Being Human: A Guide to Returning to...

Being Human: A Guide to Returning to In-Person Learning and Working

by Rochelle C. Pangilinan
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

The lockdowns and restrictions due to the pandemic have forced most people to study online and/or work from home. While initially not a lot were keen to the idea, as days passed, they’ve learned to embrace the work from home and online learning options.

Now that the positive COVID cases have decreased significantly, educational institutions and companies have started the efforts to encourage students back to the classrooms and employees back to the offices. Those who’ve been used to at-home studying or working could use some help to get re-acquainted with these options. Below then is a guide to being human again.

Set realistic expectations.

When you take a week off from studying in school or working at the office, there’s always bound to be a period of adjustment when you get back. Maybe you’ll wake up a few minutes later than you should or you forget to bring something that you should. Now, imagine if that break was two years. Of course, you can’t get back into the old routine 100 per cent. You’ll need time to adjust and recover. So instead of pushing yourself to take the giant leap and go back to how it was pre-COVID, take baby steps. Set your alarm for a few minutes earlier until you get the hang of it and you’re back to your normal wake-up time pre-COVID.

Set boundaries.

With remote learning or working, you’ve increased your accessibility to classmates or officemates in need of your help. You’ve probably gotten used to checking your emails even beyond the usual school or office hours. Now that you’re back to school or in the office, it’s important to draw a line that establishes the demarcation. This way, you avoid burnout and unnecessary stress. If a classmate is asking to borrow your notes for a class they’ve missed, ask them to meet you in the library. Meanwhile, if it’s a colleague needing your help for a presentation, suggest that you look at it in the office lounge or pantry.

Watch for non-verbal cues.

When you were in a virtual classroom or meeting, it was always understandable if you found yourself talking over someone who wanted to speak or vice versa because it was hard to tell cues accurately. Now that you’re back in the classroom or office, you have to step it up to be more observant of other people’s non-verbal hints. As Founder and Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Marc Brackett said, it’s important to learn how to interpret facial expressions, body language, vocal tones, and behaviour to help us understand others and respond to them appropriately.

Remember, you’re not alone in this.

If you’re feeling anxious, reach out to a guidance counsellor if you’re in school or an HR professional if you’re at work. Remember, the pandemic was a new experience for all of us, and so too is re-adjusting to life post-pandemic. Reaching out to professionals and expressing how you feel will give you reassurance that you can deal with this going forward. You may also connect with others you think feel the same way and this way, you can support each other.

Practice good hygiene.

Just because COVID-19 is slowly bidding the world goodbye doesn’t mean that we can all relax and be complacent about health and safety. In fact, what we should learn from the pandemic is that it always pays to practice good hygiene. Wash your hands for at least 60 seconds and sanitize common areas or spaces like the pantry table before using them. An ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure.

So COVID-19 is gradually going away, and it’s time to reclaim our life and have it the way it was pre-pandemic. There’s a lot of adjustment to be done but if you follow the recommendations above, you’ll be well-prepared. Good luck!



Brackett, Marc. “What Does it Take To Really Know How We’re Feeling?” https://www.marcbrackett.com/what-does-it-take-to-really-know-how-were-feeling/

Goodchild, Lucy. “Going back to the office? 6 tips to help you adjust.” TED.com. https://ideas.ted.com/going-back-to-the-office-6-tips-to-help-you-adjust/

The Hun School of Princeton. “Tips for Returning to School After COVID-19.” https://www.hunschool.org/resources/returning-to-school-post-covid-19

Siddique, Haroon. “Impact of social media on children faces fresh scrutiny.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/jan/15/impact-social-media-children-mental-health

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