5 Ways to Adjust to Working in an Office After Being Remote, According to Therapists

5 Ways to Adjust to Working in an Office After Being Remote, According to Therapists

The pandemic has pushed many employers to allow employees to work from home. But after two-plus years, many companies are asking their employees to come back — whether that means commuting into the office full-time or adopting a hybrid schedule. Some people may welcome the in-person arrangement since it means the return of water cooler chat, lunches with colleagues, and face-to-face time with peers and bosses. However, many have embraced the at-home working lifestyle and are hesitant to give up their remote roles. 

I asked a few therapists about how people can adjust to working in the office again after being remote. Here’s what they had to say.

When you have a break, go outside.

Spending seven to eight hours a day in a cubicle or office space may feel daunting when after having had the freedom at home to walk around and grab a breath of fresh air whenever you want. You may feel some anxiety being cooped up in an office setting, which is completely normal.

“To try and deal with these fears, it can help to go outside as much as you can when you take your breaks. Fresh air is helpful in feeling less stressed and closed in, and it can help you to collect yourself before going back to work,” says neuropsychologist Alexander Burgemeester. “It can also help to invite coworkers on your break to ease the social anxieties you might have. Chatting outside feels less forced and you can feel more relaxed by being in a larger environment.”

Bring comforts from home. 

Sometimes the familiar helps to ease uncomfortable feelings and it may be a good idea to have reminders of your remote life at the office. 

“Bringing comforts from home for your desk or office space might also help with this transition. A small plant, picture, or piece of decor can really help to ease some of the stresses you might be feeling. It can also help to brighten up the space and make it feel more like you are working from home,” says Burgemeester. 

Work from home attire may have included a nice blouse or shirt on top and pajama pants or shorts below. Of course, no one may have realized this over Zoom or Skype, but with meetings at the office, your wardrobe may have to move from comfortable to slightly more professional.

Counselor Amanda Levison says planning your wardrobe in advance may ease some of the in-person anxiety of going into the office. “Make sure that you have work-appropriate clothing you feel comfortable in, as taking pride in your appearance helps to boost your mental health,” she says. 

Brainstorm topics to discuss with coworkers.

Working from home means fewer awkward silences with coworkers or having forced conversations with your boss. It can definitely be a transition remembering how to activate those skills, especially if small talk isn’t your thing. 

Levison says, for some, “Conversation with coworkers in person again may cause anxiety, especially for introverts. Taking some time to brainstorm conversation topics in advance can help if small talk does not come naturally to you.”

Give yourself and coworkers some space.

The pandemic proved difficult for many people, and professional and personal relationships may have changed. It’s a crucial time to be mindful of how others may be feeling. 

Dr. Angela Swain, business psychologist, emphasizes, “The pandemic was tough on all of us, so give yourself and your coworkers grace.” Many people lost a family member during the pandemic, and “others lost people from unrelated causes and did not have the space to process their grief,” she says. 

“Assume everyone you meet is going through something,” Swain advises. “By giving people the benefit of the doubt and showing compassion to your team members, you’ll find that going back to work doesn’t feel so bad after all.”

Rudri Bhatt Patel

Contributor

Rudri Bhatt Patel is a former attorney turned writer and editor. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Saveur, Business Insider, Civil Eats and elsewhere. She lives in Phoenix with her family.

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7 Tips for Finding a Remote-Friendly Job, According to Recruiters

7 Tips for Finding a Remote-Friendly Job, According to Recruiters

Unhappy with your current gig? Want to switch careers or find a new remote position in another company? Here’s the good news: There are currently more than 11 million job openings across the United States, which means your job search will likely lead to at least a few places that may pique your interest. 

And many of those jobs are remote. But how do you find those work-from-home job opportunities? I talked to several recruiters who shared seven tips for finding a remote-friendly job. 

Explore all options with targeted searches.

When beginning a job search, don’t limit yourself. Make a list of what interests you and what types of positions and companies could check those boxes. Try to discover as much as possible about the potential role and how your skills may be a good fit. 

Recruiter Adina David recommends using all available searches to pinpoint which roles are remote, and to determine if your skills match the job description. “The best sites to check out for jobs are Flexjobs, LinkedIn, and Indeed. These sites are great because they’ll help you find positions that are remote-friendly.” 

