Getting through your first day back after holiday

Where have you been on holiday this year? Have you noticed the ever so slightly more autumnal feel to the mornings just recently? Have you seen the ‘Back to School’ notices appearing in the shops of late, or, far more worryingly, the odd Christmas reference!

For many of us the coming weeks may present us with the most challenging of all days…the return to work after a holiday! We all know that holidays are great, they give you something to look forward to once they’re booked, provide an oft much needed deflection of focus (if only temporarily) and furnish us with fond memories and recharged batteries.

But, that first day back to work can be really hard to face. How many emails will be waiting in your in-box? Will work have been done in your absence, and if it has, has it been done correctly? So, just how do you go about dealing with that first day back at work and making sure you’re not overwhelmed by what greets you on your return? Here are a few tips –

  • Go in early – This might not be the most appealing of suggestions but it can be a good move. If you can sift through some of the general accumulation it will leave much of the rest of the day clear for other work.
  • Take an extra day off – Knowing that you’re only back for a four day week may be a much more bearable prospect.
  • Hit delete – When you first open up your email folder, go through and delete those messages that are either irrelevant or out of date. Immediately getting rid of maybe 20-30% of your emails in one go is a positive start. You could also create folders to help you to prioritise the ones you have to deal with first.
  • Keep the out of office on for a little while – Buy a little time by keeping the out-of-office on for a morning or day. The moment people realise you’re back at your desk, is the moment they’ll start hounding you again!
  • Recognise your decision points – Pick the piece of work that will be the most beneficial to you to complete. You might make this decision based on time, energy or importance. The idea behind this is that you take control of the day, rather than it taking control of you.
  • Ease your way back in – Try and ensure that you’re diary is clear for your return giving you time to settle back into your routine. You might want to start by compiling a to-do list, detailing realistic objectives to concentrate on within the first couple of days back.
  • Book more time off – Book your next break as soon as you get back, ensuring that you have something to focus on immediately.

The ideas above relate to things you can do on the day you return from holiday but what if you were to prepare more effectively before you go away?

  • Plan ahead – Make sure others are aware of things they can look after while you’re away. This helps everything to continue running smoothly in your absence and reduces your workload when you return.
  • Make people aware that you’re going away – If it’s possible to do so speak to clients before you go and make them aware when you’ll be away. It gives you an opportunity to deal with urgent issues before you go (or brief someone to do it for you), and may deter them from emailing you during your holiday period.

The whole point of a holiday is to relax and allow yourself some time to unwind. You certainly don’t want to have to work whilst you’re away and there’s no benefit in returning to work more stressed than when you left. If it suits your business, call recording and logging software can be a great tool. It means that vital calls and conversations can be recorded while you’re away and easily accessed again once you’re back. You can also make sure that productivity didn’t drop during your break and ensure that provisions are put in place ahead of your next break!

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