10 Tips: Returning to Work after Vacation

Summertime in Minneapolis lasts no longer than 90 days. In fact, some year’s summer-time is cut short when the brisk fall weather creeps in at the end of August. Therefore, I find it extremely important to take some days off, recharge and enjoy the summer sun while it lasts.

Though taking days off in the summer-time sounds amazing, it can be quite stressful coming back to your desk after a long weekend at the beach. Here are 10 tips to ease your way back to your desk after vacation:

1. Review Your Calendar the Night Before

You’ve had a long weekend off of work with lots of sun, surf and possibly beer. Check your calendar the night before you go back into work so you can map out your day properly. Nothing is worse than being surprise by a meeting your first day back from vacation and not being prepared…

2. Do One Thing at a Time

It will be hard for you to come into the office and not try to tackle everything at once, but you need to be realistic with yourself and be good to yourself. Just because you took a long weekend vacation does not mean you are a bad person or that you have to rush to get everything done in one day. Buckle down and focus, but tackle one task at a time.

3. Clear Your Work Space

Clean up your desk right when you get into the office (after your cup of coffee, of course). Anyone else leave their desk a complete disaster before they leave for a long weekend? Clear away those unnecessary water bottles, coffee mugs and papers that you left there while scurrying off in a hurry to catch your ride up north. Cleaning up your work space will leave for less distraction and ultimately a clearer mind before you start up your computer.

4. Check Your Voicemail

While you wait for your computer to boot up, check your voicemail. If you don’t check your voicemail right at this moment, you will be mulled with a million different distractions that will ultimately leave you with even more messages by the end of your first day back. Chip away at the messages.

5. Dedicate Your Morning Going Through All Of Your E-Mails (Insert Headphones Here)

I have gone into work after vacation with 500+ e-mails and immediately felt sick to my stomach. But believe me, you will get through this. Plug in your headphones and chip away at your e-mails, starting with the e-mail date. You want to respond to the oldest e-mails first. Do not let anyone distract you while you do this. Coming into the office early to get this done will help out with distractions.

6. Make a List of To-Dos

I’m sure you will find that you have a lot of projects once you read through your 500+ e-mails, so write down your list of to-dos. I recommend that you write these projects down in order of importance and chip away at the projects at the top of the list first.

7. Take a Lunch!

This tip is extremely important. The last 4 office roles I have had, people have come back from vacation and didn’t allow themselves time to take a lunch. They were so swamped trying to catch up with what they missed that they didn’t believe they had time to take a lunch. It’s proven, food effects how you feel. If you don’t eat you will be more tired, irritable, stressed and ultimately less productive.

8. Turn Your Phone Down

According to OpenMarket, 83% of millennials open text messages within 90 seconds of receiving them. Your cell phone can be your biggest distraction and hinder your productivity at work. So, turn your phone down so you can’t see the screen, or set your phone in your drawer so you aren’t distracted by the text messages, Facebook notifications and tweets.

9. Stick To Your Regular Work Schedule

Just because you took a couple of days off does not mean you have to stay at work until 10 PM for the entire week. Stick to your regular work schedule and ease back into the swing of things. It doesn’t make the vacations worth it if you find that you are completely miserable when you return back to work.

10. Don’t Be Afraid To Delegate While You Are Out

Ever heard of the saying ‘Teamwork makes the dream work?’ If something important needs to go out while you are away, don’t be afraid to call in for favors. ONLY if you are willing to do the same for your co-worker who needs it. Knowing that you have a co-worker that has your back makes things so much easier to not only go on vacation, but come back from vacation. It’s OK to ask for a favor here-and-there if the task is reasonable.

Everyone deserves a vacation without the feeling of being reprimanded. Get your things done before you leave, ease in when you’re back and everything will be back to normal in no time.

Elizabeth Miller

Elizabeth Miller is a Community Engagement Manager at Russell Tobin focusing on the engagement and satisfaction of all stakeholders.

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