Planning to go back to work? 5 things you should do before you do

If there’s one thing less productive than the office commute, it’s the prospect of going back. After just over three weeks of tailoring your career to fit the rest of your life, the sudden return to the grind of real-life office duties leaves you feel like a pauper.

Work helps you relax, take risks and reconnect with why you do what you do. Otherwise, a return to the grind of real-life office duties leaves you feel like a pauper. A little planning can make this return to work less crushing.

Why you should take the time to plan your return

Although people might think going back to the office after a two-week break is simple, it really isn’t. In fact, it’s totally essential to take some time to plan your return so that you’re better prepared for the inevitable mix of emotions that will flood your office.

This planning helps you to relax and get back into the work rhythm of your normal life. Research from the University of Eastern Finland suggests that planning your return can be highly beneficial for your sanity. After over one week of planning, study participants had a decrease in anxiety and simply felt better about their job.

Preparing ahead of time can help to set up what your office will look like when you return, make it feel a little more familiar, and decrease the shock of getting back to work.

What bosses really think about returning to the office

Aside from making sure everyone returns to the office on time, bosses are also likely to notice that their employees are in more of a comfortable space than they usually are when they are on leave.

They won’t have to worry about their employees ‘slipping’ back into work and wanting to stay on duty all day; in fact, some may even choose to let them do that. Companies spend thousands of dollars on staff training to ensure that their staff have all the skills necessary to do their jobs at full capacity.

Bosses often tell me that it’s surprisingly easy to coax people back to the office, even after they’ve taken long-term time off to recuperate.

Some workplaces actually provide free trainers who will not only tell you to get back to work as soon as possible, but also give you a step-by-step guide on how to go about it without falling into a sudden panic about return to work.

But on the flip side, if you’re going to take long-term leave, if you’re going to have to return to work at all, you have to be completely rational and realistic about it.

So what are bosses really thinking when they respond to an employee returning to work? If we take a look back through the history of office culture over the last century, we’ll see that bosses have always had a few qualms about returning.

Earlier times may not have had guaranteed on-time arrivals, and bosses may have had to make hard decisions around whether to let people return to work or not. If these are still the issues that are haunting us today, bosses will often emphasise their frustration in response to employees’ return to work after a two-week break.

Has your boss thrown you a hand signal about your return?

A daily review of your employees’ return to work helps to smooth back into the office after a long break.

Let’s say you’re an agency director. On the day you return, you arrive at work with a bag full of headphones, because you don’t know how you’ll feel about your employees being back on duty just yet.

The next day you receive a response from your employee who has generously agreed to be your social media editor. Her email reads: “I’m returning to the office. I know you’ve had your time off. I look forward to welcoming you back.” The office counsellor welcomes her return to work in good spirits.

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