When returning from a holiday, productivity at the office can be lower than usual. Going back to your daily routine can be daunting at first – your mailbox is probably overflowing with mundane issues and numerous problems needing to be solved, meetings lined up and problems waiting to be tackled. Still, it is vital to take time to rest, as taking a break and going on a holiday helps to keep a healthy balance between your work and personal life, relax from daily problems and spend more time with your family and friends.
Here are a few ideas to help you lessen the stress on the first days at work after a long vacation.
Keep the first day back in the office free of meetings
Make sure that your first day would not be filled with meetings. If possible, make necessary arrangements before leaving for a holiday. When your workplace is using a shared group calendar, mark yourself busy for the first day back in the office. This way you will avoid having your time planned for you. On the first day back, you time is probably more productively used to find out where you are in the workflow. Browse through your emails, sort out the progress on the projects you are involved in and figure out the priorities of your tasks.
Start with a positive attitude
It is easy to overthink and imagine how returning to work is going to be a horrible experience. This kind of thinking creates stress of its own. Whether it comes from previous years of bad experience, from stories shared by friends or family or even simply by a habit, this is an easy trap to fall into. Positive thinking can make a huge difference by lessening your stress but also bringing along better alternatives. If you convince yourself that you are going to have a horrible day it will show in your face and attitude. A grumpy face isn’t likely to attract smiles and goodwill in return. Be positive and smile, bring a cake to the office instead of frowns. After all, you just had a lovely holiday and you get to see your colleagues again.
Make use of the time in public transport
If you have a long morning commute to work in public transport, make use of that time to get a head start on your first day back in the office. For example, you can use your smartphone to take a first look of your emails. Despite the volume of unread emails, they usually have different priorities. Narrowing the amount down to a few most important ones you can start the day in the office with specific tasks in mind to get you started.
Prioritize the tasks
Take a moment before starting the day to do some planning. What are the most important tasks to finish by the end of the first day. Write down all the things that should be done and give them a serious look. Pick out one or two tasks that will be your top priority and make a list of those tasks based on importance. When the main tasks have been done, move along to the next ones in the list.
It’s probably not a good idea to try to focus on working through all your emails in the first day. Going over your inbox diagonally and singling out the most important ones is good way not to miss anything critical.
Remember to take a break
Though the share number of tasks can be huge, to be able to tackle them productively you need to keep in mind to take care of yourself. Stand up after every hour or two and walk around a bit. Take tea or coffee breaks, remember to do occasional stretching. See our previous post about how to get more exercise in the office for some inspiration. Also, make sure you don’t skip lunch. Your brain needs energy, change of scenery and movement, so don’t forget to take care of it. Invite your colleagues to join you for lunch to exchange holiday stories and catch up on the news.
Reward yourself with time to exercise
Go to gym or take up running, swimming or any other sport that you usually enjoy. It may sound like adding one more chore to your already long task list, especially if you feel exhausted after a long day in the office. However, to keep a good work and personal life balance it’s good to get back to your sporting routine as soon as possible. Look at it as rewarding yourself with a time for yourself and for the care of your body. It may feel like an extra effort and you may even feel like you are forcing yourself unnecessarily to get there but you will feel much better afterwards. Exercise is an excellent way to rewind and let go of the daily worries.
These recommendations are general guidelines and you can alter them to fit your workplace and your tasks there. Best way to lessen stress after returning from holiday is to face the first day calmly and with a positive attitude. This will help make the return from holiday back to the office more productive and stress free.
What helps you to ease back into office routine after your holiday? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.