Returning to work after a vacation can be, well, depressing. Your once-clean desk may now be cluttered with memos, your email box is likely full, and your mind is a million miles away. Instead of feeling sad about being back, try these practical strategies for a smooth “re-entry.”
The day before you’re back, check email from home to get an overview of what’s happened. If you’re up for it, delete out-of-date messages. You might also contact a coworker to learn what you’ve missed. That way there should be few surprises awaiting you.
Decide to return to work with a “can-do,” high-energy attitude. Remember that you like your job—and you like it even better now that you’ve had a refreshing break.
Start back on a Tuesday. You’ll avoid the “Monday morning blues” and have a short work week to look forward to.
Get in early your first day so you can sort through mail, written messages, and e-mail you didn’t deal with the day before. This will help you slip into a “work” mindset before others arrive.
Cancel your email autoresponder and record over your voicemail away message.
Review your calendar to see where the red flags are—upcoming meetings, urgent project deadlines, etc. Figure out what must be tackled immediately and what can wait.
Pad in extra time to projects wherever possible—that is, give yourself room to under promise and over deliver.
Touch base with everyone who covered for you, and sit down with the boss to chat about your time away and to let him or her know where everything stands.
Don’t work late your first day back. You want to avoid the burnout you may have experienced before you left.
Share vacation stories with co-workers, put vacation pictures on your wall, and place a souvenir on your desk to remind you of the good time you had.
Plan some “fun” time—lunch with friends or co-workers, a movie, even planning a future vacation, so you have something to look forward to.