Training to Go Back to Work

6 min readJun 4, 2020
They’re probably running out of the office, but you get the idea

As your employer salivates to have you return to the office, you have to ask yourself: “Am I ready to return?” You’re a wild animal that has been kept in the captivity of your own home. Do you even remember what it feels like to run on the plains of the Serengeti (the space between the bathroom and those uncomfortable looking couches that your employer put there to “encourage collaboration”)? Do you have a plan to slowly re-introduce yourself back into the wilds of the office whenever your employer decides to blow the Horn of Gondor? If you don’t, no worries, here’s some tips on how you can convert your home, the people in your home, and activities therein to mirror the wilds of the corporate office, and because we’re lazy degenerates we’re going to stand on the shoulders of giants — the people who work hard to re-introduce animals back into the wild.

I: Physical Environment

You need to build an environment for yourself as close to the real thing so that when you’re reintroduced you don’t immediately go into shock because everything is so different and overwhelming. Here’s some ideas on how to spruce up your space to make it as close to the real thing:

  1. Try taking all the interior doors down in your house — making an exception for your bathroom doors, of course. You don’t want to get an imaginary HR write-up.
  2. Speaking of bathrooms, if you have multiple in your home — split them into men’s and women’s bathrooms.
  3. Put up some motivational posters, and maybe a board where everyone is welcome to share their kudos or feedback (but never do).
  4. If you have a space in your house that is particularly echo-y, make this a “shared space for collaboration.”
  5. Try to have as many concurrent conversations as possible, as loud as possible in this area. That’s what makes it an efficient use of space. Bonus points if a coworker spills your coffee all over the collaboration cushions.
  6. Put in a suggestion box out. Never check it.
  7. Move everyone’s rooms around in a “re-org” and then move them back a few days later.
  8. Sit in your car for 22 minutes each morning and evening listening to that podcast that you like. Pretend like there are cars passing you so that you can yell at people for driving like maniacs.
This is called a burn chart and it shows me exactly how far behind you are on everything

II: Psychological Environment

Now that you’ve got the physical environment right, you need to adjust the psychological environment so that you just FEEL like you’re really back in the wild.

1) Have all your family members prep their meals, pack them in your fridge, then leave passive aggressive notes on there to make sure that they know to clean out the fridge and THAT IT’S GETTING CLEANED OUT THIS FRIDAY AND YOU’RE GOING TO THROW AWAY EVERYTHING THAT’S IN THERE — SO HELP YOU GOD. No tupperware will be saved. Not even the nice glass ones.

2) Establish an HR department

  • Set guidelines for office appropriate attire and language
  • Make sure that you tell them at least once a week how important they are to the company and that the company truly values them.
  • Send a daily cheery email with a quote of the day.
  • Most importantly. Judge everyone and everything and remind them that you exist.

3) Make your children call you “their manager”

4) Disclose the nature of your relationship with your significant other to ensure that you’re not showing favoritism.

5) Anytime you need to talk with a family member, set up a meeting. Use your new shared space for collaboration (living room). Create a shared calendar and make your family book rooms ahead of time. Make sure to routinely kick people out of the room they’re in and say, “hmm… I have the room booked for the next half hour” even though everyone knows you booked it right before you walked in.

6) Have weekly budget reviews with your family. Budget everything. Shower time, TV Time, money (duh) — say things like “We’re going to have to pull from our yearly vacation allotment to cover capital expenses for this term.”

7) If you have young ones in the house, create Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for them, and speak with them during their weekly performance review.

8) Hold a 15 minute morning standup in your shared space where you ask things like “Where everyone is at?” and “Are you experiencing any blockers completing their backlog?”

9) Walk around moving your mouth like you’re talking, but make no noise. After 2 minutes, start talking and say “Sorry, I was on mute”.

10) Start doing morale boosters, some ideas:

  • Happy Hour: Setup a small buffet of light snacks in your backyard and make sure that either you or your spouse get raving drunk.
  • Icebreakers, Icebreakers, Icebreakers.

11) If you’ve got something to tell one of your co-workers use the following guide to tell them:

12) Let everyone know your disposition on days of the week:

  • Monday = AWFUL
  • Tuesday = At least it’s not Monday AMIRITE?
  • Wednesday = HUMP DAY. Getting closer. Your Wednesday’s are surprising busy, but you hope that it’s not something that’s going to become a pattern because there’s a webinar on “Talking with power words” that you’re interested in taking, but it’s on Wednesdays and you alway inadvertently get a call from someone who need your help. It’s good to know that you’re needed, but it sure would be nice if you had a little “you” time clear up on your calendar. Maybe you need to schedule a block of time so that you can be mindful of your mindfulness — like really mind-the-fuck-up. Wednesday is the center of the week, and you just need to find the center of yourself. HEY! You just made that up, that’s pretty good. Anyway, you should be getting back to your desk. Back to fighting fires.
  • Thursdays = It’s like Friday.
  • Friday = Your passion for this day burns brighter than a thousand suns. Words cannot describe the joy you feel at 4:30 PM on a Friday. You could feel joy like that with other things… once. Now there is only Friday.


After taking these steps, you’ll have a home that looks like work and feels like work. Take it in and allow yourself to be immersed. One day things will open up, and you’ll be ready. Here at Minimally Useful Industries, we work hard to give you tips to make the best of your world! If you’re thinking. “Oh my god. This was like an orgasm and eating Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies (SAMOAS ARE NOT BETTER — FIGHT US) at the same time” and also thinking this

We’ve got good news. We’re making a card game about Bullshit Corporate Culture called On The Clock. You can find the Kickstarter. If that’s still not enough and you’re all like

then check out our other articles and our website.

Minimally Useful Industries




Doing more by doing less. Creators of the MVP+1 methodology of office survival.