How to beat the back-to-work blues

As the autumn looms, there’s many a long face at workplaces up and down the country. Here are our top tips for digging yourself out of an end-of-holiday hole

By Tim Gibson

Urgh. It’s a drizzly morning in late August and you’re back at work after two weeks of bliss. Whether you’ve been holed up in a caravan in Dorset, secluded in a luxurious Mediterranean resort or pounding the trails in a National Park, the return to work is always a tricky-to-negotiate manoeuvre. No matter how much you love your job, nothing beats the freedom of holiday time, when you can do what you like, when you like, with nary a care in the world.

But for most of us, work is a necessary part of life. After all, how else would we afford the cost of our annual holidays? So now’s the moment to hunker down and get on with the job, secure in the knowledge that it’s only a few months until Christmas, and just 50 or so weeks until your next summer adventure. Hardly any time at all, really…

To help with the readjustment, here are our top tips for surviving the back-to-work blues. They may just make the coming days a little easier to bear.

1. Plan a treat, and make it soon

It could be lunch with a friend or a chocolate bar in the afternoon. Maybe it’s a fancy coffee on your way to the office, a posh dinner, or a weekend of fun. Whatever you do, be sure to have something that you can look forward to even as you’re pulling on your work clothes and preparing for the commute. It’ll make the return to work much less painful if you can focus on a reason – however small – to be cheerful.

2. Get cracking with a meaningful task

Most of us face a barrage of emails when we return to work after a fortnight’s holiday. And while you need to crack through your inbox triage with as much efficiency as possible, it can be a pretty thankless task. So here’s our advice: find something you can achieve early on in your first day back. Maybe there’s a crucial email you can send, a document you can prepare or a vital conversation to have with a colleague. Make that your priority, and you’ll get back into the swing of things before anyone can say, “Are you missing the sangria yet?”

3. Make a list

We know, it seems like a really boring thing to do when you get back from hols. But you may find that making a list of all the tasks that need clearing in your first days back helps focus your energies. Some people like to do this before they’ve even set foot in the office. It helps declutter their brain, giving them the best possible chance of harnessing their post-holiday energy and delivering great work upon their return.

4. Identify your next big project

As well as completing a worthwhile task in your first few hours back at work, it’s worth identifying the thing that will motivate you in the weeks and months ahead. It could be a big product launch or an exciting new project. Maybe it’s a new appraisal system for your staff, or even a redesign of the office environment. Whatever it is, it’ll give you something to think about, helping jolt your mind back into work mode while maintaining the sense of stimulation and inspiration that’s a hallmark of the best vacations.

5. Monitor your happiness

If you’re still in the glums after a few days back at work, it’s time for some honest soul-searching. Is this still the job for you, or is it time to move on? People often find that periods away from work motivate them to begin the search for something new. If that’s you, then now’s the time to get in touch with a recruitment consultant and explore your options. It could be that your next big professional adventure is just around the corner… and the excitement of applying for a new job will put any lingering post-holiday blues well and truly to bed. 

© 2017 Just Recruitment Group Ltd.

Posted on Thursday Aug 24