Practical Tips for Returning to the Office

Available for Interviews:  Leni Rivera

Leni Rivera is a Workplace Experience specialist and author of its very first book in the industry, Workplace Experience. Her passion is creating work environments that enable employees to be both productive and happy, regardless of where that is. 

What Leni Rivera can say in an interview about
Returning to the Office

As more and more workers return to the office, you can be sure that things will never be the same as they once were—and that’s mostly a good thing! As everyone may be at different levels of adaptation to the new workplace reality, we must try to be patient! (with yourself, with your manager, and with your company). We’re not out of this pandemic yet, and everyone is still trying to figure things out. It will take time. And that’s okay.

Here are some tips for adjusting healthily and happily as we slowly return to the workplace:

1. Overcoming the Awkwardness of
Seeing Colleagues in Real Life Again
    • If you’re worried about any awkwardness seeing colleagues again in person, break the ice by bringing something in to share (such as cookies that you baked or cupcakes from a neighborhood bakery you’re wanting to help out).
2. Try These Unique Stay-Safe Protocols in the Workplace
      •  Avoid sitting in enclosed phone or meeting pods that don’t offer ventilation.
      • If you have an option for seating in the office, choose a spot with the highest ceilings (chances are it has better ventilation).
      •  Use colored floor tape and put a line (or a circle) on the floor 6 or more feet from your desk chair. This does 2 things: One, it gives an effective and polite non-verbal cue for people to keep their distance if they need to chat with you. And two, it gives you peace of mind while you’re working at your desk.
      • Handshakes won’t disappear completely after the pandemic, but we shouldn’t be surprised (nor offended) if more people sanitize their hands after shaking yours.
3. Food Concerns in the Workplace
      • Should you be using the office fridge? This depends on the people who share the office with you, and your comfort level with your colleagues, and with your office policies.
      • Bring a large thermal mug with a cover so you can limit the number of times you need to fill it with coffee, tea, or water from the breakroom.
4. How People Can Negotiate More Work From Home Days
      • Talk openly with your manager first. Be clear and honest with your reasons for wanting to work more days at home, and be equally clear about how you intend to achieve your work goals on time, and set milestones and deliverables together.
5. Some Mental Health Practices to
Be Mindful of When R
eturning to Work
      • Block out 20–30 minutes of your day every day for “Me Time.” Use that time to mentally check out for a while: go for a walk outdoors, find a spot to meditate, or do yoga stretches. The key is to step away from your desk and use it to recharge, even when you don’t think you need it.
6. Some Common Workplace Practices That
Should Be “Things of the Past”
      • A workday that’s based on how much time you work rather than what you’ve accomplished. Balancing life and work during the pandemic have proven that accomplishing our work goals is not dependent on working an 8–10 hour workday.
      • Team decision-making should be accomplished in person. Making decisions as a team has more to do with mutual respect, trust, and accountability than it has to do with seeing each other in person.
      • Everyone needs to be working from the office. The pandemic has proven that this is not true. In the same light, employees have discovered which kind of work environment enables them to best perform their different job functions, and that could be in the office, at home, at a laboratory, or at a café.


Interview: Leni Rivera

Leni Rivera is a Workplace Experience specialist and author of its very first book in the industry. Her passion is creating work environments that enable employees to be both productive and happy, regardless of where that is.

With a 20-year career spanning three continents and in corporate leadership roles in Interior Design, Real Estate Development, and Global Workplace Services, Leni has the unique ability to understand the impact of a physical environment on employee behavior, and corporate cultures.
Today, as the world begins emerging from the pandemic and organizations start to rethink the future of their workplace, Leni is front and center helping leaders and peers develop a Workplace Experience that drives safety, flexibility, and productivity, allowing employees and businesses to continue to thrive.

Jo Allison
Managing Editor
Director of Public Relations
Success In Media, Inc.

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