The back to office checklist

Heading back to your regular commute this week? We feel you. Here's everything you need to know for the return to 9-5.

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With the lifting of work-from-home advice set in place by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to combat rising Omicron cases, the return to the office is a reality for many of us. Like it or not, it’s back to IRL, to the board rooms, and plastic-wrapped sandwiches and nosy Janice from accounts. Ready? Here are our tips to get you prepared for the 9-5.

Sort out your sleep routine

Working from home might have some cons but those extra hours of sleep instead of commuting is definitely not one of them. As we migrate back to the office, it’s time to get our bodies back into the routine of early wake ups. Simple steps will help, like putting down your phone at least an hour before hitting the sack. A good tip is to leave it in another room so you’re not tempted to scroll in the early hours. Invest in a SAD or sunrise wake-up clock, like this Lumie version, which mimics the slow summer sunrise, encouraging your body to stop making the sleep hormone melatonin in favour of the feelgood hormone serotonin.

Reconsider your work wardrobe

Need an excuse to put a new lease of life into your wardrobe? If Covid transformed your fashion rails from fly outfits to comfy loungewear, now’s the time to smarten up your style. But the good news is the pandemic’s WFH cosy fashion code has influenced the high street, blending business with comfort.  

We love Cos’s new season. Team tailored blazers with effortless slouch

Power up all-black outfits

For the casual-smart office environment, team soft knits with a touch of tailoring

Set healthy boundaries

Forgotten how to separate life from work? Take the opportunity to switch off properly after a day at the desk. “Even though switching off can feel counterproductive, it’s playing the long game,” says Jayne Hardy, author of Making Space: How to Live Happier by Setting Boundaries that Work for You. There needs to be space between the occupancy of self and work. Taking the breaks we’re entitled to is a good way to have respite and create space — the coffee breaks, the lunch breaks, the vacation time and (if we’re unwell) sick leave. Creating space by taking breaks doesn’t mean that we’re no longer passionate, dedicated or motivated – it simply increases our capacity to keep harnessing our passion, dedication and motivation.”

Take care of your mental health

We all know the benefits of self-care – and that should extend to the office environment too. Learn to say no and prioritise your wellbeing. On top of that, adding in gentle practices such as meditation or mindfulness is shown to have huge benefits for our health. Download apps such Calm or Headspace to help you rest and slow down. You could also incorporate more active mindful pursuits, including life drawing, adult colouring books. Or just create a more restful room (think soft lighting/candles/gentle music) which will provide much-needed downtime from the commute and office.

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