Pain Free Working

8 Tips for Getting Back to Work After a Vacation

Returning to work after a great vacation is never easy. It can feel quite daunting, especially when you’ve spent several days waking up late, enjoying your free time, doing nothing, and putting work at the back of your mind. Transitioning from vacation mode back to work mode may not be something that you’re looking forward to but sooner or later, you’ll need to face the music.

You’re not alone in feeling the post-holiday syndrome. Jumping back to your regular work routine can be quite challenging and overwhelming after a period of rest but the post-holiday blues you may feel can be reduced by implementing a couple of things. Check out how you can do so in this article!

How To Survive Work After a Great Vacation

You may find yourself reluctantly sitting at work but your mind screams to stay at the beach or in the comforts of your bed. Instead of feeling stressed at being back to work, it’s a good idea to have a plan to avoid being overwhelmed when you return from your holidays. Here are some efficient ways to smoothly get back into your daily grind without worries.

Plan For Your Return

Surely, you’ve planned your vacation and your time away from work. Alongside planning your vacation, it’s also important to plan your return in advance. Instead of coming back home the day before you’re set to go to work, consider coming back a few days earlier. For example, instead of coming back on Sunday and going to work on Monday, come back on a Friday or Saturday instead. 

Doing so allows you to unpack, pick up a few essentials for home, organize, walk around, or re-adjust your sleeping hours. You’ll be able to help yourself ease into the process of getting back to your routine.

Block Your First Morning Back in the Office

Allot time for yourself the first morning you return to work. You may have the tendency to pick up all the meetings but doing so may impede moving forward and figuring out what you have to work on. Block your morning to have a general outlook of what has happened when you were away. Say no to meetings on your first day; instead, push them on the second day to give yourself some space. 

Building in some transition time and blocking off your morning (or even your day) will allow you to gauge the current situation and create your to-do list.

Triage Your To-Do List

Walking back into the office without any kind of plan will definitely have you feeling overwhelmed. You may have a backlog of tasks to do, emails to catch up on, projects to continue, and the like. Instead of working on everything all at once or working on the first item that you see, it’s vital to make a conscious effort in prioritizing your work. Organize your tasks based on how serious the task is, and then how urgent it is based on how long it will take you to do. 

Next, make it a point to focus and only work on one item at a time. You’ve only just come back from vacation, after all, it’s better to not stress yourself out. Achieving one goal at a time can give you a sense of accomplishment and you can reward yourself.

Keep Your Out-Of-Office Notice For One More Day

Another way to avoid feeling overwhelmed the moment you return to the office is to keep your out-of-office notice for an extra day. You can be available to your co-workers but it will help reduce the wave of inquiries or expectations of an immediate response or task, especially from external parties. 

Your out-of-office message for external parties can include directions on who to contact regarding matters. It’s also good to include that they might expect a response a little later than normal. It’s also alright to suggest to people to follow up because it’s possible that you might just not get to their email.

Briefly Review Your Calendar

Since you’ve been away from work for some time, you’ll probably need a little reminder on your upcoming meetings, tasks, due dates, projects, and such. Give your calendar a scan to get an idea of what’s in store for you for the rest of the week. This will allow you to prepare for the coming days and you won’t be scrambling around unprepared for a client meeting or a report due soon.

Take Breaks

You may feel like it’s taking you quite a while to finish a task or to catch up on things, or you may even feel like forgoing a break just to finish your tasks. Not taking a break is something that you shouldn’t do though. You might end up overworking your brain, making you stressed, fatigued, and even more overwhelmed. Give yourself and your brain the breathing space it needs by taking breaks. 

Get yourself away from your desk by having lunch outside with your co-workers. Food isn’t just fuel for the body, but it also energizes your brain too, helping you perform better. Hydrate and drink lots of water throughout the day to keep your energy levels up. You can also insert some short desk exercises to keep you feeling refreshed and to keep your blood circulating, especially around your legs and feet.

Catch-Up With Colleagues

Being on vacation for a while will definitely make you miss the familiar faces at work. Another excellent way to take breaks and disconnect from your tasks for a couple of moments is to reconnect with your colleagues. Catch up with each other about holidays, experiences, anecdotes, and the like to keep each other updated on what’s been going on, whether at work or outside of it if you share a close relationship with your co-workers. Having open communication between employees also gives a positive impact on the workplace. Conversing with your colleagues can certainly make the first week back at work more bearable.

Leave Work On Time

With the list of things you need to pick up after your vacation, you may be tempted to extend your working hours. However, doing so can lead to more stress and can put a dent in your productivity in the long run. Just because you took some time off doesn’t mean that you have to put in more hours at work. 

It’s important to eliminate any feeling of guilt for taking a vacation; after all, holidays are a vital part of a healthy work-life balance. Avoiding overworking yourself when coming back to work can help in keeping the positive energy you’ve accumulated during your vacation. Make it a point to leave the office on time. Set a timer or reminder if you have to.

Going on a holiday or a vacation is an important aspect of working life. No matter how much you may love your job, you still need a break from it once in a while. Vacations and holidays give you the quality time that you need to focus on yourself or spend more time with your family and re-charge from the stress of everyday life. It might be tough to switch from vacation mode to work mode but with these little tricks, you’ll be able to ease back into your work routine in a less-frantic manner. By the end of your first week back, you’ll surely find yourself back in the swing of things.

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.