Taking time off this summer gives you an opportunity to relax and refresh yourself from the daily office grind. But returning to work can come with a blizzard of meetings, requests, endless emails and long to-do lists.
But if you’ve managed to escape for a long weekend, a week, or even a bigger summertime stretch, how can you be your best when you return to work?
1. Vacation management
“If you can totally turn off while you’re away, that’s awesome,” says Vanderkam. “If you can’t manage your workload while you’re away, keep it under control.”
Get up an hour earlier, three times a week, and process what’s in your inbox. But rather than take on the email replies, delegate the most pressing matters to employees who are still on the clock at work. Check back in — both with them, and your inbox — 48 hours later. “That way, you can ensure nothing is going wrong, so you can enjoy your time away,” says Vanderkam.
If you’re in a smaller office where you can’t delegate as much, stick to the one-hour rule. This lets see what’s happening at a certain time in a limited way, so you’re not checking your phone intermittently all day long.
2. Plan a buffer day
No one wants to cut a vacation short, but returning from your time away on a Saturday, rather than a Sunday, gives you a day to digest your email ... or perhaps do your laundry.
“One of the most depressing things is coming in Monday morning and having 1,000 emails,” says Vanderkam. If you return a day early, it can help you segue back into work mode on a part-time basis. “You don’t have to spend your whole Sunday doing it,” she notes. But it can help you skim over a 10-email chain when what really matters is the final outcome.
Besides, most email “is really just noise,” says Vanderkam. “In any given week, there are really only 10 things you needed to know about."
3. Implement bigger picture items — and offload others
Going on vacation can give you time to think about grander business issues than just the day-to-day, such as where the business is going and where you want it to go, she said. If you've delegated certain tasks to more junior employees and they've executed well, consider whether that task can be folded into that person's responsibilities.
“Vacation is a good time to learn what you don’t absolutely have to do,” says Vanderkam. “When you try offloading a task, it’s a way of testing people with new responsibilities that can be added to their workload later on,” she says. In doing so, it might just free up your own schedule so that you can later put into place the bigger picture plans you thought about while on vacation.
About the Author
Cheryl Alkon is a freelance writer and has written for publications including USA Today, The New York Times, Prevention.com, More, Women’s Day, ENT Today, and Oncology Business Management. Find her at cherylalkon.com.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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