“You can also search on Google for keywords such as ‘remote jobs’ or ‘telecommute jobs’ and you will see a list of all the available jobs on a Google job board,” she says. Searching various sites in multiple ways will help you cast a wider net. 

Leverage your social network to find a remote job.

Talking to friends and family, making a list of all potential contacts, and attending virtual events are all ways to connect with people that may potentially help you land your next job. Using your online platforms to reach out to someone in your industry is a good way to create a potential connection.

“Leverage your social network to look for a remote job. Let some of your colleagues and immediate circle of family and friends know you’re looking, as they may know someone in their own circle who’s looking for the same or who works for or with a company that offers a remote job,” says Steven McConnell, director of sales and marketing at Arielle. “This isn’t the time to be reserved and shy — proactively reach out to your connections to get a foot in the door with your ideal company, job, or talent source.”

Spend time updating your LinkedIn profile.

Many companies are scouring various platforms to find good candidates for positions. You want to create a good impression online in case a recruiter or a human resources representative stumbles upon your profile. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your digital resume. 

Emma Lindberg, recruiting manager of Advantis Global, says it’s wise to take some time to update your LinkedIn or portfolio. “Have something that showcases all your skills, certifications, accomplishments, and sample work. This will help companies see what you’re capable of and how valuable your work is,” she explains. “This is especially important if you’re asking a recruiter or hiring manager to try and turn an in-office position remote.” 

Consider a staffing agency.

Staffing agencies can be a good resource for finding remote-friendly positions. “They not only have job boards, but give you access to communicating directly with recruiters or hiring managers,” David says. “Get in contact with staffing agencies to have them add you to their roster of talent to have remote jobs sent to you instead of seeking them out yourself.”

Don’t limit yourself by location.

Since you’re looking for remote opportunities, you should try to expand your search as much as you can. That means looking at all opportunities across the globe. 

“Limiting your search to jobs within a specific area only narrows your options. Remote work means you can work for an employer from anywhere in the world regardless of where you are. Hence, it is best not to restrict yourself and make your job search local. International jobs are also most likely to be 100 percent remote,” advises Stella Scott, cofounder EasyPaydayLoan.

Always be respectful and professional.

Whether it is an email, a phone call, or an in-person meeting, try to bring your best self when you communicate. In many instances, hiring managers are making their first impression based on how you present yourself digitally or in a brief conversation. A solid initial impression will be particularly important when trying to land a remote-friendly position, where most of your communication with colleagues will be digital. 

“It’s important to be humble and professional, and show respect for others and the company. No matter how confident you feel about your qualifications, never badmouth others or the company. Always be professional, and never be rude or insulting,” says David. 

Do your best to be ready.

Although there are many remote opportunities available, the demand has also increased for these jobs. That means there are likely several candidates eyeing the same remote position — but don’t let this dishearten you. 

“All you can do is work to strengthen any weaknesses in your candidacy: Polish your application structure, boost your video interviewing skills, put your free time towards self-improvement, and reach out to interesting companies to introduce yourself,” says Fabrizia Zanca, a recruiter at Remote. “This is a turbulent time, and you never know when a great opportunity will present itself. Do your best to be ready.”

Rudri Bhatt Patel

Contributor

Rudri Bhatt Patel is a former attorney turned writer and editor. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Saveur, Business Insider, Civil Eats and elsewhere. She lives in Phoenix with her family.

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These Are the 10 Best Cities for New College Graduates and Career Changers

These Are the 10 Best Cities for New College Graduates and Career Changers

About ten years ago this month, I was in absolute misery — a ball of stress so tightly wound, you could have bounced me off a wall. College graduation was mere weeks away, and between preparing for finals, bittersweet farewells with friends embarking on post-graduate journeys, and job hunting, I was a complete wreck. 

With very little practical direction, pending creative writing and sociology degrees, and a constant state of panic, I sent my resume to every seemingly viable entry-level position’s recruiter. Eventually, I landed at a very just-okay first job. Today, I’m thrilled with where I’ve ended up after a decade, but I wish I’d squashed some of that post-grad dread and planned a little more strategically, pursuing an entry-level job I truly wanted instead of accepting the first offer I received in the city I never left. 

For this spring’s college graduates, the job landscape is far more promising. And fortunately, LinkedIn’s 2022 Guide to Kickstarting Your Career has some valuable data to help entry-level job seekers — including upcoming grads — start out on the right foot. According to LinkedIn, here are the top 10 cities for entry-level jobs in the United States. 

