Happy New Year! 2019 is here and you’re back on the grind!
Though it may seem odd to acknowledge the New Year at this late date, we all know that the holidays seemed like they were just yesterday. It’s possible that many of your employees are still thinking about the good times they enjoyed during the break, and perhaps some are even contemplating their next getaway from the office. After all, why wouldn’t they? Regardless of whether employees are content and happy at work, holidays and vacations provide everyone with a well-deserved break from day-to-day responsibilities at the office and allow for relaxation and quality time with friends and family.
Despite some of the typical work re-assignments and job sharing that occurs when employees are away from the office, business owners in general can benefit from these breaks, as most employees return from their vacations and holidays well rested and with a renewed sense of purpose and enthusiasm for their work. In this sense, holidays and vacations are a definite win-win for all.
But returning to work can also be stressful and, for some, difficult to manage. What if there is not a renewed sense of purpose? What if the New Year hangover is, well, more lasting than first thought? What if you come back to clients that are extra needy first out of the gate?
Here are a few tried-and-true methods that business owners can implement to make re-entry as stress-free as possible:
While your employees can be enthusiastic and happy to return work, they will most certainly have to “play catch up” and determine what has transpired in their absence. (As the saying goes, miss a day and you’re catching up for a week!) Asking them to participate in an important meeting immediately upon their return to the office will be unnecessarily stressful, as they will not have had an opportunity to get the background information required to participate effectively. It is best to provide a day or two for everyone to reacclimate and even prepare for the first big meeting after they return.
There is nothing worse than being greeted by a huge pile of important work after returning from a vacation or holiday. Some employees, especially ones that routinely juggle a very busy schedule and heavy workload, may find themselves running out of the time necessary to complete their work before leaving for an extended break. Business owners can help mediate the potential overburden by ensuring that these employees have assistance before they take off and that their work is executed by someone else when they are gone. Remember this is all about documentation and cross-training before you need it!
As important as it is to clear things up before leaving, it is equally important to help employees when they return. An overwhelming workload from the get-go is not sustainable, and in some instances employees will temporarily require more support. Ensure there is adequate staffing at those times so that other, new work is not overlooked. It is safe to assume that the longer a person is out of the office, the more assistance they might need upon their return.
Having processes and procedures in place to prevent a catastrophic disruption of workflows after extended holidays and vacations is essential. Though the ball may have dropped on January 1st, you very well know there are other times of the calendar year when employees will be away from the office. The best time is now to implement a stress-free re-entry program.
For further discussion or comments, please contact Gail L. Trugman Nikol, President Unique Business Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (516) 935-5641.