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9 tips to help you return to work after taking time off

By Emilly Parris | 05 December 2019

There’s nothing quite like taking time off work to enjoy a much-needed break and relax with your friends and family. But when the time comes for you to go back to work, it can feel like the last thing you want to do.

Just thinking about your flooded inbox and the potentially important updates you’ve missed is enough to make anybody squirm. But the good news is, returning to work after a holiday away doesn’t have to be as momentous a challenge as you might expect.

SkillsTalk will go over some practical tips to help you readjust and get back into your work groove.

9 tips to help you transition back to work after time-off

  1. Try to go easy on yourself.
  2. Catch up with your boss or manager.
  3. Check in with your clients.
  4. Review your calendar.
  5. Sort through your emails and voicemails.
  6. Make a list of top priority tasks.
  7. Focus on one thing at a time.
  8. Interact with your colleagues.
  9. Don’t be afraid to ask for support. 

1. Try to go easy on yourself. 

Before you make it into the office, it’s easy to get into a state of thinking about all the unanswered emails or half-done projects that are awaiting your return—but try to take each minute at a time. Take the time to have a healthy, nutritious breakfast rather than fuelling on coffee alone, (coffee can actually make you feel even more anxious). Go at a slower pace if you need to and make sure to remind yourself it’s not going to be as bad as you imagine it to be.

2. Catch up with your boss or manager.

Before you log in and launch into your inbox, it’s a good idea to get up to speed with your manager to find out what’s happened in your absence. Your boss can cover the most important things for you to focus on, so that you can start prioritising and outlining your to-do list.

3. Check in with your clients.

communication concept

Just as you should catch up with your boss, it’s also a great idea to let your clients know you have come back from holidays. If you are managing any clients, make sure you let them know you are back and ready to help them with anything they may need. They will appreciate the open communication and most likely be grateful for your return.

4. Review your calendar.

After you meet with your boss and catch up with your clients, check your calendar to see what you have going on that week and what you may need to prepare over the next few days. This way, you’ll be on top of any meetings, deadlines and other reminders.

5. Sort through your emails and voicemails.

You may be tempted to start replying to every email or message that came through while you were away, but it’s going to be much easier to sort through your messages first and then take appropriate action.

Some emails or messages may not be relevant anymore or have already been dealt with and can be filed away, while others can be turned into tasks. Remember, your autoresponder should have done its job to filter out any non-urgent tasks. This is also a good reminder to switch off your autoresponder and redirect any calls back to your phone number if you haven’t done so already.

6. Make a list of top priority tasks.

to-do list office flatlay

By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what to get done as well as any due dates. Create your to-do list with this in mind and start working your way through it, with the help of your team if you need their support.

7. Focus on one thing at a time.

You may be tempted to take on a number of tasks in one day in order to catch up on everything, but this isn’t the best strategy to get things done. By focusing on one thing, you’re going to have a better chance at checking it off your list at the end of the day. Multitasking is an ineffective way of getting things done, so try to avoid taking on more than one thing at a time.

8. Interact with your colleagues.

All work and no play can make your return to work feel more of a struggle than it should be. It’s important to take the time to connect and chat with your colleagues, since they will most likely want to hear about what you got up to on your holiday. This is a chance for you to relive your holiday, which can make your workday even just a little more pleasant.

9. Don’t be afraid to ask for support.

You don’t have to tackle every task and every project on your first week back. You can transition slowly by taking on only the most important duties first. If you have a positive team environment, you can always lean on them for support while you get back into your routine.

Are you ready to upskill?

Upskilled offers a range of flexible online courses to help you upgrade your skills or transition into a new career. If you’re thinking about updating your skills, you can browse their extensive list of courses or speak to an Upskilled education consultant to learn more. 
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