Using your allocated annual leave is important, it prevents burnout, gives you a change of routine and allows you to build a better work-life balance. That said, getting back into the working routine after time off can be tough, whether you are off work for parental leave, sickness or a long holiday, here are our tips to make returning to work after time off easier.
1. Complete as many jobs as possible before you take time off.
Preparation is key and preparing for your return to work often starts before you’ve finished. This can be easier in some jobs than others but trying to complete as much work as possible before your leave can really benefit you upon your return. Tick off as many items as you can from your to-do list, and you won’t have to worry about doing them when you’re back. When you are back, you can focus on new things that have come up whilst you were away.
2. Plan a handover for the rest of your team.
A handover document is an overview of the work you’re currently doing. Before your annual leave, be sure to prepare a proper handover for the rest of your team. This will help them understand what they are expected to do while you are away, and you will know that your jobs are being covered while you’re on leave. It’s usually a good idea to send your handover around to the team a few days before you finish, so they have time to read it and come back with any questions they may have.
3. Set an out-of-office automatic email with details of who to contact while you are away.
Setting clear instructions is really important to ensure your colleagues know who to contact while you are away. Your out-of-office email should state your return date (if you know it) and who to contact in the meantime if it’s urgent. This will keep things moving while you are off and will prevent returning to lots of emails to answer.
4. Ask your manager to email you on the day of your return with a list of updates.
A concise list of things that have happened while you were off can help the first day back go a lot more smoothly. Not only will it save you from reading every email that you received during your time off, but it will also give you a top-level understanding of where the company is at now. It should help you understand your priorities and goals for your first few weeks back. It’s also a good idea to set up a meeting with your manager within the first week of your return.
5. Take it slow.
Whether you’ve been off for three days or three weeks, the first few days back will feel more tiring, stressful and overwhelming than before you left. Remember that there’s no pressure to get stuck in again on your first day back, spend the time getting properly re-acquainted with your job. Keep your manager informed if you’re feeling burnt out and be sure to ask for help if you need it.
6. Build a routine before your first day back.
That could be your evening skincare routine, ensuring you get a good night’s sleep, and picking your favourite outfit for your first day back. Feeling prepared the night before will help you sleep, and help the morning routine go more smoothly.
7. Make lists during your first few weeks.
It can be overwhelming during your first days back at work, prioritise your work and use lists to ensure the correct jobs are being worked on. Be sure to speak to your manager to double-check you’re not working on something that’s already been done. A simple list can make your workday feel more productive and will give you visual motivation for what needs to be done. Ticking off everything on your list will feel super satisfying too!
We hope these steps have helped you to develop a plan for making the return to work easier. If you’re still struggling with the return to work, read our tips on dealing with burnout at work. Remember that the Unitemps website has new jobs being added daily, so be sure to check out our current opportunities.
Last updated on 27 October 2023Share this article