Preparing for a return to the office might bring back memories of the first day of school. Whether you’re excited or nervous, you haven’t seen these people in person in a long time. Some of your friends might not be there anymore, and new people have joined the group. In short, you’re going to need to renegotiate some relationships. Here are three ways to ease the transition as you reconnect with coworkers.
1. Respect different comfort levels
A person who avoids the break room and keeps their office door closed might not mean to be antisocial. They may just be less comfortable returning to the office. Some people will be fine with handshakes and closed-door meetings. Others will feel more comfortable wearing a mask and meeting outside whenever possible. Respecting your coworkers’ boundaries will help you re-start your relationships on the right foot.
Remember, you may not be aware of health issues or personal experiences that could affect a coworker’s reactions. If you’re not sure whether something is okay, ask. Most people will appreciate the consideration.
2. Set clear expectations for communication
During the pandemic, you probably relied heavily or even exclusively on video conferencing and chat tools to get work done. Now that you’re back in the office, you might have to re-negotiate what people can expect. If a face-to-face interaction is easier than a video chat, are you okay with a drop-in visit from a coworker? Set boundaries and expectations early, so everyone knows where you stand.
And remember that even if walking down the hall to talk to your coworker seems slower than dashing off an instant message, face-to-face communication is better at reducing stress and building relationships. The next best form of communication is a phone call.
3. Offer to work together
You may not fully control which projects you work on and with whom, so this tip isn’t for everyone. But if you do get to choose your teammates, seek out people you want to reconnect with. Solving problems together can help re-establish a positive work relationship. Even something as simple as helping someone carry supplies from their car to their office can help you build social capital again.
Most importantly, be patient. Your coworkers have faced a lot of disruption over the last 18 months. Reconnecting may take time.
Return to work in a new office space
Of course, before you return to the office, you need to have an office. At College Park Executive Suites we have small, medium, and large offices for individuals or teams. Contact Jackie today, and return to work in a brand new office tomorrow.