So, you are returning to an office from remote work. What does that mean for you?
Going back to working in person means getting back into the groove of maintaining your professional image to your interviewer; and if you get the job, your employer and coworkers. During your interview and the first day of the job, your professionalism is everything. It is what sets the first impression before you finish getting through your ice breakers! The level of professionalism you portray in your first impression can be affected by numerous factors which include, but may not be limited to your hygiene, clothing, manners, and communication skills.
Your personal hygiene is a leading part of how you present yourself professionally; and although you do not necessarily need to have a pearly white smile or freshly painted nails every day, poor hygiene sets a lasting, negative first impression for your interviewer and your coworkers.
Failing to keep yourself clean and bathed regularly is the most recognizable. Imagine sitting next to a coworker that goes to the gym every morning before work and does not take a shower afterward. They would have strong body odor all day, every day. Not only would it drive you crazy, but it would set the bar for what to expect from this person. If you go a day or two without washing your face, you will be walking into work with greasy, shiny skin, and some facial breakouts! So, think about getting that haircut, including a shower or two in your daily schedule, and stocking up on deodorant.
While working remotely, it is likely that you transitioned from working in professional attire all of the time to not even changing out of your pajamas. So, depending on how long you have been out-of-office, there is a good chance that it has been a while since you have worn those nice dress pants. If you believe that you have gained or lost enough weight to make a noticeable difference, it is ideal to try on your work clothes, and replace or alter what does not fit you anymore. Losing or putting on weight will change how your clothes fit you, thus making things a little too tight or too loose. Either way, wearing clothes that do not fit can be extremely uncomfortable for you to wear.
You should think about washing the clothes that do fit. If your clothes have been sitting in a closet or folded in a drawer for long, it is possible that they could have accumulated some dust or dirt, or even formed some wrinkles while not in use.
You have been working remotely without the need to keep up your manners, and now you are jumping back into a physical office. How far have you let your manners get away from you? If you know for sure that you will be going back to a physical office in the near future, it is important to work on any less-than-pleasant habits you may have picked up over the course of working remotely.
At home, we are free to do what we want behind closed doors without judgment. Maybe you felt a little gassy on any particular day. If you allowed yourself to build the habit of letting out every one of those “unpleasant sounds” it is time to start getting that under control before your bad habits catch up to you, and you accidentally let one slip in the office.
The way you interact with others sets the bar for future conversations and dialogue during face-to-face meetings. Think about how long it has been since you last discussed business matters with a coworker. Your communication skills may have fallen short of where they once were if you became used to speaking with your employer and/or coworkers through messaging systems and video calls!
Overall, the best tip that anyone can give you is to embrace the positives. If you are nervous about returning to a physical office space, just remember that this is an opportunity for you to rekindle your social skills, build your connections, and cut off any distractions or excuses for not getting your work done.
When preparing for your interview, do not forget these positive thoughts; they will keep you in an optimistic headspace, and impress your interviewer if you mention any of them!
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