Returning to the office? Avoid awkwardness with these tips

June 16, 2022

Going back into the office can be…weird.

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Nothing feels the same. Maybe you miss your home setup. Maybe the office will be a relief from noisy neighbours and needy children! It’ll be challenging either way, so we’ve sniffed around for some expert tips on how to cope.

let me get that down tracey matney

Speak up if you need to (and you can)

If you’re not comfortable about heading back to the office, tell your bosses exactly that. You might be able to negotiate a hybrid schedule or stricter safety measures so it’s easier to cope when you absolutely have to come in.


Of course, this depends on whether you think your boss will (a) listen, (b) grumble but listen, or (c) ask you to fly kite. If it’s not worth the fight, maybe try the next few tips.

Be firm and mindful about boundaries

By now some of your work-life boundaries might have…blurred a little. Maybe you caught up on chores when it was quiet at work. Or started answering emails seven days a week…

working hard multitasking

Guess I’ll shave on my lunch break.

You might need to reset and firm up the divisions between your work and leisure time. Of course, if a work emergency comes up, you gotta be flexible, but normal work tasks can stay within normal working hours.

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Be extra careful about personal space

COVID-19 precautions have done a number on how we interact with others.


If you were a hugger before lockdown and you’re now Officially Not, it’s good to have a plan about maintaining your personal space. Be respectful of others who need a little more space too!

Allow yourself time to adjust

It’s probably been a while since you headed back into your workplace, so getting back into the groove might take a while. Lower your expectations juuuust a little as you ease back into your office routine.

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Start small

The bad news is that you might not be able to be everyone’s office bestie like before. But the good news is you can build back up to that slowly!

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Connect with people one-on-one or in smaller groups before moving on to team and department interactions. You’ll be back on good terms with everyone before you know it.

Just be yourself

Pretending to be someone you’re not is just extra stress. Bring your actual self to the table! There’s no need to, say, ask your hot bestie to pretend to be you in front of your new boss who was your childhood friend…what, too specific?



Get back into your pre-pandemic routine

All our sleeping, eating and exercise routines have turned into rojak over the past 20+ months or so. And if yours haven’t…who are you and when’s your TED Talk??


But seriously: structure helps you prepare and cope for what lies ahead. Set up a proper pre-work routine so getting back into the office is that much easier. Prep breakfast, lay out tomorrow’s outfit, or even set aside 5 minutes just to stretch before you head out.

Re-decorate your workspace

If you’re stuck at a desk again it might as well look nice. Add a stress ball, some snacks, books, or photos of loved ones. You could even change your desktop wallpaper!

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If you have to hot-desk, consider getting yourself a nice travel mug, comfortable jacket or some of your favourite pens that you can take home with you at the end of the day.

Make a conscious effort to rebuild friendships

If you want your good office buddies back…you’ve gotta be a good office buddy yourself!

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Take the initiative to invite people out for coffee, lunch, or any other (socially distanced) gathering you’re comfortable with. If you’re the shy type, prioritize spending time with supportive coworkers you already get along with and get to know their teammates too.

Ask for help if you need it

Finally: heading back to the office can result in a fountain of feelings.

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If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed, talk to colleagues, bosses, family and friends, or even your doctor. If things get rough, they can get you the help or resources you need to get back on track.


We hope these tips will make the transition back into the office easier, so you don’t end up in messes like Kim Hye-Jin…or should we say Diana?


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What back-to-office tips would you share with others? Let us know on our social pages 🙂