The Return to Work: Kick-starting Productivity and Motivation

Whether you’ve been on furlough, adapting to working from home, been thrown into home schooling or made redundant, the last few months have seen us all navigate through unchartered territory.


With lockdown measures easing, many businesses are beginning to reopen, others are planning bring back furloughed employees and the world of work is starting to move again.


Businesses across all sectors are having to risk assess their working environments and implement measures to ensure both their workforce and customers are safe and compliant with government legislation meaning it’s unlike anyone will be returning to ‘business as usual.’


Furthermore, employees have spent months out of the office, establishing new routines and many will have been affected by financial loss or even bereavement due to the virus.


With everyone experiencing so much change, it’s understandable if you’re not feeling pumped and raring to go at the thought of returning to the office. However, if you’re going to give yourself the best chance of adapting to office life again, you need to go in with an open mind.


We’ve put together some simple tips on how to get motivated and get your productivity back on track.


  1. Plan ahead


Everyone has had their own experience of lockdown and is therefore emerging from it differently. If you have certain anxieties about returning to office life, think about them in advance so you can work out a solution that will make you more comfortable. This might involve cycling or walking to work rather than using public transport or taking a cool box with your lunch in to avoid using the office kitchen. The more time you give yourself to plan, the easier it will be to be creative in your solutions. In the first week it can also be useful to prepare some things the night before such as what you’ll be wearing and things you’ll need to take such as a laptop, a mask or lunch. It’ll mean you won’t have as much to think about in the morning and can just focus on getting to work.


  1. Set yourself some goals


Having such a long break from the office is rare so think of your return as a fresh start and a new opportunity to achieve your career goals. Start by setting small, measurable goals. Write them down and track your progress. Then think about the long term, where do you want to be in your career? The impact of COVID-19 has shown us that life is short and that things can change in an instant so it’s time to stop dreaming about your goals and start working on them! Spending some time focusing on your goals and writing them down should really help to kick start your motivation levels and give you a sense of purpose at work.


  1. Tackle the big tasks first


If you’re lacking motivation it can be tempting to procrastinate but this only has a negative impact in the long run. Instead, prioritise your tasks in order of importance and try to start with the big jobs first. If you get the jobs that require the most brain power out of the way first, psychologically you know that things will get easier. Everyone has their own “peak time” of the day where they know they are most productive so get to know yours and utilise your time effectively. Throwing yourself in at the deep end will be the quickest way to get back into the swing of work.


  1. Communicate


Working remotely dramatically changed our methods of communication with most businesses relying on video conferencing for engaging with their employees. Returning to the office will be the first time in a while that you’re communicating with your team in person. This is a great opportunity to reconnect and to work together to ensure everyone transitions back to the office smoothly. Remember that employers will be doing their best to alleviate any anxieties their employees might be feeling so it’s important to accept that things will be different that they were post lockdown however, if you have constructive feedback you should also feel comfortable sharing this.


  1. Prioritise your health


Whether you are physically and mentally healthy has a huge impact on your motivation levels and your productivity. It’s good to be aware of what healthy looks and feels like for you so that you can check in with yourself and notice when some extra self-care is needed. When thinking about your health consider your sleep, are you getting enough of it and what could you do to improve? Are you keeping active? What is your diet like? And are you managing any stress or anxiety? All these things contribute to our overall health and wellbeing so being mindful of each of the elements is helpful. Getting back into office routine will tiring at first so ensure you take some time out in the evenings and on weekends to rest and re-energise.


The best approach is to be open minded to the changes that lie ahead. After months of lockdown it’s a relief to be slowly getting back to a sense of normal.


Good luck!