Going Back to the Office After Remote Work? 3 Ways to Make the Most of It

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  • For many people, returning to in-person work will be a tricky adjustment.
  • There are benefits to going back to the office you should aim to take advantage of, including getting to know people in other departments.

Returning to the office is a big change -- but one that could be worth embracing.

At this point, it's been a little more than two years since the COVID-19 outbreak hit U.S. soil. And that means a lot of people have been doing their jobs remotely for over 24 months and counting.

If you're one of them, you may be used to that arrangement -- and happy with it. But what if your company is now asking workers to return to the office? With new guidelines having emerged from the CDC, that's a possibility a lot of people could face in the coming weeks.

Now at first glance, the idea of having to report to the office might seem unappealing. On a basic level, going to a physical workspace means having to pay to commute. And given how gas prices are soaring these days, that could result in quite a hefty credit card tab.

There's also a lack of flexibility to contend with. When you work remotely, you get more options for squeezing in household chores during the day. You can throw dinner in the oven at 4:30 p.m. so it's ready by the time your work is wrapped up, for example. But that option goes away when you're working in an office all day.

But despite the drawbacks of in-person work, there are benefits you might enjoy -- if you play your cards right. Here are three ways to take advantage of a return to the office.

1. Schedule more one-on-one time with your boss

Being in the same office as your boss could make it easier to connect and seek out guidance -- guidance that could help you advance your career. If you'll be returning to the office, ask your manager to schedule a recurring one-on-one meeting, whether it's a weekly sit-down or one that happens every other week. Getting that time could really be helpful, and it could also pave the way to an eventual promotion.

2. Get to know people in different departments

It's hard to branch out and network within your company when you're doing your job remotely. Once you're back in the office, take the opportunity to walk around and get to know people. You never know when a job opening might pop up in a different department that's a great fit for you -- and a nice step up.

3. Lean on your colleagues for the support you may have missed

It's easier for coworkers to support one another when they're in the same room. The upside of being back at the office is the ability to walk over to a colleague's desk and ask for input on a project, or schedule a meeting to go over a project that could use a few extra sets of eyes.

A return to in-person work may require some getting used to after more than two years of doing your job from the comfort of home. If you're not thrilled with the idea of going back to the office, do your best to acknowledge the upside. Also, ask your company for some leeway. Your boss might agree to let you transition back to in-person work by starting out with three days a week in the office and working your way upward from there. That could make your adjustment much easier.

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