The last two years have taught us a lot about how we can operate as advisors in a remote world, which has brought with it both some challenges and benefits. The recruitment market has been able to bounce back with ease as firms adapted to onboarding people remotely, with virtual welcome events being the norm, and Microsoft Teams becoming a necessity. 

However, times are once again changing quite rapidly and, as firms adjust to a hybrid way of working, fresh challenges arise for those who started their roles remotely and have become accustomed to working at home. So how can you transition with ease? We catch up with qualified life, career and business coach Kerry McLaughlin about how the transition can be made smoothly.

Be proactive with your colleagues

Kerry McLaughlin, ICF ACSTH qualified life, career and business coach.

You’ve got know your team via an online platform, some of whom you may never have met face to face, so when you return to the office for the first time, it can be a little awkward passing someone who you think looks like your colleague, but you aren’t completely certain, especially if you are hot desking. For the introverts amongst us, this can be especially difficult and can provoke feelings of anxiety. The best way to alleviate the awkwardness is to be proactive:

  • organise coffee catch ups every time you’re in the office
  • suggest a team meeting for the days everyone is in
  • familiarise yourself with your colleagues 

These small gestures will enhance both your real life and online relationship with your colleagues. 

Understand the protocols

You’ve got to know the business and the policies that are in place for an online way of working. Culturally the business may work differently in the office. So be candid and ask what the protocol is. It could be as small as how to book a meeting room; are Teams calls a preferred method of communication – or should I talk in person (shock!)? Should calls be taken at the desk or in a meeting room? You’re now having to learn another aspect of your business culture, so rely on the colleagues that have been there pre-remote days, and find the style of working that suits you best. 

Structure your day

Going back into the office for a few days each week can be disruptive to the working week you’ve become accustomed to, so it’s important to add some structure into the days you’re amongst your colleagues. It can be easy to get carried away talking more than you usually would (with good reason), and all of a sudden you may find yourself resenting those days because you feel you’ve accomplished nothing. It’s important for people within professional services to be around each other to support and learn from one another. So, create some structure into your day, allowing for some time in your diary for chit chat, but being disciplined enough to not let it impact the whole of your day. 

Be realistic and kind with yourself

There has been so much change in both working and personal life over the past two years, that it can be difficult to keep up. As a Coach, my advice is to be realistic with yourself and don’t set wild expectations. Everyone is finding their way through the new way of hybrid working, so don’t expect to find your groove immediately. Take time to understand what will suit you from a working pattern perspective, and what will give you the most productivity and motivation, and be sure to communicate that with your line manager. Don’t compare yourself to others and their working patterns, you are not your colleagues! 

Kerry McLaughlin is an ICF ACSTH qualified professional coach with previous experience in tax in the Big 4 and in recruitment with Brewer Morris and Morgan McKinley. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Kerry for contributing to this article and for providing us with her much valued insights into remote and hybrid working.