What The “New Normal” Then, Means to Your Return-To-Work Plans Now.

4th Ink lab
7 min readNov 22, 2021

According to what Monster.com calls the “Great Resignation/ migration,” at least 95% of employees worldwide are considering changing jobs, switching industries or quitting instead of returning to work.

This article examines the following three pain points;

1. How returning to work in the wake of COVID-19 will affect businesses

2. Why most employees believe quitting their 9 to 5 jobs is a far better option than giving up working from home, and

3. What you can do to make your return to work stress-free

How Does Returning to Work in the Wake of COVID-19 Affect Businesses?

According to remote work expert at FlexJobs, Kathy Garnder, employers (who haven’t already) should evaluate their workforce post-pandemic in terms of what an effective business model could look like for them.

Kathy reiterates that remote work continues to be among the most sought-after type of job flexibility for employees.


When done well, remote work can have far-reaching benefits, including but certainly not limited to;

  • A better work-life balance
  • Reduced stress
  • Improvements in personal relationships
  • Not forgetting cost and time savings

Over the last year(s), corporations have experienced what working from home can do for their business strategy, operations, and employees.

With or without the pandemic, is it worth rocking an already steady boat and having a chunk of your employees quit their jobs instead of simply implementing a hybrid work model?

The potential downside to enforcing a “return-to-work” order…

Statistics don’t lie. According to a survey carried out by FlexJobs on more than 12,000 people who have been working from home during the pandemic to date;

  1. A whopping 58% say they’re ready to look for new jobs if they cannot continue holding their current position and work remotely.
  2. While 11% believe not being able to continue working remotely wouldn’t make a difference, 33% would like a hybrid work arrangement of remote and in-office work.
  3. 2% aren’t concerned about Covid exposure and would have no qualms returning to the traditional 9 to 5 grind.

Returning to the office after months of working from home may not be practical, especially for workers who are either burned out from logging long hours or are unfulfilled in their job positions.

Will quitting your 9 to 5 job be a better option than giving up working from home?

Are you part of the 95% of workers who would rather change jobs or switch trades to find the right position instead of returning to your 9 to 5?

Personally, I would rather watch paint dry or grass grow than return to work, and for a good reason. My biggest motivation to escape my corporate cubicle was a deep desire for more control over my time and career. I know I’m not alone.

Millions of workers are ready to abandon traditional work and pursue full-time self-employment for financial independence, spend time with family, for health reasons, to build a personal brand, travel the world, etc.

Achieving a work-life balance, combined with improved health, and more income makes life as an independent professional all the more attractive.

Don’t you agree?


What if you must go back to work? Some individuals don’t have the luxury of turning in their corporate badges and walking out of their cubicle farm to do whatever they want.

If, for one reason or another, you can’t walk out of your 9 to 5 employment, the following tips are for your consideration.

Tips to make your transition to work less stressful.

Many people lost their sources of income while in the throes of the pandemic.

So, if you fall under the 2% category (as mentioned above) of individuals who don’t mind returning to traditional office work, you’ll be happy to know that there are tones of opportunities for job seekers today than ever before.

“9.3 million job openings according to the Labor Department.”

As Covid vaccinations move full steam ahead, so are the get-back-to-work plans by many organizations who plan to have at least 70% of their human resources back and working by mid-next year, if not sooner.

There is potential for work to be hybrid, with both re-entry to offices and working from home as the “new normal.” Few are ready to ditch the comfy sweatpants for chilly morning commutes, migraine-inducing traffic, and hours grinding behind a desk.

Additionally, most employees relish the idea of in-person collaboration with their coworkers. As such, they can’t wait to swap their makeshift home office on their kitchen table for a dedicated, distraction-free workspace.

But, you’re not alone if the thought makes you feel anxious about reporting back to work. So, consider the following tips;

1. Have a positive outlook

Going back to work may seem daunting after more than a year of remote work.

