Not everyone is headed back into the office this fall with the COVID-19 variant on the scene, and many have been back at their desks for months. But some agencies and organizations have been making plans to bring everyone back – with masks and vaccines for federal government buildings. For those who have been working from home for over a year, getting back into the office can bring about some anxiety. And for those who have been working nine to five in the SCIF, it’s always helpful to get a few motivation hacks to keep the job rolling smoothly.

Top 10 Hacks to Get back in Gear at the Office

The editorial team chatted about some of the top hacks for getting back in gear at the office. Whether you just need a kick in the pants to keep going or you need some ideas on how to make the change happen, finding a hack can be helpful to getting things done.

1. Start your day with the smallest task possible.

Some experts argue that you should get the biggest tasks done before you jump to the little tasks, but sometimes, the feeling of accomplishment will ultimately lead to more accomplishments. A little success can go a long a way to getting everything on your to-do list done.

2. Manage your internal dialogue.

You have to be your own PR machine in your head. Because all those thoughts will tumble out to coworkers and management. If you’re not happy, they will eventually know. So, if you dislike the amount of time you have to spend at the office, find a way to communicate that to upper management. The squeaky wheel may get the grease, but it may not get you promotions, raises, or friends.

3. Make things easier for yourself.

Find what’s hard in your life with your schedule, and then find ways to simplify things. Can’t get to the grocery store at a decent hour? Order from a grocery service. Take a cab or Uber it instead of trying to find parking. And if you can meet the dress code requirements and still be comfortable, do it. Be the trend setter who decides that suits are only worn on certain days, and save on your dry cleaning.

4. Block distractions for the first hour at the office.

Whether you’re at home or at the office, it’s best to block distractions for the first hour while you get up to speed and reassess priorities. That first hour at your desk will set the tone. So, if you need to, set your out-of-office message on email and block off your calendar. Use that time to focus on your more challenging tasks and setting up your list for the day. No matter where you are, this can get your day to be more productive from start to finish.

5. Ask for the support you need from your partner, friends, or family.

We all need a pep talk every now and then, so reach out to your people to get some feedback and support. And it’s also a good time to check with your mentors. They may have some fresh perspectives on balancing your professional and personal life.

6. Set boundaries with communications.

While you can’t ignore your coworkers or your boss, you can set boundaries. So, don’t feel like you have to talk to everyone who swings by your office, asking if you have a quick second to chat. Those unscheduled drop-ins can chip away at your effectiveness in a very subtle way. Feel free to reschedule people when they stop by – just ask if you can chat in 15 minutes after you wrap up a task or get to a better stopping point. You also can set the standard in the office by emailing coworkers first to see if they had a minute to talk.

7. Be of service to someone else at work.

Collaborating with others or helping your coworkers can make you feel good and more productive. Building a stronger sense of team can pay off.  You never know what problems people have, so your helpfulness can help your coworkers feel understood and cared for.

8. Give yourself a break and practice self care.

Give yourself a break and self-care. It may be harder to get to the gym or go for a walk at the office, but you need to be the boss of your calendar. Schedule times to leave in the day to go to the gym or get some coffee. It’s helpful to step away and let your brain switch gears. 

9. Remember your why.

It’s good to remember your why in your work. It could be your family or it could be your mission, but put those reminders out in front of you while you work. A visual reminder of your goals and reasons for working can be motivating in overcoming the daily challenges.

10. Be a team player.

Find ways to plug the holes on the team. Being at home was a little more individualized, and when you’re in the office together, any differences will shine more. So, see how you function, as well as the others and see where you can adapt to make the team more functional. A sign of leadership is doing what’s best for the team and meeting the shared mission. 

Find Your Hack and Run with It

Whether you have to keep on trucking at the office or you are just re-entering, it’s all about finding the different hacks for yourself to keep motivation high. And for managers, the pandemic isn’t over, so as employees adjust to changing childcare and schooling options, mask and vaccine mandates, and traffic, don’t forget to make sure people are supported. After all, it’s the people who meet missions, so they need to be supported in their professional and personal life.


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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.