Without a considered approach, the first week back at work after the Christmas break can be overwhelming. Here are some ways to help your transition back into work mode be as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Start with the smallest task possible — you’ll feel better getting something completed quickly
Block distractions for the first hour while you get up to speed and reassess priorities
Keep your out-of-office message on as you deal with your most important messages
Build momentum by prioritizing tasks and getting an early win – this will help to create a snowball effect of completing tasks.
Give yourself a break when you need it.
Balance the pressure of returning to work by talking to co-workers.
There is a definite novelty attached to the first week of the new year. We’re feeling refreshed and recharged after the break and are enthusiastic to bounce back into work. As we settle back into routine, the novelty soon wears out. This year, I’ve committed to having a productive year, not just a productive first week. Here’s my advice on how…
Set a steady pace — It is a marathon not a sprint
Setting unrealistic expectations and expecting the same level of output post-Christmas will lead to a burn out/slump and a hard February riddled with a drop in productivity.
Have a 1:1 with your manager/employees
After you’ve taken care of your inbox and got on top of your work priorities. book a 1:1 with your manager. This will help you get clarity around your to-do list and validate how you have prioritised it. It might also uncover a couple of tasks you’d forgotten about. Setting objectives for January and the wider quarter creates a manageable workload. My manager at Aspect Personnel always pushes for SMARTgoals - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. This allows us to review them regularly and iron out any creases. Having a measurable goal really allows us work out the effectiveness of the objective and how well it has been achieved.
Identify development opportunities
Having some time off can allow you to evaluate the direction of your career and what skills you want to improve upon or develop further. During your 1:1, highlight any training you’d like and feel would be productive. If group training is an option – this can be a great way to start January and create a collaboration across your team or division. Set yourself a professional development plan with you manager and have several training and development goals set for the year.
Utilise flexible working where possible
A lot of us have got used to working from home during the last 18-months, some of us have even found that we are more productive by themselves with less distractions. Don’t forget to take advantage of flexible working to help ease yourself back into the routine and complete any large chunks of work.
Plan something fun
During December you will have been involved in Christmas parties, in person and virtual, and other celebrations and festivities. January can be a long month with very little on the social calendar. Make sure that you book something in with your team or department. Creating something to look forward to and catch up with teammates takes the edge off what can otherwise be a full-on month.