Back to the office, now what?

Let’s talk, how you are individually reintegrating back into the office.

Are you looking forward to transitioning back into the office?

Maybe you have started coming into the office and find it to be completely unproductive.

Being called into last minute meetings, chit chat water cooler talk, catch up with colleagues and not to mention the amount of time you are being interrupted.

The stats don’t look pretty…. once interrupted it takes 25 minutes to regain the same level of focus and concentration you were at before you were interrupted.

How many times are you bring interrupted during an office day?

No wonder there is resistance moving back to working from the office, it is frustrating as you have a list of things to complete, only for the day to get derailed.

There is an answer to this problem…

Before covid I found the same problem when consulting, I had one day at best in the office, the rest of the week I was out either delivering, coaching, or consulting. 

I had a long list of things I needed to get done before client meetings and coaching sessions, only to get derailed or distracted by the hum of the office environment, leaving me with hours of work to do when I eventually got home.

The reality…

The days in the office are going to be less productive for deep work; the more we put pressure on ourselves the more stress we create and that is not good for deep work, creativity and decision making.  

When you are stressed, cortisol starts circulating around your system, which has a negative influence on prefrontal cortex (PFC), which is the executive function of the brain; the one responsible for thoughts, behaviour, and emotions (decision making, creativity and focus). As it starts to inhibit the prefrontal cortex we have weaker control of our thoughts, emotions, and actions; meaning we are not in the most optimal state to be making decisions, being creative or completing deep focussed work as we are in a heightened state of survival.

It is complex and involves more than the PFC. I’m over simplifying it and you can read more about this article from Anchorage press.

Cortisol can be good for short bursts of life and death situations. However, when activated for long periods such as uncertainty, work pressure, tight deadlines etc. it will have long term negative health impacts such as depression, anxiety, tension, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

I’m not doing this justice, you can read the article from the Mayo clinic to find out more.

The Solution

  1. Have a purpose of what you would like to achieve, be realistic about the types of work you can complete in the office.
  2. Schedule your deep work for times at home when you can work without distraction.
  3. Stick to transactional work, like emails or WIPs or project check-ins
  4. Network. This is an opportunity to meet colleagues and build relationships
  5. Develop a stakeholder power map; identify who in the organisation you need to build your brand and influence with to progress projects, pieces of work and get buy in from.

If you don’t take control of what you can influence, you will be at the whim of others, and it will increase the stress and anxiety of transitioning back to the office. 


You are not going to be as productive or focused initially when your return to the office, but once you have accepted this it will free up your headspace to be more intentional and purposeful with your time and energy. In return, you will gain clarity and focus on better organisational outcomes, not to mention better health outcomes.

If you are finding yourself feeling anxious, unproductive, or lacking focus click the link here to schedule a strategy call, we can create a plan to help you integrate back into a hybrid work environment, lower stress levels and increase focus. Alternatively, if you know someone who would benefit from talking to someone about this, share the link. 

No obligation or sales chat, just practical advice.

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