You’re tan and relaxed, and your mind is a million miles from work. The problem is, you ARE at work. You’ve just returned from an amazing vacation where you did everything except think about the office.
Changing mindsets is a difficult task. This is why it is essential to give yourself every possible opportunity to ease back gracefully. Here are a few tips how…
BE ORGANIZED BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Set your ‘out of office’ reminders well in advance. Forgetting to take this step could result in a larger number of e-mail/calls to respond to when you return.
Empty out your inbox by archiving all older messages. This will help you feel less overwhelmed when the vacation ends and keep your mailbox from exceeding the size limit, since most companies have a low threshold.
Give your desk and general office space a quick clean. There’s nothing like returning to a lemony-fresh workspace.
ARRIVE EARLY UPON RETURN
Efficient workers know that it’s easier to get things done when there are few distractions. Getting to the office before your colleagues will help you bring yourself up to speed on all of those little nagging things that need to get done. You will certainly need your co-workers to verbally catch you up on certain issues, however, arriving early will allow you to tie up loose ends and get rid off all of those second-tier inquiries.
DEDICATE CATCH-UP TIME
Since you’re not going to arrive at the office at 4am on your first day back, it’s important to send out a message to your colleagues that they need to BACK OFF. Of course, you’ve gotta say it in a politically-correct way.
There are three ways to accomplish this:
– Set your phone/e-mail alerts to state that you are back in the office but unavailable until X time.
– Send an e-mail to your colleagues that you are swamped, and in order to catch up, you’d appreciate some time.
“Hey guys, I’m back from sunny Mexico. As you can imagine, I’ve returned to a full inbox of messages. If I’m quiet for the first few hours, I’m sorry! Just playing catch up…”
Hopefully they’ll get the hint! 😉
– Pre-empt contact. Basically, your goal is to see as many people as possible early on. They can ask about your trip, you can be brought up to speed, and you can set up meetings for later in the day. This way, you’re controlling the interruption.
POSITIVE VISUALIZATION OF THE TRIP
Vacations are great because they provide the excitement of anticipation at the front end, and a barrage of lifelong memories at the back. When you find yourself back in the daily grind, take a moment to bring yourself back to that vacation spot where you felt at ease. Placing a picture on your monitor or desk can help bring back a flood of good memories. If you don’t have any visual cues, rely on the power of your mind. Take a deep breath…
PLAN YOUR NEXT TRIP
It’s pure escapism, but if you’re finding it difficult to be back in the corporate saddle, you might want to consider booking another trip! I always thought it would be wise for cruise ships and resorts to offer vacationers a discounted trip at the end of their vacation. Think about it. Every time you visit a place, one of the first conversations you have is how you’re planning to go back. Often, it never comes to fruition. That’s why these travel companies would be wise to lock you up while they’ve got you. But I digress…
PREPARE YOUR CANNED STATEMENT
I’m a big believer in maintaining a work/life balance as far as how much personal information you share at work. It might sound clinical, but a divide is essential if you’re planning a trip up the corporate ladder. Before you return to work, figure out what details you want to share about your trip and with whom. It’s your call how involved you want to get. Telling your boss about that wacky flipper-at-the-poolside-bar story might not translate. Tread lightly.
Returning to work is never easy. I find personally, that I must work on my mindset in advance in order to soften the blow. How do you cope?
“Back to life, back to reality” – Soul II Soul, #1 hit in 1989