How to Create Your Own Return to Work Plan (With Template)

Do you have a return to work plan in place for going back to a physical office space? Whether you’re looking forward to going back or not, it’s a big transition.

Will you need to get up earlier to make it to work on time? How will the commute change your morning routine? Do you still have a healthy routine, or have you developed unhealthy morning habits while working from home? What will you eat for lunch once you don’t have access to your own kitchen? And how will your family cope with the transition?

In this post, we’ll discuss how to wake up motivated and how to get used to waking up early as you transition back to working from an office. We’ve included strategies for building healthy habits and a downloadable return to work plan checklist.


 

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Managing Concern About Returning to Work

After months of navigating work from home lifestyles, many businesses are asking employees to return to work. This transition is being met with mixed feelings, as some employees have become accustomed to working from home.

It may be difficult to imagine how to motivate yourself to wake up early after months of a more relaxed work from home schedule. A little concern about returning to work is natural, and the best way to combat those feelings is with a clear plan. How will you ensure your transition back to the office is a smooth one? How will you prepare your mind and body for an earlier schedule, office commute, and dress code?

The sooner you prepare, the better. Don’t wait until it’s time for the transition to begin changing your habits. Begin your transition as soon as you can to mitigate the shock and uneasy feelings that can come with change.


 

Creating a Return to Work Plan

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Find Motivation to Wake up Early With Healthy Habits

Building a routine based on solid morning habits will help you find motivation to get up early again. Don’t expect this motivation to appear as soon as you hear you need to return to work.

Building habits takes time, and you may have some bad habits to break that you developed over your time working from home. What does an ideal morning look like to you? What steps do you need to take to make that a reality? Figure out what works best for you and begin tracking those habits to hold yourself accountable.

Some common healthy morning habits include:

  • Drinking a big glass of water as soon as you wake up
  • Eating a brain-healthy breakfast
  • Going for a walk
  • Exercising
  • Meditating
  • Reading
  • Stretching
  • Avoiding phones and other forms of media
  • Having quality family time

 

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A morning routine won’t include every one of these healthy habits. It’s about balance and determining what you need in the morning to get off to the best start. Remember that habits take time to build, so begin practicing and tracking them soon.

If you can build these habits before you need to return to work, getting up early for work won’t be as much of a shock. Plus, practicing healthy habits is just as important for those who work from home. If you don’t already have a morning routine, it’s time to build one.

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Establish a Healthy Bedtime Routine

Your bedtime routine is just as important as your morning routine for building motivation to get up early. Not enough sleep or poor quality of sleep is going to throw off your morning and could hinder your productivity throughout your workday.

While working from home, you may have become more relaxed with your bedtime routine or what time you need to get to bed by. Whether you’re still working from home or returning soon, give yourself the best chance at a good morning by practicing healthy bedtime habits.

Some common healthy bedtime habits include:

  • Setting a consistent bedtime
  • Not watching TV 1-2 hours before bed
  • Not looking at your phone 1-2 hours before bed
  • Keeping your phone in another room when you sleep (use an alarm clock)
  • Dimming lights as bedtime approaches
  • Reducing the temperature (people sleep better in a colder room)
  • Using light blocking/blackout curtains

 

So, figure out what works best for you, build a routine, and track your progress. You likely won’t take on all of these healthy habits, but it’s important to determine what your body needs for a restful sleep and to continually practice those habits.

Seriously. Getting a good night’s sleep every night of the week isn’t a luxury—it’s vital to our health. Not sleeping for 24 hours is the same as being legally drunk, and chronic sleep deprivation can lead to weakened immune systems, depression and anxiety, heart disease, obesity, and much more—including a greater overall risk of death.

🛑 Don’t mess around with your sleep. Learn How Lack of Sleep Affects Work Performance and What You Can Do About It.

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Prepare Your Morning the Night Before

Get as much ready for your morning as you can the night before. This way, you can focus your energy on your important morning habits rather than scrambling to get your things together to leave for the office.

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Pick out your clothes, pack your bag, make a plan for your lunch, and do what you can to set yourself up for success. If you want to drink a glass of water every morning when you wake up, set a glass out to help you remember. Lay out your workout clothes to help you remember and to prevent you from skipping exercise if that’s one of the habits of your morning routine.

Allow your mornings to be calm and collected by preparing the night before. You never know—you may even end up looking forward to your mornings. 🤯

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Plan Breakfast and Lunch

Working from home may have gotten you used to making lunch on a whim whenever you or your housemates feel hungry. You won’t have this kind of freedom working from the office, so get in the habit of planning your meals in advance.

Not only is this necessary to ensure you have something to eat midday at the office, but it will also free up the brain space it takes to determine what you want to eat. American couples spend 5.5 days a year deciding what to eat.

Planning your breakfast and lunch in advance is also a good way to avoid eating last minute and settling for fast food, as processed foods negatively impact both our bodies and minds.

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Help Your Family Navigate the Transition

Your family, whether that’s your spouse, children, pets, roommates, or whoever, have gotten used to you working from home too, which means they may be accustomed to being able to contact you at any moment of the day.

Once you know you will be returning to work, take the time to help your family understand what that will mean for them. Your pets may take it the hardest, as they will have a difficult time understanding why you are suddenly abandoning them. Hopefully, your conversation with your human family goes a little smoother.

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Understand that this will be a difficult transition for everyone. Now that they will see a lot less of you, ensure you build intentional quality time with your family into your schedule. This could be in the morning, around dinner time, and on the weekends. The important thing is to acknowledge the change and work to find time to spend together.


 

larry says

Luckily, I don’t have this problem. My duties as the CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) of Blue Summit Supplies keep me in the office daily. This place would fall apart without me.


 

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Return to Work Plan Template

Understanding what you need to do isn’t the same as putting it into practice. Use our return to work template to craft your own personalized plan. The checklist includes the steps you need to take for a smooth transition back to the workplace.

Establish a morning routine

  • Figure out what works best for you
  • Track your progress with habit trackers
  • Begin building healthy habits as soon as possible

Establish a bedtime routine

  • Figure out what works best for you
  • Track your progress with habit trackers
  • Avoid blue light (TV, phone screen, etc.) before bed
  • Keep your phone outside of the bedroom
  • Begin building healthy habits as soon as possible

Prepare your morning the night before

  • Help yourself stay on track with your habits by preparing the night before
  • Pack your work bag the night before
  • Choose what you are going to wear
  • Prepare lunch if you are taking something with you

Plan breakfast and lunch

  • Choose healthy foods that enhance brain function
  • Avoid wasting time by making simple breakfast and lunch decisions
  • Prepare healthy lunches in advance to save time in the morning

Help your family navigate the transition

  • Talk to your family about what the transition will mean for them
  • Be intentional about spending quality time with family when you’re not at work
Return to work plan template

  

More from Blue Summit Supplies

💡 Working from home vs. working in an office? You might not have to choose. Learn how to Incorporate Both With a Hybrid Workplace, including advice for how to manage hybrid teams.

💡 A thoughtful return to office plan puts employee safety first and ensures the transition is a smooth one. Learn what businesses should consider when developing a Return to Office Plan.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jordan's passion for travel led her to design a career as a remote content marketer. Nearing 1000 published articles, she's spent the past decade using her interdisciplinary education to research and write content for a wide variety of industries. Working remotely, Jordan spends half of the year exploring different corners of the world. At home, she's content exploring fictional lands—Spark an immediate and detailed conversation by mentioning Game of Thrones, Red Rising, Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings.

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