The first location on this list happens to be my favorite city in the entire world. With an average rent of $1,735, you’re going to want to keep things weird in “the live music capital of the world” with a couple of roommates. In addition to being a musical nucleus, ATX also happens to be a booming tech universe. Celebrate your graduation the way I should have: with food truck grub and a Lonestar. 

2. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Situated along the Appalachian Mountains, this southeastern Tennessee city is known for its railroad history and as the site of Civil War battles. Soon, it will be known as the place where you start your entry-level job! With an average rent of $1,238 per month, this southern city is a wonderful place to start building a career and exploring the beautiful surroundings, including mountains, caves, and the Tennessee Riverwalk.

3. Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina

If you’re looking for an entry-level position within the research field, look no further than Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, aka“ the “Research Triangle.” With average rent prices at $1,522, $1,468, and $1,744, respectively, this region is ideal for those considering graduate school at one of the region’s major research universities… or for those who just love pleasant weather and picturesque scenery.

4. Charlotte, North Carolina

North Carolina’s largest city is a major hub for finance and sports. For those seeking entry-level opportunities in those industries, Charlotte may be the ideal location to start building a career. With an average rent of $1,559, this city has much to offer any type of job seeker, from recent graduates to folks looking for a career change. 

Before digging into LinkedIn’s data, I had never heard of Cape Coral, Florida — a gorgeous city along the Gulf of Mexico. Turns out, I’m an outlier. Cape Coral is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, and residents pay an average $1,944 rent per month. The city also boasts a massive network of canals, some of which have access to the Gulf. Who wouldn’t want to start the next phase of their career here?

Among my friends, it seems like Denver is THE place to relocate. Outdoor activities reign supreme year-round, and residents know how to work hard and play way harder. The average rent is $1,879 per month, which might be tough for recent graduates. But the surging population means you can meet plenty of potential roommates at your local hiking trail!

Music City, baby! I’m a sucker for classic country tunes, delicious barbeque, and a late night honky tonk. And if I were in the market for an entry-level position, you better believe Nashville would be on my shortlist. Keep in mind, this town is booming, and the average rent reflects that at $1,694/month. But who can resist warm weather, iconic music, and a damn good time?

While you set out on your search for the perfect entry-level job, I can think of fewer places more beautiful than San Diego. With one of the best climates in the U.S., this So-Cal city’s average rent clocks in at ​​$2,756. While that might be a tough number to swallow, the city’s signature California burrito will go down smooth. 

9. New York City, New York

Have you heard of this place? According to LinkedIn, this iconic city is teeming with entry-level opportunities. For those willing to navigate the rental situation in the five boroughs, start searching for rental opportunities in Manhattan (average $4,265 per month), the Bronx (average $1,650 per month), Staten Island (average $1,500 per month), Brooklyn (average $3,124 per month), and Queens (average $2,769 per month).

10. Boston, Massachusetts  

Unsurprisingly, the average rent in this city — one of the oldest U.S. municipalities — is a tough number to look at: $3,634 per month. But the cultural opportunities and rich American history make this city an intriguing option for entry-level job seekers. How do you like them apples?

Sarah Magnuson

Contributor

Sarah Magnuson is a Chicago-based, Rockford, Illinois-born and bred writer and comedian. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and Sociology and a master’s degree in Public Service Management. When she’s not interviewing real estate experts or sharing her thoughts on laundry chutes (major proponent), Sarah can be found producing sketch comedy shows and liberating retro artifacts from her parents’ basement.

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5 Tips To Take Your Side Hustle Full-Time, According to Those Who Have Done It

5 Tips To Take Your Side Hustle Full-Time, According to Those Who Have Done It

Whether it’s for extra cash or because you realized people want to buy those candles you started making as a pandemic craft, having a side hustle means putting in extra hours after your primary job to make it work. It makes you wonder how much more you could do if you had five full days to commit your passion project. 

If you’ve been thinking about taking the plunge to go full-time freelance, know that you’re not alone. The Great Resignation led to 4 million people quitting their jobs in 2021 either from burnout, the need for flexibility, or the dream to become their own boss. I tapped three individuals who’ve made the leap themselves, shifting from self-starters to CEOs of their own lives. Here are their tips.

Make sure it’s financially feasible.

