These days, a large number of companies are adopting more flexible policies and allowing employees to do at least some of their work from home. Others are going so far as to let workers telecommute on a full-time basis. But some companies are doing the opposite — telling workers used to doing their jobs from home that they now must report to an office. Of course, being told you can no longer work from home is a harsh blow, so here’s how to cope if that happens to you.
1. Understand the reasoning behind the decision
Companies that renege on their work-from-home policies aren’t just out to stick it to their employees. Often, there’s a solid reason for compelling workers to bring their business back to the office, and so it pays to do some digging and determine why your employer has suddenly changed its tune. It could be that your company saw worker productivity decline following a work-from-home policy, or that most managers were struggling to foster teamwork and collaboration. Understanding the logic behind the decision won’t alter the reality of the situation, but it might help you better come to terms with the change rather than resent it.
2. Start scheduling your time
The beauty of working from home is not having to waste time commuting, all the while getting to sneak personal tasks (think laundry and cooking) into the workday to avoid the evening crunch. Once that’s taken away, you’ll need to get a whole lot better at time management to avoid falling behind on life and getting stressed in the process. To that end, start mapping out a weekly schedule where you incorporate different tasks into your days. Maybe Monday will be the night you leave the office on time to go home and get your laundry done. Or maybe you’ll need to start carving out time on Sundays to cook for the week. Either way, mapping out your schedule will make it easier to adjust to the change of having to be present at an office for what could be 40 hours a week or more.
3. Carve out some leeway as needed
Just because your company won’t allow employees to work from home in general doesn’t mean you can’t ever do your job from home if the situation warrants it. Rather than resign yourself to having zero leeway, work your hardest while at the office, but don’t hesitate to ask your manager for a little flexibility when you need it. For example, if you have a sick child who can’t go to school, call your boss and request a work-from-home day the one time. Similarly, if you need to be home to let a contractor in or receive a delivery, there’s a good chance your manager will let you do just that. Many companies that don’t have an official work-from-home policy still allow employees to telecommute on a case-by-case basis, so don’t assume the worst.
Adjusting to a full-time office schedule after working from home is tough. If, despite your best efforts, you find that you’re struggling with that lack of flexibility, it might be time to dust off your resume and find a job that allows you to telecommute more regularly. After all, the more content you are with your schedule and work-life balance, the greater your chances of succeeding at whatever role you take on.