We have all seen the toll those big company lunches, piles of goodies in the break room, late nights with friends and personal life overload has on employees over the holidays. To compensate many times we see reduced work days, employees cashing out overdue vacation, and taking banked days in lieu; without a doubt productivity lowers and everything seems to wind down into slow motion- many offices are running on a skeleton crew and it seems like everyone is taking part in the Christmas cheers (asides from Finance who is preparing for the impending doom of year end wrap up)…
So how can we prepare ourselves for the rapid ramp up that the New Year brings? Try these few things:
1) Before leaving for vacation leave yourself a ‘welcome back’ note reminding your refreshed (recently un-hibernated) self of key tasks coming down the pipe.
2) Tidy up your workspace. It’s always nice to come back to a clean desk that is well organized than a stack of papers and chicken scratch memos you have long forgotten about and can no longer decipher.
3) Add an extra day to you out of office. This is a sneaky one that allows you pre-manage expectations on you to reply to emails allowing you an extra day to read, flag and prioritize your emails.
4) Schedule a meeting with your team before you break for the holidays to ensure everyone is on the same page for the New Year. Nothing is worse that having a plan in place that becomes bottlenecked due to a lack of resources.
5) Set yourself outlook reminders. Do your 2013 version of yourself a favour and schedule your first week back now while everything is weighing on your mind. This reduces stress now, and helps bring back the flow then.
6) Wake up early and hit the gym. A great way to work back into our early morning routines (and now tight dress pants) is to stay active over the holidays and not stay too much away from our normal sleep patterns.
These tips are ones that have been shared with me, and ones that I put in to practice anytime I step away from work for more than 3 days; it allows me to feel at ease when away from the office but also helps me ramp back up when I return and leaves me feeling prepared and not blindsided.
Happy Holidays and New Year to everyone!