The last blog post I wrote was on March 11, 2020. It was about returning to work after a year long maternity leave and I had been back for a week. I missed my work family during my mat leave, and I was really looking forward to returning. 2 days later we were told we’d be working from home.
It’s been almost 17 months and I’ve FINALLY returned to the office again (part-time). I’d been itching to get back to the office and I’m so happy to be here! There’s usually only 3 or 4 of us here and we’re decently spaced apart but it’s just so nice to be around people again and be able to chat and catch-up face to face.
There were some pros to working from home – I could do a load or 2 of laundry or pull something from the freezer to thaw for dinner, but I didn’t love working from home. I found it to be quite lonely and isolating (like maternity leave). My husbands’ job didn’t allow for him to work from home (Home Inspector) and my son was too mobile, so we sent him back to daycare once they re-opened – best decision for all of us as he gets the attention he needs and gets to play with kids his age.
Returning to the office has been great! My mental health has improved greatly as I’m no longer home all day everyday. I have a bit more structure to my day as I have time to switch off my brain once I leave the office. And DSA has been supportive and flexible with everyone’s comfort level which helped take the stress away about returning to work. Most people have young kids who are on summer break, so it works for them to still work from home. Some people just prefer to work from home. I prefer to do 3 days in the office and 2 at home, so I asked if I could come back. Even with the occasional ‘water cooler’ chats, I am definitely more productive when I’m in the office. And I love being back at my Sit to Stand Desk.
Some tips for when you decide to return to the office:
Return when you are ready. I knew only a couple people would be in the office and my desk is on the opposite side of the office from the others so I knew I wouldn’t be in close proximity with them all day.
Start slow. I really wanted to come back to the office but I’m only doing 3 days a week in the office right now and that’s what works for me.
Talk about what returning looks like. 2 people came back before I did, and they were comfortable with not wearing masks around each other. I felt, since I was coming into their work environment, it was up to me to adapt to how they have been in the office.
Be kind to yourself. I’m so happy that BC has a restart plan, and everything is slowly opening up. I’m excited to see my friends. But I’m also nervous about everything.
Be patient and respectful with others. You may be ready to return to work and hug your colleagues after a year and a half apart but others may need more time.