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VOL. 45 | NO. 22 | Friday, May 28, 2021

A few questions for the boss as you return to the office

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Some people say it takes 21 days to change a habit. For those working from home, the habit is now fully set. It’s been more than 365 days since we first packed up our offices and began to work from the dining room table of our homes.

Some employees have hated this isolation. For others, it has given a huge increase in productivity. And, while some companies are continuing remote work into the future, others are opting to return to pre-pandemic norms.

Many employees are going back to the office between September and January. For those who are already going back, they’re reporting that the days are more tiring than they remember. Contributing factors including driving both ways to the office and getting more dressed up for work – plus more time together with colleagues.

The idea of returning to work has been so unappealing for some that employees are beginning to quit their jobs over it. Studies are showing this number could eventually be as much as 50%.

Honestly, the timing makes sense. With more people switching jobs, more jobs are becoming available for which others can apply.

If you’re concerned about returning to the real office, there are a few questions you might want to ask your boss:

• When are employees required to be back at work?

• What does being back at work look like? Will you be expected to be in the office five days a week or two to three days each week?

• Will employees required to wear masks while they’re at work?

• Will employees be required to be vaccinated?

• How will the work culture in the office change? Will meetings happen in person in a conference room or will they continue to happen via Zoom?

• If your dress code was more formal before, is that what will be expected now?

As you approach your boss, keep in mind that they are likely learning right along with you. They might not have all the answers. But, by asking the questions, you open up a dialogue.

Be honest about your feelings without coming across as threatening.

When you learn what your new work status will be, take the time to check in with yourself. How do you feel about going back to work? How do you feel about how the policies at your office are evolving?

If you aren’t happy with your future work setup, there’s good news. New jobs are being posted every day, and at a higher rate than in the past.

And, even better, companies are struggling to hire. That means more companies are offering remote work or flexible work arrangements.

If your current company doesn’t offer you the setup you prefer, there is very likely another company out there that will.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

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