Sunny beach, cocktail with a straw and … your urgent work tasks. This trio coexists peacefully only on stock photography. Right before the holidays hit, we want to share a piece of advice from our psychologists and colleagues: how to accomplish a smooth exit and reentry on work after a long vacation. No stress and grumbling.

Before you leave

Make a list

This will help you prioritize. There will definitely be three “somethings” in this list:

  • something to be done after the return;
  • something that to delegate;
  • something to fulfill before you go.

Start working on the last two points in advance. That’s your only chance to spend the day before the flight collecting swimsuits and inflatable flamingos, rather than panicking in front of the computer.

Anna Dobrovolskaya, Digital Marketing Manager at Beetroot, says: “Delegating my work was a big challenge for me. I thought no one would deal with it as good as I did. So going on a vacation was the same as being reckless.” However, there is always somebody who can help you out. Just maybe you need to delegate different tasks on different teammates?

Notify your team

“I’m gonna spend next week vacationing!” Saying that on a coffee break is not how you should announce your impending absence to your colleagues. Include your vacation in the team’s calendar at least a month ahead, and then set a reminder for team members a week before you leave. Most likely, your message will be completely forgotten and someone will be caught by surprise with your absence in the office. Therefore, remind them of it as often as possible.

Find vacation and work balance

Set your devices to “stunned”, or at least “out of office” mode

Another way to remind somebody you are on vacation is to create an automatic reply to messaging and voicemail. Mention the date when you will be available again. On addition to that, let your colleagues know who they can turn to while you’re offline or how they can reach you. Just in case of emergency.

Medical psychologist and Full-Stack HR consultant for Beetroot Volodymyr Vovk recommends to take a small neat notebook with you and write down some bright ideas about work improvement. “We believe”, he says, “that when we do not force our brain to work, and it can regulate mental activity, and the chance to come up with really good ideas or finding brilliant insights grows significantly.” So don’t push yourself to rest if your brain wants to work.

Put gadgets aside

To reboot your mind and body, you need to take a vacation without gadgets. Well, or at least stop scrolling the newsfeed and turn off the Internet: “I spent 10 days without a laptop, and even a smartphone!” Anna says. “Already on the third day, I even stopped thinking how things are going at work. I rewarded myself with some time off and enjoyed having a vacation with my family. Of course, after returning, some tasks were red-hot, but nothing I couldn’t solve really.”

“To make a vacation without gadgets work, everyone in the office needs to be prepared not having you online.” says Volodymyr Vovk. “Warning your colleagues also will help you realize the decision to be totally disconnected and get rid of feeling guilty for leaving your colleagues. Even for a short time.”

After the vacation

Have a buffer day

It’s clear why you want to lengthen the vacation for a day or two. But having an extra day at home before coming back to office will give you the space to get back to normal with minimal pressure.

Anna Dobrovolskaya decided that her first working day after vacation would be Friday: “It allows you to deal with all incoming messages, find out about updates on the project and make a plan for the next week that will begin without stress and panic.”

Come to the office a bit earlier

Try to go to bed early and come to the office an hour before you usually do. Think about it: no heavy traffic, some free time to clean the workplace, relax, drink your morning coffee and set a plan for your first working day. Sure, you still can be blue for no longer being at Sri Lanka. But some extra time will help you find a positive vibe and prepare yourself to work.

vacation and work balance

Do not overload yourself right away

The best option is to have no important meetings on the first day. Volodymyr Vovk advises to ask colleagues that helped you out during the vacation for updates. Please, do not try to manage everything that you missed in a last week or two. If the Apocalypse did happen while you were unavailable, calm down and determine actually urgent tasks. Often some business needs are not as important as they pretend to be.

Discover time management techniques

It is unlikely you will be 100% productive in the first 2-3 days after your vacation. Take it easy: you need a little more time to deal with the post-holiday blues and maintain your work life balance.

You can try the POMODORO technique or set the usual timer for 20-30 minutes: this is the amount of time you continuously work on solving one task. No chats, no other tasks or coffee breaks. Concentrate only for 20 minutes. Then take a 10-minute break and start again your 20 minutes of productivity.

A few sessions like this will help you focus and set the pace for your first day at work.

If even after all we’ve told you the only thing you can do at work is check whether it’s time to go home, do not map yourself. Let the body still have a little rest for one more day or so. But if this apathetically inactive mood drags on, read this article: “How to beat procrastination?“. We know how to deal with laziness, apathy and fatigue at work! 🙂