Making a Smooth Transition From Vacation to Work

Written by chellie

July 23, 2020

Suitcase dressed for vacation with hat, suglasses and tie added for decoration.

You’ve spent the last few days with your toes in the sand, but now it’s back to reality. You can bring back the good feelings from your vacation by making a smooth transition back to work. Follow these suggestions before and after your vacation.

Steps to Take Before Leaving for Your Vacation:

  1. Coordinate coverage with a colleague. If you don’t have an assistant, offer to exchange vacation backup with an appropriate co-worker. You can use your email auto reply and outgoing voice mail message to refer any urgent communications to them in your absence.
  2. Write a status report and work plan. It’s natural to forget about the details at work while you’re enjoying your time away. Before you go, write a status report and work plan that you can refer to when you get back. It will help you refresh your mind and organize your approach to resuming your workload.
  3. Try to resolve as much unfinished business as possible. Complete all outstanding tasks before your departure. Let clients, vendors, and co-workers know you’re taking some time off and you would be happy to work on any projects they anticipate for that time period ahead of time. People will appreciate your efficiency, and you’ll help reduce the amount of work that piles up.
  4. Tidy up your office. Even if you’re scrambling to get out the door, take the time to make your desk and office neat. It’s much nicer to start back with a clean desk than with a lot of clutter.
  5. Plan your own welcome-back celebration. Give yourself something to look forward to by having pleasant things planned for your return. Schedule lunch or another get-together for the week that you get back. The first day back in the office is likely to be hectic, but you can still look forward to seeing friends for lunch or a drink later in the week. Treat yourself to something new. Leave behind a new plant so your workspace will look more inviting. You also might want to pick up a new box of tea to try on your first morning back.

Steps to Take After You Return from Vacation:

  1. Give yourself a buffer day. If possible, schedule a day to recuperate at home in between your vacation and workweek. This will give you time to unpack, resolve any household issues, and catch up on sleep.
  2. Stock up on healthy snacks. Even with good planning, you’ll probably be working hard to catch up. Ensure you have nutritious options around, instead of trying to fuel yourself from the vending machine.
  3. Thank your co-workers for covering for you. Let your co-workers know you appreciate their efforts to keep things running smoothly. Bringing in food from your vacation destination always makes a good impression. Pick up a small gift for colleagues who took on extra work for you to help maintain a mutually supportive environment.

With a little preparation, you can make it much easier to return from vacation. Use these suggestions to create a smooth transition for getting back to work.

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