full remote since it’s easier on employees and saves money on things like office necessities. Many older companies, however, have insisted that things go back to the way they were: everyone in full suits in the office at 9:00 AM sharp. If that’s how it’s gotta be, that’s how it’s gotta be, but both employees and managers should be cognizant of the fact that there’s probably going to be a really awkward adjustment period.

Consider: we’ve just spent well over a year working from home in our jammies. No regulations on lunch and bathroom breaks, no concerns about catching COVID from less health-conscious coworkers, and no supervisors breathing down everyone’s necks. Forcing a return to a much more strictly-structured lifestyle will likely be met with some heavy resistance, and the solution is most definitely not to shout and everyone and tell them to suck it up. Remember, a lot of people have been quitting their jobs lately after realizing that their pandemic-era treatment wasn’t worth their pay; if you browbeat your coworkers and employees with this, they’re just going to get angry.

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Instead, do what you can to lessen the roughness of the transitory period. For one thing, instead of immediately demanding everyone return to the office, start with a hybrid approach: work from home some days, work at the office on others. If possible, you should also try to ease off on any overbearing policies. Keep things loose and casual at first, and slowly work your way back to a more professional atmosphere. Or you could just let everyone wear t-shirts and jeans, but I guess that’s still too modern of a notion for some companies.

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12 months ago
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