Picture the scene. You’ve just come back from annual leave. You’re staring at a desktop full of unanswered emails and you already don’t want to eat the boring packed lunch you’ve prepared.
While your body might be firmly planted back at your desk you mind is probably still focused on white sand beaches, fresh fruit, and BBQs. Oh, the memories.
Don’t worry, your first day back at the office doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom. Here’s what you can do to make it better.
Do some prep the night before
The last thing you want to think about when you get off a long flight is the office but preparing the night before can be a massive help. Ask your manager to send you a brief email outlining what stage each of your projects is at so you can get a rough idea of where things stand.
If you can, always try to take a buffer day between your holiday and your first day back at work. Having the chance to unpack and get organised will help you to face your first day back head on.
Go in with a game plan
You can’t expect to waltz into your office and simply pick up where you left off. You might be tempted to jump right into meetings and presentations but you need to factor in a few hours to catch up on the work you have missed.
Block off your morning calendar and spend a few hours reading emails and catching up on any developments. Your meetings can wait until the afternoon or later in the week. Give yourself the time to adjust and the transition will be much smoother.
Leave your out of office emails on
At least for the first few hours. When you arrive back at your desk you’re going to be swamped with emails and requests. An easy way to avoid this is to keep your automated responses turned on. This will give you a chance to get your bearings before you get stuck into work.
Don’t read your emails in chronological order
Instead of reading your emails by date, sort them by either subject or sender. This will allow you to actually figure out what has happened, not when it happened. Sometimes an issue could already have been resolved. Take the time to read all emails before replying. This will make it easier to delete emails that are no longer relevant.
Make a list
As you review your emails and messages you’ll be reminded of all the stuff you were working on before you went on holidays. Instead of just working on the first thing that you stumble across, make sure that you prioritise your workload. Ask yourself what needs to be completed by the end of today or what needs to be completed by next week. This will give you a clear idea of areas that deserve your attention.
Plan something nice
Let’s face it, the first day back at the office isn’t always a joyous experience. You’ll probably be very busy and maybe even a little bit stressed. It’s important that you do things that you enjoy during your first week back. Arrange to meet a colleague for lunch, get a coffee in your favourite café or plan a dinner with some friends. Anything that will make the transition a little bit easier.