September is here and those lazy summer days relaxing on the beach will soon be a distant memory. Even if you are feeling renewed and reinvigorated after extended time off, going back to work and resuming control of demanding projects can be a daunting prospect. The dread of tackling your email inbox is overwhelming and there is a real risk of getting swamped catching up on admin and falling behind on project tasks from the get go. But don’t despair just yet - a little organisation and careful planning can significantly ease the transition from sun lounger to office chair.
Here are our top tips for avoiding the post-holiday project blues.
1. Ensure any holiday cover remains in place for two days after your return. If you have set an out of office message, leave it for this transition period so that you are not distracted or inundated with a sudden wave of queries. This will give you time to get up to speed on admin and project developments without impacting on the progress of your project.
2. Book in sufficient time for a handover meeting. Put this in the diary so that everyone knows and it is time that cannot be interrupted. Make sure you have enough time to be properly apprised of all project developments and have received all the information you will need to take back control seamlessly.
3. Check in with internal and external stakeholders. Make sure everyone knows you’re back and is aware of exactly when you will be resuming management of the project.
4. Block out time in your diary to tackle your emails. Don’t plough through them chronologically – sort and prioritise. Be brutal! You will be able to delete a lot that are no longer relevant.
5. Focus on one task at a time and take it slowly. When you are ‘catching up’ the temptation is to multitask and race through jobs. Don’t plan project meetings for your first day back. Switch off your mobile and log out of social media platforms and other non-essential computer programs to minimise distractions. Prioritise and deal with one task at a time – you will be much more productive and much less stressed.
6. Make time for lunch! Going from the long lunches of the summer holidays straight back into a working lunch is a recipe for misery – and indigestion! Make sure for your first days back, you take proper lunch breaks and leave on time. Be kind to yourself and ease yourself gradually back into the rigours of the working day. Don’t undo the benefits of your holiday!
Good luck for a calm and successful transition back to work.
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