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I'm a Pandemic Hire, How do I Return to Office When It's So Unfamiliar?

Return to office shouldn't be a hassle for new hires.
by Erwin Colcol
Just now
Photo/s: Shutterstock

When Mark thinks about meeting his new co-workers in the office setting, his excitement over higher salary and benefits is replaced with panic. How does he interact with people he had only seen in video calls?

Mark is both the old and new guy in the workplace, among those who joined the so-called Great Resignation and switched careers after te ECQ of March 2020. While reacclimatizing himself to the daily commute, he must also build bonds with his new officemates, if he is to succeed.

“I will surely miss the people I’ve worked with for years, but at the same time, medyo nakakakaba rin kasi hindi ko pa kilala yung mga bagong makakatrabaho ko,” the 25-year-old told reportr.

Lagi kong naiisip: What if I’m not good enough? What if I can’t keep up? What if my new officemates aren’t that welcoming?” he said.


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Simply put, Mark doesn't have a comfort zone with familiar faces in the new normal. For those in the same predicament, senior human resources manager Michell Morales said they should go back to why they were hired.

“The reason why you got the job is na-interview ka ng boss mo at naniniwala siya that you are a potential candidate, that you are a good fit for the position, for the company,” Morales told reportr.

“So the good impression is already given, the only question is how are you going to maintain it,” she added.

Fitting in takes time

While moving to a different company or work environment can be exciting for employees, not everyone adjusts to the new setup easily, according to Morales. Managers should consider that there is a learning curve for every employee, regardless of their background or work experience.

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Minsan kasi, ang expectation sa mga new hires ay dapat alam na nila, especially kapag meron silang work experience. Hindi kasi dapat ganun,” Morales said.

There is no tailored-fit candidate in an organization. Kahit sabihin natin na experienced na ang taong ito, there's always an adjustment. Siguro mas mabilis ang iyong adjustment, but still meron ka pa ring learning curve,” she added.

One way to help new hires adjust to the new working environment is to familiarize themselves with their jobs and the company culture. This entails knowing the basics about the organization, its mission and vision, as well as the company culture, said Morales.

It’s also helpful if the new hire would not rush things just so you can adapt to the new workplace right away, according the HR practitioner.

Just be yourself, keep the ball rolling by knowing all the basics about the company, about your role. Take one step at a time, huwag mo rin i-overwhelm agad yung sarili mo. And of course, as a new employee, track your progress, yung small wins,” Morales said.

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How to adapt to your new office

Regardless of whether during the pandemic or not, all new hires undergo adjustments when entering a new company. It’s a process that everyone goes through, and some people take more time than others.

For those who may be struggling to adapt to their new work environment, Morales gave the following tips:


It’s important to assess yourself you could fit well in the company, and the new working environment is something conducive for your productivity. Self-checking should happen at the end of your first day, your first week, your first month up until the third month at work, according to Morales.

Bakit hanggang third month lang? Ang expectation kasi for new hires, within three months, you're able to have a deeper understanding of your function and the organization,” she said.

“Self-check ito kasi yung evaluation if you are doing good or not should start from you. Ito yung mga critical milestone na dapat nache-check din siya ng mga new hire,” she added.

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Connect with your workmates

Perhaps the surest way to adapt to your new working environment quickly is by actually communicating with your colleagues, may it be in the office or virtually.

“If the company doesn't a have buddy system as part of their onboarding program, find a buddy. Kasi siya yung makakatulong sayo mag-immerse doon sa culture ng company,” Morales said.

Ask for feedback

Immersing yourself in your new working environment requires getting feedback from the people you work with, especially from your bosses. This will help you understand whether you are adapting well to the new workplace and if the job is right for you.

Huwag mong palalampasin yung three months without asking any feedback from your immediate superior. Kasi that would validate kung tama ba yung ginagawa mo,” Morales said.

Maintaining the good impression that your manager saw during your interview would be beneficial for you in the long run, as it will lead to a “balanced cultural adaptation,” Morales said.

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Balanse siya kasi hindi ka overwhelmed, hindi ka agad nakaramdam ng challenge doon sa work mo. Nag-grow ka, na-challenge ka, and therefore, dahil nga diba taking small steps at a time, kahit paano nasu-sustain mo talaga yung progress na meron ka as a new employee of the company,” she said.

In the end, more than what your officemates think of you as you return to office, you should work on improving yourself as you enter a new phase in your professional life, Morales said.

Work on your areas for improvement. Ikaw mismo sa sarili mo you should know ano ba talaga yung kailangan mong i-improve further. From there, masu-sustain mo na yung good impression,” she added.

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