It is the dawning of a new day…A day where WFH no longer stands for “Work From Home,” but “Wash Freaking Hands.” Where EOD now means “Everyone Obey Distancing,”And YTD means “Yes, That’s Disinfected.”The time has come to Return to Work.
As offices slowly reopen their doors and ironing boards get used for the first time in forever, the “people in every office” tropes are going to look a little different. Here are five of the colleagues you’re 100% going to see when you get back to the office, as well as some tips for making both of your lives easier.
1. Mister Popularity
Who they are: Mr. or Ms. Popularity is the charismatic social butterfly—usually in Sales or Marketing—who is absolutely jazzed to be back in the office because, let’s face it, the audience sucks when you’re WFH and social distancing.
What they’ll struggle with most: Finding CDC-approved alternatives for high-fives, handshakes, or giving dap.
How you can deal: Save yourself the awkward interaction with Mister Popularity by sliding the Employee Handbook template over to your buddies in HR. Gently remind them that upon returning to work, people are going to need guidelines on how to thrive under stricter safety requirements, (and that some people just don’t like physical interactions with co-workers, pandemic or not) and that plugging in new guidelines can be done in an instant!
Bonus: Employee handbook tools!
2. The Office Mama
Who they are: There’s no doubt about it: the Office Mama is one of the people you missed the most at the workplace. She is warm, helpful, and—despite being old-school—always excited to hear about your weekend debauchery.
What they’ll struggle with most: Not being offended when co-workers put safety over manners, such as fleeing in fear when Mama sneezes instead of saying “Bless you.”
How you can deal: We all love the Office Mama and want her to feel supported (from a good 6 feet away). A gesture of support would be to Slack her a personal template that reminds her to always make time for herself after giving so much back to others!
3. The Person Who Lost All Social Skills In Quarantine
Who they are: This person may be one of the smartest humans you know, but they are the last person to brag about it (which is why they’re so awesome). They enjoy working in non-client-facing roles like IT or DevOps and wish they could work remotely forever.
What they’ll struggle with most: The small talk, the open-concept desk setup, and the anxiety of answering questions about themselves that their houseplants never bothered them with.
How you can deal: What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, so give this goose what they want and let them focus on work, not chitchat! Show that you get them by recommending a template for their specific role; adjusting is tough enough without the whole “being around other people again” stuff!
4. The Office Dad
Who they are: Unlike the Office Mama, The Office Dad doesn’t have to have actually sired any children to claim this title. He is just the upper management dude who is easy to get along with, is always willing to help, and says things like “It’s not the heat that gets you, it’s the humidity.”
What they’ll struggle with most: Office Dad is a benevolent leader who wants to help everyone adapt to the new office life playbook, but will inevitably find it difficult to rule the roost when the rules have been rewritten.
How you can deal: Send a Slack to Office Dad with a link to the Team Requests template to take the guessing out of what his team needs now that everyone’s working in an office again. Keeping everyone’s individual requests (from benefits to equipment to HR needs) in one place will save him time and save you from an ultimately pointless meeting that should have been an email.
5. Your Work BFF
Who they are: This is the person you can communicate with by just looking at them across the conference table, prompting them to Slack you right away to find out the tea. There’s nothing you can’t tell them… but you’ll definitely text it to them because you don’t trust your workplace’s Slack.
What they’ll struggle with most: Focusing on being productive when they’re so excited to be working IRL with friends again.
How you can deal: The last thing you want is for your Work BFF to get in trouble for not being on their A-game at the office. Suggest that you both try using a Simple To-Dos template to keep each other accountable and organized as you juggle due dates with drama dishing.
Remember: You got this.
Readjusting is never easy, but no matter who you work with, everyone appreciates an extra hand during a transition!
Getting back to the office might mean re-working a commute into your schedule or giving up the freedom of wearing pajama pants during presentations, but it’s also a new opportunity to show up like never before.
So plan an outfit that makes you want to kick some a**, eat a good breakfast, arrive on time, and be that person in the office who is ready to work with anyone…
Even the HR guy who gives major “I clap when the plane lands” energy.