However, it may come with surprising benefits such as less loneliness many experienced during Covid lockdown, stricter boundaries between work and home life, thus leading to increased productivity.

While it may be challenging to give up the flexibility and ease of working from home, focus on the positives that might come with going back to an office environment.

If not for fewer distractions that reduced your productivity from a career perspective, at least look forward to rebuilding social connections.

2. Anticipate change

There’s no denying that the numbers are in the minority of looking forward to returning to the office. Not only are they worried about the transition, but 29% say they value the flexibility and safety that comes with working from home.

Whether you’re returning to the office full-time or part-time, the disruption to your daily routine can feel daunting.

You need to adjust your schedule to accommodate the upcoming changes, be they commuting to work, adapting to your work environment or interacting with your colleagues after a long time.

Anticipating changes, including potential speed bumps, could be what saves you a lot of time and stress when you do finally return to work. This brings me to the next important point.

3. Start rebuilding your support network

While safety precautions of COVID-19 upset social norms like hugging or shaking hands, being purposeful about reaching out and maybe spending some quality time with supportive coworkers.

“This gradual and proactive socializing can help ease the transition process.”

Plus, it will also help you determine which socializing approach, if any, makes you feel safe, comfortable, and less awkward.

4. Stage a dry run

This can be anything from trying out your work suits to driving to your office building weeks before going back to work.


After months of working in the comfort of your home in sweatpants, adjusting your mind and body to fit a “new normal” might be a daunting process.

So, yes, if a dry run is what you need, go for it. If it’s shopping for new work clothes, getting a new haircut, makeover, you name it.

Any tactic that might help shake off some of the rust you’ve accumulated from months of working from home, do it.

5. Practice self-care

I can’t over-emphasize this point enough. The number of emotions you experience on the day of reporting back to work might surprise you.

It’s normal to feel anxious, excited, distressed, frustrated, and even elated when you find yourself in the middle of a pivot. It happens to the best of us.

The best way to deal with all the challenges of this life shift and the emotional response that potentially accompanies it is to practice self-care. There are many moving pieces in transitioning back to work, so be kind to yourself.

As you take care of your body by eating right, exercising, and resting, safeguard your mind by associating with supportive people who will help you when you experience some adjustment setbacks.

Additional tips that are worth mentioning;

  1. Create a vision board that represents your interests, values, and vision of where you want to be in a few years.
  2. Set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound (SMART) goals instead of taking on too much within your first days of returning to work.
  3. Going back to work will probably take up a lot of your time, but don’t forget to carve out some time for experiences that bring you joy and pleasure.
  4. Communicate your needs to your employers and fellow employees and ask for feedback.


Doing so will not only help you better navigate changes in the workplace, but it’s also the best way to foster collaboration, support, and productivity in the office.

5. If possible, talk to your boss about implementing a hybrid approach that allows you to work remotely half of the time.

6. If emotional triggers that put you into a state of fear, panic, or paralysis come up during your transition back to work, consider seeing a therapist for help in processing.

Working from home provided a comfortable way to make money while enjoying being close to loved ones.

But, as tempting as it may be to stay in sweatpants or yoga tights, it’s time to ditch them for a power suit.

As companies and organizations prepare to reopen their businesses, implement the abovementioned tips to help ease anxieties that come with returning to the office after what seemed like an eternity.

To recap;

  • Self-care is key
  • Maintain a positive outlook and focus on the potential benefits of going back to work
  • Take a gradual approach and socialize to help alleviate anxieties and, most importantly, build a supportive network of friends.

Did I forget something?

If I did, please let me know in the comment section, including how you are coping with the thought of going back to work.

Additional information on returning to work after Covid-19.

Reimagining the office and work life after COVID-19 | McKinsey

As Workers Go Back Into Office, Some Hope To Make The Home Office Permanent — Bing video

Returning To Office After COVID WFH: Ways To Cope With Anxiety And Burnout | TheHealthSite.com



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