Between sitting out in the sun and sleeping in past noon, long weekends and holidays don’t leave much time to think about the office.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.
The first day back at work after a vacation can be tough. While you were away, the only paperwork you did was rifling through magazines and trashy novels. Now that you’re back, you’re faced with hundreds of emails, new projects and deadlines that are creeping up on you.
Many people return to work and try to go from zero-to-productive all at once, but Robert Half executive Christine Lucy says that trying to get caught up on everything right away is not the solution. For students and new hires, this can present a new challenge. Christine says, “like anything new, you find ways to deal with it with practice.”
Making up for time missed on a vacation is a delicate balancing act, says Christine. You want to get back into work-mode “without stressing yourself out and losing all the benefits of that vacation.”
So how do you get up to speed without getting winded?
Here are some tips for students and new grads who are trying to snap back to reality after a long weekend or vacation.
Whether you’re leaving for the Bahamas or simply taking a few days off to lounge around at home, planning ahead will ease your post-vacation work week. “Being planned and being prepared to return to work can make a big difference,” says Christine. Try to get major projects and anything that is time sensitive out of the way before you head out.
On that first day back in the office, Christine recommends an early start. That way, you’ll be able to get to work on projects that need urgent attention and start sorting through your overstuffed inbox – before co-workers start coming around to ask you about your vacation.
You’ve been gone for a few days, so don’t expect to get caught up in a single day. Trying to tackle everything all at once can leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed, so prioritize what really needs to get done right away.
For instance, rather than starting with your most recent emails and working your way down, sort through them and deal with the most important ones first. “In reality, not everything has to be done right now,” says Christine. By separating the things that can wait for a few days, it will relieve some of your first-day-back workload and stress.
Say “thank you”
While you were out gallivanting, someone was covering for your job. In order to make a smooth transition back to work, make sure you acknowledge and thank them for their assistance. A simple “thank you” will strengthen your work relationships and make people more likely to help you when it comes time for your next vacation.