Transitioning back to work after an extended leave isn’t always as straightforward and easy as you’d hope. If you’re concerned about how to get back into the swing of things, you’re not alone. To help you out, here are some tips to help you get back into work mode, so you can bounce back in no time.
Lots of workers and businessowners across the UK will have had much less, if anything, to do day-to-day recently due to the lockdown restrictions of the COVID-19 crisis. Whether you fall into this category, or are returning to work after an extended sickness or career sabbatical, it can be difficult to get back into the routine of the daily grind. So, we’ve provided some top tips of how to get back into work mode that should make your return to normality easier. And, hopefully, taking these on board might make you into an even more productive and efficient worker, franchisee or franchisor than you were before your leave.
1. Keep in touch
To make sure that you have a smooth transition back into the workplace it’s important to keep communicating with your colleagues and friends. Keep them in the loop of what you are up to and try to still support them when they need you.
2. Know what you want when you return
Think carefully about what you expect when you return and the steps you can take to make this happen. This could be doing some reading, making sure you’re up to date with any changes in the business or industry and thinking about your personal development.
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3. Remind yourself what you like about your job
If you’ve got used to spending your time exactly how you want, the thought of doing the nine-to-five could be quite disheartening. But be careful not to focus on the negative sides of your job. To get back into work mode, try to keep the positives at the front of your mind. Even people with dream jobs will have bad days and times where they have to do something they don’t want to – it’s just life. Whether it’s your friendly colleges, convenient office location or good bonus scheme, you could make a list and turn to it when you’re lacking motivation.
4. Anticipate being slow
It’s also inevitable that you won’t bounce back as strong as you were before the first morning back. When you’ve had a break from the hectic pace of working life, it’s hard to jump straight back in at a million miles an hour. Allow time to ease yourself back in and plan your schedule around a slower version of you. You might want to add time to deadlines just to be on the safe side, as you can always deliver it earlier than needed.
5. Get your priorities straight
Don’t give yourself a tough time if you can’t respond to thousands of emails on your first day back. Skim the subjects and prioritise the ones that are urgent and about important projects. It will take some time before you can completely pick up where you left off so don’t be too discouraged.
Still, make sure that you are confident with any immovable deadlines in the next month or so. Make your deliverables as visible as possible, perhaps stuck onto your laptop. If you’ve had months off and put your brain on standby mode, it’s possible that you’ll need a few extra reminders about things that previously felt like second nature.
6. Take on easier tasks
If you can, ease you way back in by committing to smaller tasks that don’t take as long. This might be returning phone calls or working on a draft for example. You’re still working and contributing to the business but while gradually getting used to the work environment.
“I regain focus after the holidays by thinking about my ‘why.’ Why am I here and what is the mission that I’m trying to accomplish? That always helps get my juices flowing when I think about the impact I’m going to make on individuals and around the world. Let’s do this!” - Chantelle Fitzgerald, leadership development/mindfulness trainer, Marlton, NJ
7. Give your workspace a fresh look
After your extended leave you might want to give your office space a revamp. Adding a personal touch could make it into a space you’d rather be spending time in.
8. Try to maintain a work/life balance
Your break might have sparked you to have some serious realisations about what you want out of your personal and work life. If one of these is a healthier work/life balance, try to make sure that this materialises when you’re back. If circumstances allow, you might want to start work earlier or end later, in a way that suits you. With lots of businessowners finding that remote working actually works very successfully, it’s quite possible that you’ll be able to make this a reality.
“I ease back into work by being kind to myself:
• I take breaks. I build in natural breaks throughout the day to manage my energy.
• I prioritize. I identify up to three goals for the day that, when accomplished, will make the day a win.
• I put ‘catch up days’ on my calendar. My first day back is call-free, and only about resetting and recentering. I don’t take meetings, calls, or work with clients on these days.”
—Amanda Gulino, founder and coach, Berkeley, CA
9. Reinvest your time in your colleagues
It’s time to spark some life back into your relationships with co-workers. If you are back in the office already, take the opportunity to grab a coffee or a bite to eat with them so you can re-connect. By making meaningful connections with your team, the office environment can actually enrich your life, and not be a place you want to avoid. If you’re still going to be remote working for some time, make sure you give you are active on group instant messaging platforms and don’t hesitate to pick up the phone for a catch up.
10. Avoid distractions that will hinder your productivity
While socialising with workmates is important for your overall happiness, you might want to distance yourself from chatty colleagues as you get to grips with working to a deadline. After having a quick catch up with your team and letting them know what you got up to during your extended leave, you might want to find a quiet space or put some headphones so you don’t keep getting distracted.
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11. Realise your worth
While you shouldn’t sell yourself short, try to keep an open mind about the mechanics of you getting back into work. Don’t feel like you need to accept a role that is beneath your capabilities as your route back in, especially if you used the time to hone your existing skills and learn new ones.
Get back into work mode with these tips
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you are slower when you first get back into work mode. By incorporating these strategies you should be able to jumpstart your normal routine of working in no time.
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©