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The Green Sheet Online Edition

July 22, 2019 • Issue 19:07:02


Back to work after vacation

Like people in all walks of life, payment professionals typically take vacations at this time of year. Some fly to adventures in far-off lands; others drive to favorite spots close to home. All face the inevitable return to work when vacations end. Some returning workers dive back in with ease; others groan and drag their feet. If you're about to enjoy some much-deserved time off, here are steps you can take to transition back to work with relative ease.


Take steps before you depart to ensure you'll come back to a well-organized situation.

  • Clear your desk and office of clutter so you'll return to an orderly environment.
  • Make a list of your projects, with brief status notes, to help you get back up to speed.
  • Delegate tasks that cannot wait until your time off is over.
  • Don't set any important deadlines for the first few days after your return.
  • Set automated out-of-office messages for your email and voicemail accounts.
  • Set only one appointment for the day you return: a morning meeting with your closest colleague or manager to get briefed on key events that occurred while you were gone.

Take a buffer day

Some people arrive home from a trip, wake up to their alarm the next day and immediately snap back into their workday routines. It is wise to allow a day or two for you to settle back in at home before you head back to the office. Use the buffer time to unpack, do laundry, go shopping for groceries, or check in with family and friends – all without rushing. You can also catch up on sleep, especially if you are experiencing jet lag.

Move your body

Vacation experiences can boost a person's spirits; sometimes returning home can lower them. One way to counteract this if you feel your emotions dip is to do something physical. Lifting weights, swimming, dancing, walking, and doing yoga speed the release of endorphins, the hormones that trigger uplifting feelings.

Don't overdo it

When you arrive at your desk, don't dive right back in. Hopefully, one of the first things you'll do is meet with your colleague or manager and get an overview of major events and changes that occurred in your absence, if any. If you didn't set this up in advance, check in with the person most knowledgeable about your area of responsibility, and get filled in as soon as possible. This will affect how you approach the rest of your day. Next, take a little time to plan and prioritize your tasks.

Focusing on what is most important will also help you avoid getting lost in an email quagmire, which could easily eat half of your day. On day-one, respond only to messages that are time sensitive.

Remember to take breaks, too. Stretch. Take brisk walks outside. These are good times to share highlights from your vacation, whereas interrupting your work to talk about your time off would hinder your productivity.

Replace angst with gratitude

Transitioning from vacation to work can stir up feelings of loss, longing for additional time or a more affluent lifestyle, and other unpleasant feelings. One way to help drive negativity away is to fondly recall highlights from your vacation. Be grateful for having experienced such a fine time, and return to work with a smile in your heart, knowing vacations are icing on the cake to a rewarding life overall. end of article

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