A productivity expert’s tips for returning to the office

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6. Build in some things that happen every day. To give yourself some consistency, try finding 1-3 things that you do every day, no matter where you’re working. If you commute from 8:15 a.m.-9 a.m. into the office and listen to an audiobook, go on a walk and listen to your book during the same time period. If you always take a walk at home after lunch, do it at work, too. Always get an afternoon coffee at the office? Make yourself a latte at home. These signals help you keep your flow and make it a consistent “work day” no matter where you are.

7. Make a daily plan every night. At the beginning of the pandemic, I saw a surge in the use of the planning resources. People had gotten used to “showing up” in an office every morning, then deciding what to do with their time. Working from home required people to figure out exactly what they were doing and when. This type of planning is still important as you bounce back and forth to different work environments with different types of schedules. Fill out daily plan *the night before* to make the most of the following day. What you intend to do will marinate while you sleep and you’ll approach the day focused and intentional.

8. A new “season” of work calls for spring cleaning . A new schedule at the office, much like the New Year or a new job, is a great time for a “spring cleaning” of your work life. Do you need to keep that recurring meeting you set up two years ago to keep in touch with people you’ll now see in the office? Should your team be meeting in-person on a different day given everyone’s locations? Do you need to lighten up your schedule to make more time for travel?

9. Write down three things you learned from working from home and take them with you. Working from home was a time of discovery for many of us. Let’s not lose those insights as we head back to the office. Maybe you realized you work best after a mid-morning workout, or that you get burnt out if you start work before 9 a.m. Take a moment to write down three things you learned and build them into your new schedule.

10. Take time to adjust. Two years ago, no one had any idea we’d be at home for so long. And during that time, many of us became great at being productive while working remotely. Others realized they definitely wanted to go back to the office. Whatever your preference, we gave each other grace. Let’s do the same this time as many of us transition yet again, and continue extending it to those who will remain remote.


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