5. Test-drive your commute
Another thing that may have changed is your commute, Clinton says. Many public transit agencies revised their train and bus schedules at the start of the pandemic and still may not be running as frequently as they did two years ago. Double-check mass transit schedules (and prices), detours on driving routes due to new road work, and even toll changes.
It might also be a good idea to do a dry run of your commute before your first day back at the office to see if anything significant has changed. Depending on your workplace, Clinton advises adding extra time to allow workplace changes like elevator social distancing requirements and any new check-in procedures.
6. Adjust your sleep schedule
If you’ve gotten into the habit of staying up or sleeping later than you did pre-pandemic, adjusting to an earlier alarm clock setting might take some getting used to. After all, you’ll need to allow time for your back-to-the-office morning routine.
The effects of too little sleep can be significant, too. For example, people with severe insomnia are seven times more likely to have work-related accidents and commuting accidents than good sleepers. Work on adjusting your sleep schedule to match the time you’ll need to get up on office days.
7. Take care of caregiving responsibilities
Caregiving responsibilities have been a big challenge for many families during the pandemic. More than 1 in 10 women reported having to care for a family member, including children and aging relatives, during the past two years, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Organizing care for children and other family members is critical, Heiter says. Because there is so much demand for these services, it may take some time to find caregiving facilities that suit your needs. Across the United States, day care centers have closed, and childcare is at a premium, she says.
8. Ease your pets into the change
Roughly 1 in 5 households adopted a pet during the pandemic, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports. Pets provided companionship when people were spending more time at home. Now they need a plan B for when their humans go back to the office.
When Clinton had to be out the house for a few hours, he noticed that his dog was anxious when he returned home. “We need to do this in stages and get them to acclimate,” he says. And more families are going to need help with walking dogs and taking care of pets during the day, he says. Make your arrangements for pet care as soon as possible.
9. Figure out your food
Eating is another area that may get trickier — or more expensive — when you go back to the office, Heiter says. Some businesses are avoiding communal food, kitchens or cafeterias. So you may need to think about bringing lunch or making other arrangements. You may also need to do more meal planning and cooking ahead, as starting the prep for a full dinner …….