Nothing dispels that rosy, post-vacation glow faster than returning to a mountain of unfinished paperwork on your desk, a barrage of messages in your voice mail and dozens of missives in your e-mail inbox. The state of relaxation you achieved can disappear when your first day back at the office is essentially a frantic game of catch-up.
Your return to the work world does not have to be so stressful, however. Personal and professional balance is possible. Following are some tips to make the transition back to your normal routine as smooth as possible.
Tips for returning from vacation
• Allow for readjustment. If possible, avoid returning from vacation the night before you are due back at work. Instead, come back a day or two early. Use the “buffer” time to check and respond to accumulated voicemail and email messages from home. Call coworkers and ask them for any important updates. When you actually set foot back in the office, you’ll already know what to expect.
• Re-orient slowly. Unless there is an urgent phone call to make or meeting to attend, spend the first hour at work refreshing your memory about assignments, deadlines and deliverables. Meet with your team members to catch up on matters you might have missed while you were away. Getting back up to speed systematically will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
• Create a prioritized to-do list. Rather than tackling all outstanding items at once, prioritize your tasks and focus on the most critical ones first. For example, you would want to finish the notes for a presentation your manager will give at the end of the week before starting to plan a company picnic scheduled three months from now.
• Take a midday “mini-vacation.” During the first few days back on the job, treat yourself to lunch with a coworker or a brisk noontime walk. Such breaks will refresh you. You’ll return to your desk ready to handle your regular workload as well as any crises or emergencies that might arise.
Robert Half International was founded in 1948 and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Its financial staffing divisions include Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources, for temporary, full-time and senior-level project professionals, respectively. The company has more than 350 staffing locations throughout North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, and offers online job search services on its divisional websites, all of which can be accessed at www.rhi.com.