Have you been called back to the office yet? If you’ve been working from home during the pandemic, there’s a very good chance that you’ll be going back to the office soon, if you haven’t already.

With the Fall semester ready to kick off at the University of Delaware at the end of August, this was my first week back and I thought I’d share a few observations.

Overall, even though I thought I was prepared mentally and physically, this past week was a lot harder than I anticipated. After spending 17 months at home with my immediate family, being in an office space with people everywhere felt awkward and risky.

Still there were a few things I think I got right that really helped:

  1. I started adapting to a standard work schedule 2 weeks ahead of time. This meant setting my alarm earlier and checking my GPS app to get a sense of traffic patterns during my commuting times, and renegotiating morning schedules with my family.
  2. I brought some fresh new things with me – along with the familiar, which helped me “reclaim” my office space. My plants died of course, and I’m going to replace them this weekend.
  3. I gave myself a lot of grace. I decided not to worry about how I looked or what people thought of my “new” grey hair. We’ve all been through some trauma, and it’s going to show. Choosing to be authentic about that is one way to take the pressure off and do the work of repairing ourselves.

You know what? Even after only a few days, I feel the “frenzy” of my old routines creeping back. It’s amazing how quickly it happened, and since I don’t want to go back to that version of normal, I’m going to spend some time working on that. I’ll let you know how it goes!!

Cheers to your career!

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