Many employees in the Philippines have been working from home for over two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Quite a few of us have just started getting used to a digital work life, and readjusting back to an office-based routine can be a challenge.
Now that the country is starting to recover, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) ordered employees of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry to return to the workplace starting April 1.
TeleTech, one of the country’s leading BPO companies offering a variety of customer service representative jobs, has been preparing for this eventual transition. It has always assured that all of its sites are ready for the return of employees with focused efforts on preventing COVID-19 exposure. With its strict implementation of safety measures, TeleTech is ready to increase its operations workforce on site.
Though the company’s safety protocols are set, not everyone is as ready to report back to the office. As the latest development during this pandemic, the re-transitioning to office-based work presents its own challenges for the everyday BPO employee.
Here are a few helpful tips on how to navigate the road back to working face-to-face:
1. Acknowledge your feelings about returning to the office
It’s okay to feel worried about reporting on-site again. After working from home for over two years, we’ve grown accustomed to a certain routine that starts and ends in the comfort of our own house.
So, this news might be causing some people stress or anxiety. Let yourself experience those emotions. They’re absolutely normal. You have the right to feel any way about this latest adjustment to our pandemic reality. Don’t let yourself get frustrated. Know that your thoughts and concerns are valid. From there, we can move forward in preparation for returning on-site.
2. Prepare to get the “old you” back
During the pandemic, we’ve gotten used to attending different Zoom meetings while prepping our meals or walking in our pajamas. Our concept of traffic now is the wait to use the shared bathrooms at home. Laptop cameras have become our window into the world. As for those doing customer service jobs, answering queries from the comfort of their own homes has also become the new normal. It’s a different, very digital work experience.
Now, we have to slowly relearn the things we did pre-pandemic: waking up early to prepare for our work day, sitting through real traffic, holding face-to-face meetings. It’ll take a solid push, a conscious effort to get back to the old swing of things.
But remember, you’ve done all these in the past, you can do them again! The truth is the familiarity of our old life, old routines will be a kind of comfort too. It will kick in, and your work-from-home habits will become a distant memory.
3. Think of the things you’ve missed at the office
When the quarantines started in the Philippines, most companies instructed their employees to work from home. We may not remember it easily right now, but that change was also hard for us. We were separated from our work community, our professional support systems, and our corporate infrastructure. And, we had no idea when we’d reconnect with all of those again.
We’re now getting the chance to do just that: to physically be with our work friends, to finally conduct face-to-face meetings that don’t rely on Internet speed, to ask for a colleague’s help by just taking a few steps to their work station.
Saying hello to everyone you pass in the building, a cup of coffee with your work besties, real live company bonding activities – we’ll get to do all that again! All with safety precautions, of course.
You’ll get to meet the new hires in the company. They’ll be so excited to finally get welcomed by their work community. This is the perfect moment to connect with our world again.
4. Don’t exhaust yourself too much
Going back on-site is a huge leap from working on a computer at home. Disconnecting from your job has been as easy as pressing your computer’s off button. Being back at the office is different. It might be harder to end your work day, especially during busy periods. There are also plenty of additional stresses even after your shift, such as bad weather, traffic jams, or even problems with public transportation.
With all of these potential challenges on the horizon, remember to take it easy. These problems may be inevitable, but you can still do your best to save your energy. Avoid working overtime too much at the start, plan a relaxing spa day after your shift, or even have a safe social night with your colleagues. Give yourself some time to adjust to your “new” setup and rediscover ways to reenergize yourself.
5. Make sure to always clean up and sanitize
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us the importance of washing our hands and sanitizing our belongings. Now, it’s commonplace to bring alcohol and extra face masks everywhere. Returning to the office might mean more risk for us. That’s why we must stay vigilant, stay prepared. Keep in mind that prevention is far better than cure.
TeleTech continues to prioritize and implement its health and safety protocols across all sites. It’s our responsibility to keep each other safe and follow all necessary precautions, so we can move past this pandemic.
6. Look for professional help if you think you need it
Even if we follow all these previous tips, the return to on-site work may still be overwhelming for some. The one thing we’ve learned this pandemic is the importance of taking care of our health – our physical well-being and more importantly our mental health.
Reaching out to professionals is the best thing you can do for yourself in stressful situations like this. A mental health professional can help you understand and manage your emotions better.
Also, never hesitate to communicate with your managers and teammates. Help them understand your situation by opening up. They can also offer you helpful insights into your feelings or the situation in general. You’re all probably going through very similar things, and people are always ready to empathize with one another.
In TeleTech, your well-being is a big priority. We have our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that offers professional support for the general health of our employees and their families as well. Make sure to find out what resources your company can provide you.
Embrace our return to office life
Take things slow. Talk to your superiors. Reconnect with your colleagues. Change can always be a bumpy ride, and things never go perfect. But, if you approach it with the right attitude and your company provides you with the right support, you can rediscover the joy of working with your colleagues in person. Stay safe and enjoy the road back to normalcy!
This article is brought to you by TeleTech.