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Returning to Work After a Holiday Break

July 5, 2016

By: Chelsea Haley, DKI Ventures, LLC

Your vacation has come and gone, yet it may be difficult to let it go… The thought of your toes in the sand, watching fireworks shooting off over the calm, clear waters. Looking back on the weekend barbeque, enjoying good food and fun with family and friends. Whatever it may be, your mind may still be in vacation-mode, which could risk you jeopardizing your performance and safety at work. Here are some tips to get back to a business and safety mindset.

Allow time for the transition.

Arrive to work a few minutes early so you can chat with co-workers about your vacation, make a much-needed cup of coffee, and just acclimate yourself to the office environment. Take the time to properly set up your space so everything is easily accessible when it comes to buckling down and getting to work. If you rush back to where you left off before your break, you can easily become distracted, which may result in poor performance or not paying attention to safety hazards.

Review your calendar for the week.

It’s easy to forget a meeting when you’ve been out of the office for a period of time. Make sure to look over your schedule for that day and even a few days out. No one wants to throw together a presentation on a whim, just moments before the meeting.

In addition, it may be prudent to not overbook yourself on your first day back. Consider rescheduling new meetings to a future date to allow yourself time to check your mailboxes and meet any deadlines you may have.

Turn off your out of office message.

This one is sometimes overlooked as you jump right back into work, and forget that not everyone is aware you are, indeed, back. Most of these messages can be automatically configured to turn off through email once you return, but don’t forget to change your voicemail message.

Prioritize your tasks.

Again, you may not have a clear idea of everything that needs to be completed, but as you check your calendar and incoming messages, jot down these items. Then, review your list and prioritize your tasks. Don’t attempt to do everything at once, especially since your focus may not fully be in-tuned to work yet. Focus on the most important tasks first, completing one thing at a time. Realize that not everything will be completed in one work day – accept this – and be willing to leave some items for the following day.

Cut yourself a break.

Returning to work after a vacation takes time to transition. You may not be as speedy as you were before your trip. But, don’t push yourself. If you try to just “power through,” more mistakes may be made. Take breaks as you need. Again, not everything will be accomplished the first day back, especially if you’re trying to tackle a couple days’ or weeks’ worth of work.

It can be all too easy to put in extra hours, but take your breaks, make sure to eat lunch, and leave on time. If you tend to get caught up in projects, losing track of time, consider setting yourself reminders to take lunch and to wrap up for the end of the day.