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How to Adjust to Losing Your Work-From-Home Arrangement and Having to Go Back Into an Office

By Maurie Backman – Sep 20, 2019 at 7:34AM

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It's not easy. Here's how to cope.

Many people are fortunate enough to get to work from home. If that's the arrangement you're used to, you're no doubt aware of how much easier it can make life on a whole. But what happens when your employer decides to do away with remote work arrangements? Suddenly, you'll have no choice but to drag yourself into an office if you want to keep your job. It can be a harsh blow to your schedule and outlook, but here's how to make the adjustment easier.

1. Get more organized at home

The benefit of working from home is getting to tend to household tasks in between job-related tasks. But once you return to an in-office setup, you'll no longer have the option to do laundry during the day, or to throw a roast in the oven at 4 in the afternoon so that it's ready by dinnertime. To better cope with your new routine, get more organized with regard to household items. Map out a schedule that outlines when you'll clean, cook, wash clothing, and perform other such necessary tasks. That way, you'll be less stressed about them, and also less likely to fall behind.

Woman sitting at table at home with tablet and laptop open.


2. Create a new budget

Losing a work-from-home arrangement can also mean having to spend more money to do your job. Once you're forced to return to an office, you'll need to grapple with the cost of commuting. You'll also need to maintain a professional wardrobe, which may or may not require dry cleaning. The takeaway? Rework your budget to account for these extra expenses. You may need to cut back on other things, like cable and dining out, to ensure that you don't end up in debt. That said, you might try negotiating for a pay raise to cover the cost of your commute, especially if it's substantial.

3. Figure out your child care needs

If working from home has thus far allowed you to cut back on child care, you'll need to make new arrangements once you're compelled to return to an office. That could mean finding an after-school sitter, or paying for someone to get your children to and from school. Ask your employer for leeway on transitioning back to the office, and don't hesitate to request extra time to put together a child care plan.

4. Ask your manager for support and flexibility

Going back into the office after working from home is a serious adjustment. If you're struggling with it, be open with your manager. He or she may be willing to make certain accommodations to help you ease into things. For example, your manager might agree to let you work from home once a week for another month or two, or he or she might let you adjust your hours to better suit your lifestyle. The point? It never hurts to be honest.

Losing a work-from-home arrangement isn't easy, especially if it's one you've upheld for a long time. But remember, if working in an office isn't right for you, there's always the option of dusting off your resume and trying to find a job that does let you telecommute. A growing number of companies have work-from-home programs these days, so it pays to see what's out there.

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