If you have been working from home during 2020, you have probably been working hard to meet deadlines. However, some activities may have slipped while you worked your way through zoom meetings, email chains and joint editing projects.
Make a Great First Impression
Your professional wardrobe may have gone to the back of the closet. Luckily, there are many crossover garments that work well for casual wear as well as the office if you need to update your wardrobe.
However, you may need to address some factors of your appearance and dress and grooming to make sure that your appearance is still professional. Press your shirts. Shine your shoes and show solid shoe care skills.
For those with facial hair, either trim a beard or shave off stubble, but get out of the scruffy zone. Staying constantly stubbly is not appropriate at the office. Commit one way or the other and make sure you get a haircut before you go back to the office.
If you have let your hair grow during the pandemic and want a ponytail, get a straight trim so your ponytail is neat and can easily grow longer without looking battered and beaten up.
Follow Workplace Rules
Once you are back in the office, be ready to communicate and contribute. It may not be your job to stock the coffee organizer, but you will want to make another cup if you take the last one.
Mask if required in the common areas. Check in with your coworkers. If you see them masking and you are fully vaccinated, be aware that they may be caring for a loved one who is particularly at risk. If they would feel better interacting with you while you are masked, do so. Many still have family members who either are vulnerable to the virus or who cannot tolerate the vaccine. Be respectful.
Things may have changed when you were out. Things may have to change once everyone is back at the office. As change is really the only constant in our lives, fighting it or being unhappy about it will set you up for some long, tough days.
If you are wondering why something was changed, go ahead and ask, but be respectful. If you disagree with a change, follow proper channels to express your concerns. If you think about it for a time and the change truly has no impact on you in the long run, just deal with it!
Being inflexible is the best way to burn blood pressure points over things that truly do not matter. Going back to the office will be a big change for you, and everyone else has been through their own big changes. Be very careful about which hills you are willing to get a scratch on before you consider going to battle.
Work Autonomously and Be Independent
If you are working on projects that need to pass through several hands, do your best to be as open as possible. Share notes, add a text box, demonstrate why you included something, but be ready to let it be removed if the end goal does not need it.
Be ready to also step up and fix things that may not be your responsibility. If the copier is empty, fill it. If it is jammed, clear it or get some help from someone who can.
You can do this at home as well. Rather than paying someone to sharpen knives, get a whetstone and find a video. Before you get back on the road to work every day, learn to check your
- oil level
- windshield washer fluid
Even if you are not comfortable adding any fluids, checking them can give you a heads up that you need to take the vehicle in for service. Finally, learn how to change a tire before you get on the highway.
There are a lot of professionals who are going to need to retool or increase their skills to stay employed within the next decade. By increasing your skill set, you make yourself a better pick on the market and you make yourself more valuable to your current employer.
Finally, build some new skills at home. Can you polish and shine your own shoes instead of having to take the time to get them professionally done? If you are thinking about joining a razor club, can you reduce costs and learn to use a straight-edge razor? The move toward minimalism is not just about stuff. If you can learn basic self-care skills, such as
- cooking a cheap, nutritious meal
- clean your own house to reduce expenses
- reduce your monthly spending by buying smarter
If you liked working from home and are considering leaving full time employment, you are going to be in competition with a lot of folks. Being as self-sufficient and professional as possible could make your freelance life possible.