Returning to the Office Post-Covid: Tips for Employees and Employers

Posted on May 25, 2023

By Eric Floyd

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization officially announced that COVID-19 was no longer a global health emergency. For office workers, this may mean more mandated “return to the office” rules are coming soon if they haven’t already.

There are pros and cons to working from home and the office:

If you’ve enjoyed the perks of working from home these past few years, it may be challenging to go back to your committed and 9-5 office hours again. To help with the transition, here are some of my best tips for navigating the return to the office:

For Employees

Bring a touch of home to the office: Don’t forget to bring an updated picture of your family to display. It could be a picture of your spouse, children, pets, or even your favourite vacation spot or hobby.

If not a picture, bring a unique decor item or trinket to display on your desk to create a home away from home feeling.

Ask about hybrid options: While some employers may have a blanket rule that everyone must return to the office, others may allow flexibility if you ask. Be sure you can prove you’re productive working from home and help your employer understand why they can benefit, such as converting your long commute time into productivity for the company.

Include fresh air in your day: Working from home, you may have been used to more breaks than you typically get in an office setting. If this is something you value about working from home, set a desk timer and take a quick 5-minute walk break outside or around the office to get a change of scenery.

For Employers

Consider creating a pet-friendly environment: Many people added pets to their family during the pandemic and are now struggling to find daycare when they return to the office. If your workplace can accommodate it, consider allowing small, well-behaved pets to come to work.

This is great for the pet parents to save on doggy daycare and for your entire staff to get a dose of pet therapy during the day. You may consider having employees’ pets in the office on a rotating basis. It can do wonders for employee attitude and morale.

Create social opportunities: A big theme that emerged for workers during the work-from-home days was the loneliness some felt. As their employer, you can create space and opportunities for social activities. This might mean installing a foosball table in the lunchroom or having Pizza Fridays once a month. How about an old-school bring-your-child-to-work day once a year? These activities will encourage people to socialize with others outside their direct teams and can be a great mood booster!

Be open to hybrid work when possible: It’s now much easier for most desk-bound staff to work remotely and be just as efficient as they are in the office. Be flexible and create the option for hybrid working. Set aside 1-2 days a week if you require staff to work from the office. Consider a six-month trial run and gauge how productivity has been impacted before determining if this is a suitable long-term option for your team.

What does the future of remote work look like?

I’ve seen a trend where more employers are removing work-from-home and hybrid working options, but we’re also seeing some companies offering up to 100% remote jobs (according to, 16% of companies are fully remote).

If you are an employer who requires your team to be in the office 100% of the time, what have you done to make your employees’ return easier? If you are an employee, what have you done to make your office feel more like home?