Business April 1st, 2019

Vacation Over? How To Re-Energize Your Return To The Office

There’s nothing quite as exciting as planning some much-needed time away from work.

Hitting the road for a cross-country trip, flying across the world, or even enjoying a staycation disrupts the monotony of routine and revitalizes how we look at life. However, returning to work after a refreshing break can bring its challenges.

And because transitions are often difficult, let’s look at a few ways you can take your newfound energy and carry it through your first day, and week, back.

1. Work in some buffer time

Don’t spend your final vacation hours unpacking and scrambling to prepare for the morning. Whenever possible, get home a little sooner so you can transition calmly. Schedule in some time to sit and reflect on your time away.

If you’ve been spending a good deal of time with family or a group of travel buddies, this is an opportunity to find silence before returning to the office. Find a slow task that allows you to come back to the moment. Have a cup of tea, spend time with a calming hobby, or even journal about any anxieties or anticipations about the week ahead. Checking in with yourself slows down the rush of the return to your routine.


2. Change up your routine

If you find yourself walking the same way to the office, going to the same coffee shop each afternoon, and eating the same lunch, throw some variety in the mix. Use this return to work as an excuse to break free from usual norms. A few simple changes reiterate that you’re in a new chapter, even if your day-to-day work stays the same.

3. Invite ease with preparation

On the day before your return to work, set your meal plan for the week and lay out your outfit for the next morning. Meal planning is a great way to stay on track with new eating, exercise and budgeting goals as well.

It’s common to feel mentally unfocused on your first morning back, especially if you have a long or complicated commute. While some factors are out of your control, organize what is in your hands. Jump into Monday with a sense of comfort.


4. Start fresh with your workspace

We all know that rearranging the furniture in a room can make a space feel new. The same applies to changing up your desk setup. Take an afternoon during your first week back to clear off your workspace, dust anything that needs dusting, and start from scratch. Consider buying a few new shelves or other items that will help you stay organized and balanced.

This renewal applies to your work computer as well. Clean files off your desktop, change up your home screen design or try out a new calendar system for keeping yourself on track. Programs like and Asana can ensure you and your team stay on task.

5. Bring your vacation energy back to work

Whether the rest of your office has also been away or you’re jumping back into a busy workplace, share your refreshed energy with those around you. Answer the typical questions about your trip with unexpected excitement and detail. Enthusiasm is contagious: yours may help others bounce into work mode more happily.

Physical items can also act as a reminder of your holiday frame of mind. Add a small memento, photograph or memorable quote from your trip to your workspace as a daily reminder of the importance of balance.


6. Slay the email monster

A full inbox can evoke stress in even the calmest of post-vacation moods. Set yourself up for email success by setting aside some catch-up time as soon as you come back into work. Place urgent emails into one folder, and those that can wait until the afternoon into another. This breaks up the initial flood of work and makes prioritizing more manageable. If possible, hold off any distractions until you get to the bottom of your unread email list.

7. Plan small getaways

By spacing out your travel, you’ll have more chances on the near horizon to reset. As you head back into your usual office schedule, take some time to research day trips in your area. Consider inexpensive overnights to explore small towns, attend a festival or visit friends and family you haven’t seen in some time. Months without big holidays, especially late spring and summer, can feel quiet and steady, so breaking up this time of year with small, unique trips can keep you from feeling stagnant.


8. Appreciate what you missed

They say that you cannot fully process how travel has changed you until you return home. Familiarity and comfort make the adventure of time away even more exciting; one can’t work without the other. At the end of your first week back to work, make a note of all the things you missed when you were away: familiar faces at the coffee shop, your work pals or a dependable routine with the tasks you enjoy. Focus on this gratitude to ease the transition back into a routine.

Get the most out of your time off! The purpose of vacation was to rest and reset, and it’s important to find ways to embrace this new energy and find ways to bring it back with you to the office. Taking the time to bring your holiday spirit back to work with you increases its impact on your well-being.

And who doesn’t want their vacation to last longer?


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