After beginning her career with a contract job at the Wall Street Journal, Kelsey Mulvey knew she had the ability to write the lifestyle and home decor stories she wanted to write. Continuing her side hustle with other full-time editing jobs, she finally began freelancing full-time in 2017, and later launched the newsletter “Office Hours with Kelsey Mulvey,” where she shares tips on being your own boss and highlights other self-starters.

However, she couldn’t have made the shift to self-employment if she hadn’t built up a roster of clients or initially landed a consistent part-time editing gig that helped ensure there would be money coming in. She says it’s important to determine how much of your “product” you need to sell (whether it’s physical or skill-based) to cover monthly expenses, or make sure you have a solid emergency savings fund.

Before going freelance, Mulvey also recommends letting people in your circle know that you’re open to more work or that you’re officially launching a full-time business, as you never know who might connect you to new clientele. 

Have multiple streams of income.

When Abigail Koffler was laid off from her nonprofit job four years ago, she had a food newsletter called “This Needs Hot Sauce” that she’d started six months prior, and decided to take a chance with freelance food writing. To keep herself afloat, she also took on a babysitting gig and a part-time teaching job. Now, having dropped the babysitting, she’s monetized her newsletter and teaches virtual cooking classes with her friend, personal chef Erica Adler. “It’s been really nice because it uses a different part of your brain than writing, but they compliment each other really well,” she says.

Aside from writing for multiple publications, Mulvey is also looking to monetize her newsletter in the upcoming year. She says some of the beauty of freelancing is choosing which projects to work on, and especially after the uncertainty of the pandemic, it’s smart to diversify revenue streams. 

Lisa Tran, founder of The Elevated Esthetician and a holistic esthetician, offers a variety of services from facials to personal coaching. Eventually, she hopes to open a storefront where she can offer all these services in one place. “[And] of course,” Tran says, “I’d like to offset the income with brand partnership and products.”

Figure out what you’d lose from a full-time job.

Even if you hone in on your craft, there are still aspects of owning your own business to consider before leaving a full-time post. Health insurance, 401(k), and paid time off are all things typically offered by employers that you’ll have to figure out on your own. 

Plus, you’ll need to remember to file quarterly taxes and understand what you can write off when you file. Koffler recommends having a separate credit card for business expenses to make things easier when consolidating at the end of the year. 

Prepare yourself to be your own boss.

While it sounds nice to set your own hours and take a workout class in the middle of the day, being a self-starter isn’t always so glamorous. Mulvey oftentimes finds herself running late to finish a story or having to respond to emails when on vacation. That means time management is a must. 

“I don’t recommend becoming your own boss to everybody,” Mulvey says. “You have to be very committed to what you’re doing because it’s a lot of work.” She recommends treating yourself as the face of your business, meaning sticking to professionalism and avoiding complaining online — like you would do for an employer. 

For Tran, managing her own work schedule means carving out extra time in the morning to review goals and get into the right headspace. While Koffler says she loves that she no longer has to sit at a desk for a designated amount of time, she tries to stick to a schedule that includes a productive midday walk.

Another benefit the self-hustle world often lacks are colleagues to lean on (and sometimes air grievances with). Both Koffler and Tran bridge this gap by meeting up with other freelancers in their area to keep each other accountable and answer any questions.

They also encourage remembering that growing your own business takes time. Tran says that while social media can be inspiring, watching other self-starters can be disheartening at times — especially with overnight successes you may see popping up from TikTok.

“You have to believe in it and commit even though you’re not seeing results right away,” Koffler agrees. “Be patient, enjoy the actual work, and [celebrate] the little wins.”

8 Tips for Keeping Your Side Hustle from Taking Over Your Life

8 Tips for Keeping Your Side Hustle from Taking Over Your Life

The side hustle gets romanticized on Instagram, particularly when it’s the pursuit of a passion project. Beautiful photographs of before-work coffee dates and laptops propped up on vacation make it seem so effortless, easy, and dare I say, fun. But between day job workdays that slowly creep into the evening, skewing the nightly side hustle to-do list, and weekend plans that are turned down in favor of writing a blog post or organizing tax documents, side hustle life isn’t always easy

Behind those inspiring images of a successful side hustle, there’s often a small business owner or entrepreneur going above and beyond to put in boundaries to prioritize the needs of both a demanding career and a rewarding side hustle. They’re laying the groundwork for maintaining a healthy balance between work, side hustle, and having a life. From saying “no” to simply shutting off the computer, these are eight ways they make it work and successfully manage their time with a side hustle.

