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If you spent a considerable amount of time working from home, you probably found yourself adjusting to a new routine. After setting up your workspace, establishing new boundaries, swapping slacks for sweats, you might have actually found yourself enjoying this new way of working.


But now many employers are shifting to return to the office. It’s time for everyone to come together again in a new way. You might have noticed your anxiety is high, while your focus is at an all-time low. You’re facing a hurdle you’ve never faced before. 


How can you foster a safe, productive working environment even after following the CDC recommendations? Try creating the comforts and feeling that you discovered while working from home, but in the office. Here’s how:


Woman sits relaxed in an office chair while using an Oculus Go headset

Take frequent breaks

When working from home, did you find yourself taking more breaks? Being just steps away from the kitchen for a snack, stopping to connect with your partner to catch up, or reading a book to your kid gave the day a different pace. Invite that feeling into the office by taking those restorative mini-breaks at any time. Talk with your leadership team about your needs.


You might find there’s more flexibility at the office these days. Simply asking and advocating for what you need could result in your increased production. A win-win for you and management!


Outdoor breaks, weather permitting, will be especially important so you can safely remove your mask and get some fresh air. Exposure to nature decreases cortisol levels. When it’s too cold to go outside, create a space inside, preferably near a window, where you can be socially-distant but still get the value of sunlight exposure. Sunlight boosts vitamin D levels and wards off depression.


Wendy views the Healium AR app while using her Apple Watch

Use our mobile AR app as mental health armor

By simply using your own mobile device, you can take a mental health break on your own time with your own equipment.


Healium will make improving your mental wellness a fun game instead of a boring task. Hatch butterflies, light up the galaxy, grow cyberdelic flowers, and more. 


Continue with video call meetings to prevent conference-room gatherings

Zoom fatigue is real. However, it’s the safest alternative right now and it can give you a sense of security knowing you won’t need to gather around a conference table for a meeting or invite clients to the office.


Many clients are enjoying the ease and reduced travel time that video calls afford them. A win-win for all.


You’re probably a pro at maintaining a professional appearance on a video call. Ask your boss if staff can bring that “work from home” feeling to work by temporarily relaxing the dress code, especially if you don’t have in-person meetings at your workplace.


Did you know that you can use a Snapchat filter on your webcam for video calls? Steer clear of the distracting ones, but a subtle makeup filter can help you feel more confident and professional on video calls when you’re forgoing it around the office. We’ve even created our own makeup filter. Download Snap Camera on your computer and search for our filter by using this link.


Ask for extra mental health days in your paid leave policy

Many corporate policies allow for one mental health day or personal day a year. Consider advocating for a temporary update in your workplace policy to include more than one.


You might find that your employer is more flexible at this time. Ultimately, most employers want you to be happy and productive. If they don’t know your needs, they won’t be able to meet them. Don’t be afraid to ask. 


Utilize Slack channels to connect with coworkers through special interest groups like sports, foodies, gardeners, etc.

If you don’t already have an instant messaging platform, as your IT department if you can set one up now. These channels will allow for social conversations from the safety of your socially-distanced workspace.


Bonus: these collab channels can help reduce the number of emails in everyone’s inbox.


Additionally, employees who need to work from home can still easily participate in the conversation and workflow.  


There’s no roadmap to navigate this situation. However, many companies are trying to be more adaptable and meet the needs of their employees. Don’t be hesitant to advocate for your needs. A few small changes might make the biggest impact on your productivity, workplace culture, and overall well-being. 


Written by Bethany Schoengarth
August 28th, 2020
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