By Devan Moonsamy
It can be overwhelming to get back to the office and have no idea what sort of social skills to display. As much as we still need to wear our face masks and maintain social distancing, meetings and office gatherings are still held.
The fact is that pre-Covid meetings were not complicated. However, we now find ourselves in an awkward position of not knowing what to do. Do we need to fist bump, extend our hand out for a handshake, or perhaps even get in on a high five?
The reality is that there are still people who don’t think that Covid-19 is a big issue and are fine with handshakes and sanitising after. But there are also those who are afraid of social gatherings and have social anxiety. It is, in this case, when you would find that when you are heading in for a handshake, you get a high five or fist bump.
It can be a very stressful time for staff members who are back at the office without a full breakdown of the office life in a pandemic. Be it vaccinated or unvaccinated staff, returning to the office can be difficult without the right guidance.
Here’s how we can get back into the swing of things:
Start by being open to the new work world. Having a mindset that is open to change and accepting the world with Covid-19 protocols can be difficult, but it is what needs to be done to continue operating. It was impossible to think of functioning remotely, and now people can work from any part of the world.
Meetings and work gatherings are stressful, but having to now add to the pressure of not knowing what the correct social etiquette is adds further pressure. Before heading into a meeting, establish what is the correct method of greeting.
If you are regularly meeting clients, then perhaps this would be a good time to speak to your manager to find out what are the best ways to greet clients. It can also be something they haven’t given thought to. This might even spark a much-needed discussion round etiquette in the office.
It can be challenging to maintain your calm when people at the office are not taking the protocols in place seriously. If your colleagues are not adhering to the regulations, you should talk to them about it. Ultimately, these guidelines need to be followed.
At the same time, getting back to the office can be a challenge if you have been working from home for a while.
Create a new routine. Since heading back to the office, you might find that you are plagued with the exhaustion and frustration of sitting in traffic again. A great way to adjust would be to create a new routine. If you have gotten used to having a work-from-home life and now you need to go back to the office, try to work a routine that does not seem tiresome and difficult.
Getting back to the office also means wearing more than just sweatpants and a t-shirt. If you need to get a few new shirts or outfits, then you must. It is all part of preparing yourself for the transition back to being an office person. Remember, this is the start of a new year and a time to focus on what you want to achieve. Putting in place the smallest changes can make a great difference in reaching your career goals.
Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute, a South African TVET College.
*The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or of title sites.
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