Use your ‘why’ to guide your yes and no.

Chesley McCarty is a photographer and designer with a full-time career as a retail and real estate strategist at a design and consulting firm. With creative pursuits both by day and night, it’s critical that she intentionally allocates her time and energy. She does this by keeping her ‘why’ front and center to decide which projects are the right fit for her time in the current moment. She says, “In a culture that makes us feel we can be everyone, to everything, at all times, if we only just do a little more, remember that it is okay to say no to yourself in order to maintain focus on the pieces of your business that are the most important for long-term growth.”

Maggie Spicer is a tech lawyer by day who blogs about clean beauty and is in the process of finalizing her soon-to-be-launched clean skincare line. Similarly, she minimizes distractions that don’t fit her long-term vision for her brand in order to focus on her ‘why.’ She explains, “I don’t do sponsored content anymore and I haven’t tried to monetize my blog. This clears space to exclusively work on projects that directly support my brand and mission. It has even led to revenue-generating projects that are about my brand, rather than someone else’s.”

And that idea that seems too good to say ‘no’ to? It doesn’t have to be done today. McCarty adds, “You can always take on a new idea or angle in a future season when you have more bandwidth.”

Utilize lists to stay organized.

With a demanding career and innovative side hustle, Spicer relies on lists, organization systems, and writing out every task. She jots down the big goals — and the small ones. Describing her process, she says, “The key is identifying how long each task will take. When work is busy, I may only get to a few ‘5-minute’ side hustle tasks that week. But it still allows me to keep the ball rolling and have the satisfying moment of checking something off my to-do list!”

This could be as simple as writing down tasks in your planner with a quick “15 min” or “1 hour” beside them, or you could use Google Calendar to color code and organize by task, event, and timeline. 

Boundaries aren’t just a buzzword. They’re crucial for wellness across all facets of life, particularly work-life balance when you have a side hustle. No one should work 15-hour days every day, no matter how passionate they are about their projects. Every work week, block out at least one evening where you are going to close your laptop after the last day job email is sent. And every weekend, try to block out one day where you won’t sit down at your desk.

Take it one step at a time.

If you log off from your full-time workday to find a long list of side hustle to-dos staring you down, don’t get overwhelmed. Instead, remove the items that don’t need to be done immediately and, for the rest, take it one step at a time. Respond to Instagram DMs, then write the blog post, then scan your receipts for taxes. One step at a time. 

“When life gets crazy, I take a ‘one thing’ approach. Even if it’s the end of the day and I’m totally exhausted from work, I try to do one thing for my brand. It’s amazing how quickly they add up!,” says Spicer.

Weigh the cost and benefit.

A new project could bring with it exciting opportunities: more money, more name recognition, or even checking off long term goals. But, when you have a full-time job in addition to your side hustle, there’s always a sacrifice, and you have to weigh the cost and benefit of each new endeavor. McCarty says, “When you have a full-time career and everything else is icing on the cake, it’s important to remember that it is, in fact, just icing.” 

That outlook helps her pay close attention to how she’s prioritizing her side hustle with her physical and mental health. She keeps a watch on whether she’s pushing daily habits, like exercising or cooking, to spend more hours online. If the pendulum swings in the direction of her computer, then it’s time to reset.

Set clear, achievable goals.

You can battle the feeling of always needing to hustle harder, go further, and earn more by setting clear, achievable goals that you can reach and complete. Keep in mind, though, that the achievable part is critical. You should be able to achieve these goals while maintaining a quality of life that feels right for you.

“This year, I’m working towards monthly goals, and once I reach that target, I protect the rest of my time. If I don’t meet the goal for a certain month, I don’t try to make up for it in the months to come,” explains McCarty.

Recognize when it’s time to outsource.

Even a side hustle can benefit from outside help, particularly if it means outsourcing to gain a few precious free hours. If you find yourself spending too much time on back end admin work, like invoicing or scheduling social media, it could be worth the cost to hire a virtual assistant. It’s not worth missing out on your life to slog through the things you don’t want to do — plus, you’re employing another small business owner. 

It’s rarely worth pulling an all-nighter for the sake of your side hustle, so, when all else fails, just close the computer and go to bed.