For the first time in nearly two months thousands of New Zealanders are swapping their slippers for shoes today as we enter our first full week of level 2.

And with the mass return of Kiwis to offices, it's understandable if many are already feeling the onset of the "back to work blues".

Because there's no denying that working from home had its benefits.

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No early morning commutes, no meetings, and no stuffy suits - just comfy track pants as far as the eye can see.

If you're already counting down the minutes until Friday - here's how to cope being back in the office.

Don't be ashamed of your procrastination

Look at the computer screens around you. Everyone's doing it. They're scrolling through social feeds, reading random news stories and setting up Spotify playlists.

There might be a few class pets around, but the rest of the workforce is living in a post lockdown-induced daze that feels like a weird mix of a hangover and jetlag.

And these conditions create the ideal environment for the wandering mouse, that familiar creature with the uncanny habit of migrating kilometres across the internet without ever coming close to anything that resembles work.

Embrace procrastination while you can afford to do it. It won't be long before those pesky deadlines start encroaching on your online research time.

Check your calendar

You're probably used to your calendar being absolutely barren due to lockdown, with no plans beyond watching Netflix on the couch every day.

Avoid surprise notifications by regularly checking your calendar for meetings and appointments.


Take those overdue client lunches

While there's nothing quite as good as a lunch at home in your track pants, the first couple of weeks are a good time to take those important overdue meetings.

Lunch at your favourite café will also serve as a good digital detox after two months of isolation and staring at screens.

Take a 'treat yourself' day

By the fortune of living in New Zealand, we have access to a pretty decent stack of holidays. Lessen the pain of your first week by taking Friday off.

This will allow you to ease into your first week. As an added bonus, you'll also get a taste of what it would be like to have a four-day week.

Ask for support

It's totally normal if you're struggling to adapt back to regular office life.


Having a network of colleagues will serve you well when you hit a problem, or feel overwhelmed. So ask for help when you need it.

Look after your health

Stress can take a major toll on our physical health - so keep physically active, maintain a healthy diet and take steps to managing stress.

These steps will contribute to a healthy body and mind and ultimately help you cope with challenges at work.

It's totally normal if you're struggling to take off your trackpants and go back to work. Photo / 123RF
It's totally normal if you're struggling to take off your trackpants and go back to work. Photo / 123RF

Take a break

Be compassionate to yourself, lockdown has been rough - and returning to work is an adjustment.

Although we sometimes feel there aren't enough hours in the day, too much work and not enough time off isn't good for your productivity.

Taking regular breaks improves concentration and, for office-workers, helps to ensure we don't spend too much of our time sitting down, which is bad for our health whether we exercise daily or not.