You may or may not have started to go back to the office a few days a week. If you have, I wonder whether you quickly adjusted back or whether it felt extremely odd. I guess a number of factors will affect this – whether the physical environment has changed such as a different, smaller office, or moved furniture, how you feel about Covid itself and whether there are many others around. There will be lots to adjust to in the coming months in order to refocus your career.

Hybrid working will bring both benefits and challenges, that specific topic is for another day. This article is to help you consider what you need to refocus on for your career as you head back to the office. Working at home during the pandemic created many different situations for each of us. Some people tried to stick to working as normally as possible from home, others took the opportunity to do more self-development if they had more time and some just focused on the core tasks to get their core job role done and put the other elements aside. Particularly if you fall into the final category, this article is for you, although there is no harm in everyone having a rethink as things continue to change again.

Here are the elements I think are important to revisit:

  1. Relationships with your direct colleagues, a recent study by My Perfect Resume said nearly 2 in 3 people had experienced conflict with their colleagues while working from home. If that is you and it hasn’t really been resolved then now is the time to work on rebuilding that relationship which will hopefully be easier in person. Likewise, if you know a difficult conversation was avoided or there was passive aggression then it is time to deal with that so resentment doesn’t build further.

A good starting point can be to do an audit of your key work relationships and traffic light (green for a positive relationship, amber for ‘needs some work’ through to red ‘needs a lot of effort’) and prioritise them so you can make a plan on how to work on each one.

Where there is a specific issue that needs discussion, engaging with the person or people in a human way, assigning focused time to discuss the issue and making sure you listen to understand are good starting points so you can have a productive and positive conversation.

  1. Strategic relationships, so relationships with other colleagues outside your immediate circle. There are several reasons why these are worthy of focus, including building your profile. Exposure is so important for career progression or potentially to collaborate more, including generating cross-selling opportunities.

Often these relationships have been side-lined working continually from home. Consider who you used to talk to and now don’t, whether just around the office or meeting for coffee. Think about who else you need to know. Contact me to discuss building a Strategic Relationships Plan.

  1. Building your network outside the organisation, people always underestimate the importance of this, but it can be extremely helpful, even if you are not responsible for business development. Many new roles are found this way, so even if you don’t want to move now it is good to look ahead. We all learn more when we have a good network too. What do you need to get back to and which sort of new networking would be helpful to investigate? Asking colleagues what networking they do can be helpful to get started again.
  1. Career planning – is this is something you have neglected over the last year or so? If so, now is the time to do something about what might be next for you. Look at potential gaps to achieve that and how you might continue to build your professional profile. A LinkedIn profile refresh is one simple action you can take, thinking about that might be the catalyst for what is next. If you aren’t quite sure what is next, my article ‘What career success means for you’ is a great starting point.

So what is it for you? One of these or, something else? We can’t keep staying in a pandemic mindset in terms of work, otherwise the effect on careers will be substantial. If you want to talk over any challenges you are facing at work then feel free to book a short, no obligation call with me. I have helped hundreds of people with their personal impact and people challenges to improve their career progression.

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