Australia, the good times of working at home are coming to an end. This means many of us will be needing to return to the workplace and start to communicate with people face-to-face again. So how do you get back into the groove of your daily work routine?

Well, before we get that far, The Guardian reports that many of us may not be returning to the office at all. If you can easily work from home without the need for face-to-face interaction, then your employer will be thinking twice about getting you back in for health and safety precautions.

In fact, 30 per cent of Australian jobs can practically be performed at home, according to the Centre for Future Work. So, to assist you with the specific conditions of your workplace, we’ve split this article into those returning to the office and those who will continue to work from home.

Welcome to the new abnormal!

Returning To The Workplace

Workplace. Photographed by Arlington Research. Sourced via Unsplash

Workplace. Photographed by Arlington Research. Sourced via Unsplash

The fresh oxymoron called social distancing is here to stay for a while until we get a viable vaccine. So when you return to work during COVID-19, it’s important to stay healthy. Thankfully, there are many workplaces that offer plenty of space. But if you’re part of a small team in a quaint environment, you will notice some changes. Expect to see more partitions in the office, more plastic screens in the factory, and say goodbye to hot desking.

Of course, where you sit is half the problem. For anyone with a communal kitchen, you can forget those shared snack tins (sad face). And it’s quite possible that future meetings won’t include everyone, or at least continue to be done through voice or video communications. You may even notice stickers or tape on the floor, maintaining the one-and-a-half metre rule we’ve come to despise.

Even lifts within the workplace will be under scrutiny. It may be impossible to restrict use to one or two people at a time, but you may notice less crowding on the elevator.

And if your employer cannot provide enough space for adequate separation – and yet it’s imperative for you to be present at the workplace – you may be ordered to wear face masks during work hours.

As for employees travelling together, you may be told to keep the car windows open.

Speaking of travelling, your journey to and from work may seem a little different too. Seats on buses and trains will have stickers on them, indicating where it’s safe to sit. So,perhaps give yourself a little extra time, in case of delays, not because the bus or train is completely full, but because it’s just full enough to make social distancing impossible.

However, it’s important to stay positive. Enjoy getting out of the house and getting back into a routine.

Continuing To Work From Home

Working from home. Photographed by Andrew Neel. Sourced via Unsplash

Working from home. Photographed by Andrew Neel. Sourced via Unsplash

When it comes to working from home, on top of sticking to a healthy routine with both your work schedule, hygiene and at home lifestyle, ensuring that you are caring for your mental state is incredibly important. Not just to keep your mind productive, but to also ward off the loneliness of working from home.

Strengthen your mental health by regularly socialising with friends and family, and most especially with your co-workers. Even if you have to create a Facebook chat group for you and your team to chat in, during and after work.

This can also help with team cohesion and productivity. Because a close-knit team works better than a detached one.

And if you haven’t done so yet, it’s recommended to develop a routine. It doesn’t have to take up the whole day, of course – we all know how easy it is to get distacted – but it should at least incorporate a morning and evening routine. In other words, what you do right after waking up and what you do before bed.

And you should try and stick to a work schedule as well, from when you start work to when you finish work, and setting breaks in between.

But most importantly, try to make the time to get outside as much you can, even if it’s just for a walk. This can even include going out for lunch if your state or territory allows it. Take your housemate or significant other if you so wish.

Speaking of housemates, it’s also important to make sure they know your work hours so they don’t interrupt you (except in an emergency, of course).

Finally, listen to music or switch on the radio to keep your mind abuzz. Silence can be nice for meticulous projects, but you do need stimulation to be productive. And according to research, music is great at boosting your mental morale.

Need some help meditating to help get you through the crazy work life? Check out these 10 great meditation apps for 2020. And if you need a new way to wind down after work, how about these amazing television shows on SBS On Demand?

Feature image: Photographed by Annie Spratt. Sourced via Unsplash