Facing the Reality of Returning to the Office (and Coming Out On Top)

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After more than a year of working from home, the idea of returning to the office is understandably upsetting for many. Lately, many women I’ve spoken to have expressed concerns about letting go of all that was good with remote work and starting fresh. While I’m no longer in a corporate role myself, I’m still figuring out how to adapt in various ways. And it hasn’t been easy. Today,  I want to touch on keeping yourself grounded during this transition period. All while supporting your teams and embracing the upcoming season.

Note that this podcast episode inspired a lot of what I’m about to share. I recommend checking it out when you have some time!

6 Tips To Ground Yourself and Show Up for Your Teams

Before you can show up effectively for your teams, it’s essential to first take care of yourself and address your own psychological needs. Let’s look at some ways to do this. After that, we can move towards helping your employees navigate the upcoming months.

Securing Your Own Oxygen Mask First

Brace Yourself For Hard Times Ahead

While we all want the next few months to be painless, adjusting to post-pandemic norms will be uncomfortable. But after the 18 months we’ve all had, it’s normal and expected. As you pack up your home office, allow yourself to feel whatever you need to feel. Acknowledging those emotions is the first step to dealing with them constructively.

Mourn Your Losses and Reframe Your Thought Process

Every new season begins with mourning and letting go of the previous one. This can prove to be quite difficult even when good things are ahead. Because here’s the thing: it’s a good thing that the economy is reopening, allowing businesses to start thriving again. But that doesn’t mean you can’t lament your losses. Whether it’s the comfort of being at home, the flexibility of working at your own pace, or the joy of being with your kids more often. 

Practice Grace While Protecting Your Progress

Are you worried about losing the momentum you’ve gained over the last year and a half? Perhaps you’ve developed good habits and practices to nurture your emotional, physical, and professional well-being. Instead of pressuring yourself to keep up these habits, give yourself grace and set small, manageable goals to sustain your career and personal development.

Guiding Your Teams Through the Process

Lead With Empathy (While Standing Your Ground)

While allowing yourself to experience the full spectrum of emotions, you’ll likely encounter during this transition, extend the same courtesy to your employees. Don’t panic when you see people expressing sadness and frustration, struggling to perform well, or even threatening to leave. Give them the space to work through it. As a leader, the tricky part is creating a safe environment for your colleagues to air their grievances and develop solutions while balancing your organization’s best interests. 

Remember that it’s not about giving your team everything they want; it’s about helping them adjust. That doesn’t make you a villain!

Avoid Practicing “Toxic Positivity” 

On a similar note, I encourage you to practice creating hope for the future while also acknowledging the suckiness of the present. Leaders often feel responsible for keeping everyone happy and cheerful. And if you feel unenthusiastic about returning to the office, chances are your team does too. I’m not suggesting allowing negativity to run rampant. Instead of touting how great everything is (which, for many, it clearly isn’t right now), frame the narrative around how good things will be once your team successfully navigates the next several months.

Create a Structured Yet Flexible Return Plan

Create stability for your team by developing a return-to-office plan. There are multiple factors to consider, including workplace safety, balancing onsite versus virtual activity, and restructuring employee benefits and compensation. I recommend preparing a general plan, and that leaves room for adjustments. The Society for Human Resource Management has some excellent resources that might help.

Look Up: Exciting Times Are Just Ahead

The months at home gave us a lot of time to reflect and get in touch with ourselves. Maybe you’re worried that returning to the office will cause you to lose that momentum or somehow steer you away from discovering and living out your passion and purpose. While this transition period may mean a difficult stretch ahead, you don’t have to get lost in the noise.

The key is to frame your mindset correctly and have a strategic action plan to maintain your focus as you unapologetically pursue your career and life goals. If you’re an executive woman ready to embrace this next season as a fresh start, my Design Your Dream Life program will give you the tools you need. 

Want to learn more about what that looks like? Let’s talk.

Free Career Clarity Consult

There’s nothing more confusing than trying to figure out what you were meant to do with your life, especially when you’re trying to do it all alone. Now’s your chance to talk with an expert about your career free of charge.

With my complimentary career clarity consult, you’ll have the opportunity to have your career questions answered as well as learn some of the best strategies to winning in the career game from someone who’s been in your shoes. We’ll cover what you want to achieve and point you in the proper direction if you are feeling stuck and unsure what to do. Because I hold these complimentary calls personally, space is limited. Click below to apply.

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