Whether it’s a short getaway, long weekend, or an extended break from work, getting back into the groove of things can take some getting used to, regardless of how grizzled of a veteran you are in the workforce. How then, do we then slide ourselves quickly back into the rhythm of work and not let memories of the carefree days weigh us down?
Here is some advice that can help.
Keep yourself hydrated. One of the contributing factors to a dip in mood and energy levels is due to dehydration – making it hard to focus on the task at hand. Have a jug of water, cold if you prefer something refreshing on a hot day, on your desk. Coffee works too. Settling hydration also gets your bladder to remind you to stand up and take a walk (to the washroom).
- On your feet
Standing boosts your energy and concentration. Lift your butt off the office chair when you are taking a phone call, or stand up to stretch a little. We spend as much as 80% of our time in the office sitting down – make a point to replace part of this time with standing or walking. Even a few steps to the printer or water cooler will help.
- Lunch appointments
This not only means you should refrain from skipping lunch; it also compels you to meet up with people instead of just packing lunch to eat at your desk. Eat with colleagues whose company you enjoy, or spend time with friends who work in the vicinity. You will feel happier and more recharged after lunch, ready to take on the remaining part of the day.
- Tidy up your work-space first
This is actually an activity I personally subscribe to, after some days of absence from the office; or even if I was not away, I make an effort to clean my desk and make some changes to how it looks on a monthly basis. It will make you feel like a fresh start, as well as de-clutter your mind (and space full of unopened mail or unsigned documents), so that you can prioritise what needs to be done.
- Have a look at your calendar and list priority tasks
In your absence, your colleagues could have sent you meeting or event invites. Having sight of these allow you to have a feel of your schedule, to plan other priority, deskbound work. If it allows, keep the first one to two days back at work clear from meetings and appointments, so that you can adjust your mood. You can also assess if there are excessive meetings.
- Don’t read your emails in chronological order
Here’s one idea that I am curious to try out. Instead of reading your emails by date, sort them either by subject or by sender. This basically allows you to find out what happened in your absence, as compared to when things happened.
- Leave the office on time
If being back at work sets you in a not so pretty mood the first few days, having to work late will only reinforce that lousy feeling. Just because you were on vacation doesn’t mean you have to put in more hours at work once you are back. Make a point to leave the office on time, at least for the first few days.
- Be a mentor, even if informally
Besides helping you regain the confidence you had before you went on very long leave, this helps you refresh your own knowledge. Also, mentoring a new member of staff or young worker who may have joined the team in your absence gives you an extra sense of responsibility and purpose, surely something motivational to set you on a want to snap back into the grid as soon as possible.
- Talk to people
Things, trends and people may have changed while you were away; talk to people, those you knew and the ones whom you don’t. They are a great source of advice, feedback and information.
Now that you already know what to do in order to snap back to reality, you can look forward to being a more productive and efficient version of yourself. Think of it as a way of earning yet another break!