With most businesses and schools in the United States preparing for full re-openings come September, the next two months will mark the final stretch of remote work and learning. What are you planning to do before returning to work onsite this fall?
Even if you’re eager to return to your pre-pandemic life, working from home has brought surprising benefits. Many people have reported eating healthier food, sleeping longer hours, and getting sick less often. For some families, remote work and schooling have also resulted in more quality family time.
Before falling back into your frenetic, pre-pandemic schedule, now is the time to maximize the benefits of life in lockdown. To get started, reflect on the pandemic practices you want to carry forward into the fall. Consider new, old, and future habits.
Things to Consider Before Returning to Work in the Fall
Before the pandemic, I was often traveling several days each month. Between travel, I was often in back-to-back meetings. With more time at home, I was able to dedicate more time to long-term business development. This summer, I hope to use the final days of mostly remote and travel-free work to devote more time and attention to business development. Moving forward, I plan to keep holding dedicated time in my schedule for this work. What’s your plan?
- What work habits or priorities were dominant before the pandemic?
- What new work habits or priorities did you adopt during the pandemic?
- What new work habits or priorities do you plan to maintain post-pandemic?
Slowing down helped me better understand what I need to eat to be at my best. I began to experiment with when and how much I consume at different times a day. I also started to better understand the impact of eating out, especially while traveling.
- How did you shift your eating habits throughout the pandemic?
- What worked and what didn’t work?
- What did you come to learn?
The pandemic eliminated most people’s long commutes, packed work and social schedules, and jet lag problems. This meant many of us were sleeping longer and better than ever before. As the pace of life begins to pick up again, is there a way to retain those nights of deep sleep?
- If your sleep habits improved during the pandemic, what supported the shift?
- Were you sleeping longer hours due to eliminating your commute, or were other factors at play (e.g., less late-night socializing)?
- How did sleeping longer and deeper impact your health and productivity during the day?
For all the challenges the pandemic presented, some of us were also blessed with moments of “COVID Lemonade.” For me, it was having time for daily bike rides with the kids–a ritual that kept us outdoors and recharged throughout lockdown.
- What ways of unwinding, recharging, and relaxing did you miss during the pandemic?
- What new ways of recharging and relaxing did you adopt?
- What do you want to sustain post-pandemic?
At home 24/7, some existing relationships waned and others grew in importance. At the same time, there were a lot of relationships that were unintentionally neglected during the pandemic.
- What new relationships did you foster during the pandemic?
- How are you going to keep those relationships alive post-pandemic?
- What relationships in your life changed during the pandemic?
- If the changes were positive (e.g., you reconnected with your teen or college-age children), how will you sustain these connections?
- If certain relationships waned during the pandemic, which ones were they, and do you want to rekindle them? Why or why not?
Don’t wait until Labor Day to reflect upon what you’ve gained from life in lockdown. Reflecting now will allow you to make the most of this summer’s remaining time to focus on yourself and your relationships.