Getting Back To Work After A Vacation

Posted: August 8, 2017 10:00 am  

A Glassdoor survey taken earlier this year demonstrated that Americans only take 25% of their allotted paid vacation time, and well over half work while they're away. It's understandable--the tasks keep coming, the emails pour in, and the prospect of going away and letting it all build up only to engulf you upon return seems hardly worth it.

But even as smartphones and increasingly powerful WiFi keep us tethered to the office no matter how far away we may physically be, managers and their employees alike are realizing the importance of taking time to repair and recharge.

I did just that. Today is my first day back after a fun-filled and relaxing vacation at the beach. The family and some friends spent a glorious week in the sand and sun. I wasn’t so sure when we left last week, as our destination was without power and evaculated. They called it a “dry hurricane”. We were determined. We found an alternative beach and got on with the fun.

Now, I am back at my desk and realize that maybe there should have been a plan for today. Kathryn Dill of Forbe’s magazine shared some tips for getting back to work after a vacation. I think I should have read this before I left. Hope it helps you plan ahead.


Actively plan your return. Think about your return before you leave. Don’t come back the night before you return to work. Give yourself a little time to get home in order, unpack, grab a few groceries and maybe even read some emails.  

Factor in some triage. Build in transition time. Protect it like it is a meeting or presentation. Block it off on your calendar. Do not allow interruptions for the first day or at least the first morning.

Keep your out of office messages in place. This is your first line of defense. You are not officially back and available until you are ready to be. Turn them off when you are ready to interact internally and externally.

Feeling brave? Nuke your inbox. Take a quick glance through anything that has been flagged for you while you were gone and delete it all.

Delegate and trust your co-workers.  We all strive to be the go-to team member. However, realize that you are not totally indispensable. You can take a break and the company will continue to function. Let your co-workers handle things; you will be much more productive when you return.


Even if you experience some residual vacation hangover, remember that’s not necessarily a bad thing: it’s more likely to be a sign that you’ve done a really great job of unplugging from work. Don't feel flustered. With a little bit of prep and a lot of coffee, you can get back into the routine of things in no time.


Additional Resources