July 6, 2021 - in a 'typical' year would just be the Tuesday after the long 4th of July weekend, but, in keeping with the non-traditional theme of the past year and a half, today is different for many Hudson Valley employees.

Seems like today, July 6th, was a popular choice for a number of employers in the area to call for all staff to return to the office or workplace on a full-time basis, rather than a work-from-home or hybrid structure.

Needless to say, emotions are mixed today, as so many people have created new work-from-home routines.  Comfy clothes, access to their own kitchens, and the comfort of having their pet by their side all day.  Not to mention, you can't beat the commute.

Now that it's time to head back to the office, how do we un-learn what we have become accustomed to since March 2020, and re-enter the workplace?

Hudson Valley Lighting Group (HVLG) brought their staff back into their Wappingers Falls location today, and actually organized a number of welcome back events.  In a poster sent to staff, they encouraged everyone to 'enjoy a week of fun and food to celebrate returning to the office.'  A breakfast mixer, smoothie bar and catered office lunch were on the agenda for the week.

Todd Costello, Project Manager for HVLG, shared some thoughts about heading back into the workplace, saying it feels great because everyone will start turning the page and moving on from pandemic life.

I think a lot of businesses will be changing their day-to-day work model after all this, but I do feel as great as Zoom is, there are some matters where face-to-face interaction is still the best way to handle.
Cara Fitzsimmons, also a Project Manager for HVLG shared similar thoughts, stating she had some mixed emotions about going back to the office.
I am so excited to finally meet some of the people in person that I have only been able to interact with on the phone and with Zoom.  At the same time I’m going to miss lunch breaks with my fluffy cat son at home.
State employee Peg Corte returned to the office today as well, citing what a strange feeling it was.  She said that her HR department offered a few different training sessions to prepare employees for reentry into the workplace, but she still doesn't feel prepared.
For the past nearly 16 months the idea of going to work felt much differently than it does today.  I'm concerned about figuring out how to balance home and work now, figure out childcare again, and definitely feel like there's a bit less flexibility now that I'm required to be back in the office full time rather than hybrid.
Did you recently return to the workplace full time?  If so, did your company provide any trainings or resources to help with the transition back to work, or did they host any gatherings to get everyone excited, meet new employees, boost morale?

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