Effective Time Management in the Office: 7 Tips for Returning Employees

As the world gradually emerges from the shadow of the pandemic, a significant transformation is underway in workplaces across the globe. Office attendance, which once saw a dramatic decline during the height of COVID-19, is steadily on the rise. 

CNBC reports that in Europe and the Middle East, office attendance has returned to levels ranging from 70% to 90%. In some Asian cities, it has even surpassed pre-pandemic figures at around 80% to 110%. 

However, the situation in the United States tells a slightly different story. The average office attendance in 10 major U.S. metropolitan areas only recently reached the 50% mark, as reported by Kastle Systems.

As employees transition back to the office, effective time management becomes paramount. 

This article explores seven essential tips for returning employees to maximize productivity in the evolving workplace landscape.

1. Minimize Distractions in the Workplace

Minimizing distractions is crucial for maintaining high productivity levels. Distractions can range from the allure of social media and constant email notifications to noisy office environments. 

Encouraging employees to identify and mitigate distractions is key. They can use website blockers to limit access to non-work-related sites, silence unnecessary notifications, or find quieter workspaces when the focus is essential. 

These steps empower employees to stay on task, reduce interruptions, and manage their time more effectively. Minimizing distractions not only enhances individual productivity but also promotes a more focused and efficient work culture, benefiting the entire organization.

2. Set Clear Goals

Setting clear goals is a fundamental aspect of effective time management and productivity. When employees have well-defined objectives, they gain a sense of purpose and direction in their work. 

These goals act as roadmaps, guiding their efforts and decision-making throughout the day. Clear objectives also allow for better prioritization of tasks, ensuring that the most important and time-sensitive work takes precedence. 

Moreover, goals provide a sense of accomplishment when achieved, boosting motivation and job satisfaction. By instilling a culture of goal-setting, organizations empower their employees to work with purpose, focus, and a heightened sense of clarity. All of which contribute to improved productivity and overall success.

3. Encourage Regular Breaks

Encouraging employees to take short, regular breaks is a strategy backed by research for enhancing productivity. Even brief pauses, such as a five-minute walk or a quick stretch, can rejuvenate the mind and improve focus. 

Harvard Business Review’s analysis of over 80 studies emphasizes the positive impact of these interludes on both well-being and work output.  It is contrary to the conventional belief that extended work hours equate to increased productivity. 

The research underscores that incorporating breaks into the workday not only doesn’t hinder performance but can enhance it. It stresses the importance of incorporating regular intervals of rest and rejuvenation into the work routine to maintain productivity and overall well-being.

4. Improve Lunchtime Management

Enhancing lunchtime management in the workplace involves streamlining the process to make it more efficient and enjoyable for employees. One effective solution is the integration of an office lunch ordering app, which simplifies the meal selection and ordering process. 

CaterCow notes that this technology allows employees to browse menus, place orders, and even make dietary preferences, from their devices. It not only saves time but also ensures that lunch breaks are used effectively for relaxation and socialization. 

By implementing such solutions, companies can demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being and productivity in the post-pandemic office era. 

5. Hold Regular Reviews

Encouraging employees to conduct regular reviews of their time management strategies is essential. These periodic assessments enable individuals to reflect on their work routines, identifying areas where improvements can be made. 

Such reviews consider the evolving dynamics of the workplace, where flexibility and adaptability have become paramount. Employees, in a review, can assess their productivity techniques, ensuring they align with their new work environment.  

By promoting a culture of self-evaluation and adjustment, organizations empower their workforce to stay agile and efficient. This will help them be better equipped to thrive in the changing work landscape.

6. Prioritize the Employee’s Work-Life Balance 

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is not just a matter of personal well-being. It’s a fundamental element of productivity and overall job satisfaction. Encouraging employees to establish clear boundaries and avoid overextending their work hours is vital. 

As highlighted by BBC, the shift towards smarter time management rather than longer hours is gaining traction globally. Some companies and even entire countries, like Iceland, have successfully implemented four-day working weeks. They have demonstrated that productivity hinges on how time is spent, not just how much of it is dedicated to work. 

Iceland’s trial not only improved work-life balance but also sustained or enhanced productivity levels. It presents a compelling testament to the value of balancing work and personal life effectively.

7. Make Use of Effective Communication Techniques

Effective communication is paramount to productivity in the modern office environment. Encouraging efficient communication practices can significantly enhance workflow. 

Employees should be urged to utilize tools like instant messaging for swift inquiries, eliminating the need for time-consuming email exchanges. Longer, in-depth discussions should be reserved for scheduled meetings, ensuring that valuable work hours are optimized. 

This approach not only streamlines information exchange but also prevents interruptions, allowing employees to stay focused on their tasks. Promoting such communication strategies creates an environment where collaboration is efficient and employees can work more effectively. This will ultimately contribute to enhanced overall productivity.


In the evolving landscape of post-pandemic work, effective time management remains a linchpin for employee productivity and well-being. Returning to the office, whether full-time or in a hybrid model, presents both opportunities and challenges. Encouraging practices such as those mentioned above help employees navigate this new paradigm effectively.

As organizations prioritize these strategies, they position themselves for success in a world of work that demands flexibility, adaptability, and heightened productivity.

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