Well. Shit. It’s looking like the work from home paradigm shift is shifting back. We’re unsure why our fearless corporate leaders are thirsty for The Great Returnining seeing as how most corporate office positions don’t really need to exist, let alone need to be present in the office. In a previous article on the topic, we spoke about how to transform your home into a corporate hellscape to keep you sharp for the inevitable return to that depressing concrete box at the end of your mourning commute, err… morning commute, whichever one ends with you unhappy. This article is for all the folks who chose to let it all go at home. If you’re anything like us, you’ve turned into absolute savages and strain to keep appearances up only for the amount of time required to remain visible on a zoom call and only for the parts that are actually visible. This article was written in the hopes that you can un-savage yourself enough to return to work — so that you can get back to our time-old-tradition of time heisting (a guide here for the uninitiated).
To make this as easily digestible as Jaime Lee Curtis’ third Activia Yogurt cup for the day, we’re going to break this down into three categories: Appearance, Behaviors, Demeanor.
If you’re anything like us, you didn’t really embrace the opportunity the pandemic created to get in the best shape of your life. No. If you were like us, you drank beers six out of seven days of the week (the seventh day being reserved for fancy cocktails) and gained some weight. There’s a few things you’re going to want to do to make sure you’re ready to return to the office.
- See if your work pants still fit.
* Unless our corp daddys 180 on this one, sweatpants at work are probably out. Your sweats are much more forgiving to your ever-changing body than your work slacks that have been neatly folded in the fuck-you-forever corner of your closet.
* Life pro tip: they now make stretchy slacks. They’re marketed as “athletic” but we all know the real reason to wear them and it has nothing to do with be ability to do a full split between two Volvo trucks a la Jean Claude Van Damme or building your own Coor’s ice bar.
- Shave wherever you feel is necessary to shave.
* We have a sneaking suspicion that, at least for the prolific beard growers among our ranks, there’ll be a bit of a pissing competition when it comes to showing off pandemic beards. Most workplaces seem pretty forgiving to beards unless you’re a woman. Then they come down on you pretty harshly. However, we suggest you at least trim it up though You don’t want a security escort off premises your first day back because they think you’re Saddam Hussein or the Unibomber.
* For the super hairy of you, you may want to attack that chest bush that’s growing out of the top of your shirt. Get the hedge clippers out and just dial it back a notch. You know who you are. If it looks like buckwheat from the little rascals is making an escape attempt out of the top of your shirt, you should deal with that.
We’ve all spent this pandemic unlearning the niceties of high work society, and have been freely belching and farting on mute (sometimes not on mute). Some adjustments will need to be made to ensure that your behavior is office ready.
- There’s no mute button IRL.
* One of the best parts of video conferencing is the kill video and kill audio buttons. You can dick around on your phone, fart, belch, and talk shit to the folks who can’t see or hear you. Unfortunately, there’s no option like this IRL. You’ll have to be on your best behavior since you won’t have the option to opt out of reciprocal human contact and expectations.
* Farting and belching will be super effective at getting out of meetings. However, a trip to HR may also follow.
- Sharting without a parachute.
* Not sure if this is just an “us” problem or an “everyone” problem, but you need to be careful when farting. Not many on this Earth seek out a shart, but freely farting always comes with a variable chance to shart. In the comfort of your own home, you’ve become a high-risk gambler. No fart is too risky, because we’re just a few steps away from a shower and a change of clothes. We’ve been farting with a parachute. Now that we’re returning to the office, you may need to adjust your habits and play the farts a little more conservative so that you’re not having to make an emergency run to replace the pair of underwear that you threw away in the bathroom.
We get it, this is kinda like behavior. The distinction we’re making here is — behavior relates to you and the things that impact yourself. Demeanor is more related to the things you do in relation to interacting with others.
- Re-develop your workplace smile.
* It’s likely, that during this work from home renaissance, you developed the habit of legitimately smiling because you didn’t have to: drag your ass out of bed at 6 am just to make it to that concrete coffin of an employer by 8, have to deal with being relegated to sitting at your desk and just staring into the middle distance waiting for the day to end (or the good lord to take you), have to deal with the shit traffic on the way home, etc. It’s likely the lack of these things made you legitimately smile at some point. Well, we can’t be having that. You need to reach deep inside and find that fake smile where you just kinda press your lips together in a tight line when you recognize a coworker. That’s more like it. Remember, joy is for the 3 minutes that you have to yourself at the end of the day to decompress, catch up on your shows, scream into the nothingness, etc…
- Fake Laughs.
* You’ve interacted with less people in-person than you’ve spent months working from home. And you’ve gotten used to not having to do the fake-ass shoulder seizures whenever someone talks about retiring, donut bribes, Mondays, Wednesdays (hump day/over the hill), or Fridays (TGIF amirite). That muscle group has atrophied due to the underuse of your false giggles. We recommend practicing before you get into the office by taking your least-favorite uncle out to lunch and asking them what they think about millennials (bonus points if you can also make it through talking about the vaccine!). In the event you somehow don’t have that uncle, you can watch an episode of Friends and try to keep up with the laugh track. Be sure to ease yourself into this approach. Jumping right in because you think it’ll be easy can have dire consequences.
We all started and ended this work-from-home journey at different places, so it’s hard to say if this short and non-comprehensive guide to returning to the office will be enough to get us back to our fighting weight. What we do know is that we’re looking forward to finding new and interesting ways to commit varying levels of time theft as revenge for our employers ripping us from the comfort of our own home and dragging us back down to the depths of their concrete-lined despair boxes.