Coming back from a break from work – whether it was a long weekend, a staycation, a two-week trip, or a month-long sabbatical can cause a bit of anxiety. You’re thinking you need a holiday to get over your holiday, just so you can avoid all the work that has piled up while you were gone. But you can’t go on holiday forever, so you drive into work anyway, say hello to your colleagues, and sit down and try to get back into the groove.
To others, you look like you’re busy checking your emails, but in truth you’re staring at your screen, your brain still dreaming about the beach.
While you don’t necessarily have to hit the ground running on the first day you do want to make a smooth transition back into work. To help you tune back in without too much of the post-holiday blues, here are some suggestions on what you should do on your first day back from a holiday.
1. Arrive earlier
Get into work an hour earlier so that you can readjust to the environment without the distraction of a busy office. Coming in early will allow you to ease yourself in rather than hit the ground running. Use this time to clean your desk, organise yourself, and visualise the rest of your day.
2. Make use of email sort and filter
If your inbox is bursting, then you’ll want a strategy for making sure you read the most important emails first. Sort your mail by sender, subject, or date – it all depends on what your priorities are. Avoid spending too much time on reading and replying emails. The idea here is to tackle the most urgent emails and to get an idea how busy you will be for the rest of the week. Flag emails that need more time and attention so you can get back to them easily later.
3. Make a to-do list for the week
Going through your emails will give you an idea of how busy you’ll be in the next few days. Use the information you have to create a to-do list. Prioritise issues that might exist, followed by picking up where you left off on existing projects. Include catch-up meetings in your list.
4. Set up a catch-up meeting
Setting up a catch-up meeting is a proof of excellent communication skills. It a time you can get updates on the progress of work that was on-going, learn about new tasks that arose while you were on a break, and find out any other developments that might have come up during your absence. A catch-up meeting will help you plan and prioritise your tasks better, too.
5. Thank your colleagues
If you’ve been away for a long time, you’ll want to thank colleagues who were tasked with managing your work while you were gone. Do it even if it’s the norm for tasks to be delegated when someone’s away. It will be nice for your colleagues to feel appreciated for their help.
6. Bring out the goodies
Part of the transition period from a vacation is about sharing your experience with your colleagues. If you brought some souvenirs from your trip, that’s great! It will give you a chance to talk about the highlights of your holiday.
7. Plan something with your colleagues
Plan a get-together after work, or a luxurious lunch with your team, or karaoke on the weekend. Consider it informal catch-up time that you can use to talk about your holiday, plans for the next break and just have fun! There’s no reason for work to be fun-less just because you’re no longer on holiday!