We thoroughly enjoyed our long weekend last week, and are back in the office fresh and motivated this week. Time away from work has recharged our batteries and reinvigorated our creativity now we’re back – hopefully it’s done the same for you too!
If this isn’t the case, don’t worry, you’re not alone, for a lot of people returning to the office can sap this new energy away as hours or even days are spent sorting through countless emails, returning phone calls, and catching up with projects.
But all is not lost, you can preserve your renewed energy by following our five tips for returning to work, whether it’s been a long weekend break or a couple of weeks holiday:
- Plan your return home
Everybody likes to plan their time away from work and optimise their free time, making reservations and hotel bookings way in advance, but they often neglect to plan their return to the office with anything like the same organisation. If you are travelling away for the holidays, consider returning on the Friday instead of the Saturday night before work on Sunday. You will have more time to unpack, pick up groceries, and even get a chance to have a quiet and relaxed check of your emails before you get back to the office on Sunday morning.
- Plan for the transition back to work
Make a plan for the days immediately after you will return to work. Avoid scheduling too much, unless you want to be buried in meetings and struggling to sort through emails and return phone calls. Some people try to immediately make up for their time away by scheduling meetings on the first day they return to the office, but if possible you should push any meetings back to the second day to give you some much needed space to catch up with admin.
- Arrange cover of your phone and email
If you don’t yet use a virtual PA (who can screen all of your calls and emails during your absence – more on that to come next week) then make sure you have a straightforward and helpful auto email response and answer machine message for the time you are away. Think about leaving it on for the first morning you return to the office. This can help stem the flow of outside enquiries and lower the expectation of a fast reply while you catch up with what has happened in your absence. Make an assessment of who will be emailing you and why so you can leave the right message on your auto response. Make sure your auto reply gives an estimate on when you will be able to respond to enquiries.
- The email purge
Most people would be horrified at the thought of deleting the unopened contents of their inbox, but for some the nuclear option is the best way to optimise their time to get back up to speed without spending a day playing catch up. If you don’t have a virtual PA to organise your inbox in your absence then you need to scan through your inbox and flag anything interesting before deleting the rest. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a fast way to get back up to speed!
With the right practices in place, it can be pretty straightforward to get back up to speed when you return, however the quickest, most efficient way is to hire someone to support you in your absence. This will ensure you don’t miss any last minute opportunities while away, but you still get the time away to reinvigorate you to take on and make the most of these future projects.