Six Steps to Ease Back Into Work

Are you getting ready for some much-needed time away from work?  You’ve been working hard and whether you’re taking a vacation or extended sabbatical, you deserve it.


However you choose to spend your time away - whether embarking on heroic adventures or relaxing at home - the transition back to work will no doubt be an adjustment.  Your life will switch from the freedom of choosing how you spend your days to early morning alarms, demanding colleagues, and endless meetings, so it’s perfectly natural to feel a little unsettled as it draws closer.


But no need to stress! By applying the same impressive skills and qualities that have served you well in planning your vacation - scheduling, organizing, and preparing - you can get a jump start on your return.  You’ll be ready to quickly get back into the swing of things, leaving you to feel invigorated, renewed, and ready to take on the remainder of your year.


In the weeks leading up to your time away, you’ll likely not want to think about the inevitable return to work, but dedicating a little time to prepare for that return will go a long way. Learning how to best transition into work mode after taking time off can help alleviate the feelings of exhaustion, anxiousness, and stress commonly felt when worrying about the return.


Here are some tips that can help:

  1. In the weeks leading up to your break, make a note of your out of office dates in your email signature to give your contacts plenty of notice that you’ll be away for some time.
  2. During this time, reach out to those you work with regularly, let them know about key things they need to be aware of during the time you’re away. 
  3. Remember to set your out of office signature on your email, and record a voicemail message stating when you’re away and who to contact in your absence.  Doing this the morning of your last day in the office will give you time to work through any last-minute tasks without the expectation of returning messages or calls. 
  4. Be mindful when considering what needs to be done while you’re away. Assess each task, asking yourself whether it’s absolutely critical. If the answer is no, then let it go. This can reduce the number of things needing your attention when you come back.
  5. When possible, delegate as much as you can, and assign ownership to who will be responsible, what they need to do, how, and by when. 
  6. Switch off! If you’re going away, leave your laptop and work phone at home to avoid the temptation of checking; it’s highly unlikely that anything good will ever come from that sneaky peek!


With that out of the way, you can go into the break with nothing to think about but your vacation. As much as you might enjoy your job, now is not the time to think about it. This moment is all about you, so whether you’re staying home or heading away, have an amazing time!


When it’s time to return to work, and you’re feeling the benefits of your time away, the careful attention you gave to covering all bases before you left means your transition should be nice and smooth. In the days before your return, take a little time to quietly reflect on your recent achievements; consider this an internal pep talk. Take a step back and see yourself as your best friend...


  • What great things do you see in them?
  • What admirable qualities do they have? 
  • What challenges have they overcome?


Your natural modesty may get in the way of giving yourself a pat on the back, but this is an excellent way to see yourself in the same great light that others see you. Allow yourself time to enjoy and absorb the feelings that arise. Be confident and celebrate your strengths, perhaps sett a few mini goals or challenges to focus your mind. This can take you back to work and able to take on the what’s to come feeling self-assured, positive and full of optimism. 


So well done you!

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