You’re due to return to the office after a break, but can’t shake the sluggish feeling. Cheryl Leong speaks to experts on how to get into the swing of things again.

Get back your work mojo
8 steps to snapping out of that sluggishness at work. Image: Getty Images

 

Before you leave

1. HAND OVER YOUR DUTIES
“Make sure all your immediate tasks and e-mails have been covered by your colleagues in your absence,” says Michelle Lim, chief operating officer of Jobscentral, an online recruitment portal. While your co-workers may not be able to cover everything, it will at least help ease some of the strain for you.

2. PLAN A MID-WEEK RETURN
Plan your return to the office on a Tuesday or Wednesday, advises Melissa Norman, managing director of Kelly Services, Singapore and Malaysia. When you don’t have to face a full week in the office right after a relaxing holiday, it’s easier to ease into work mode.

 

During your leave

3. GET STARTED A FEW DAYS BEFORE
Catch up on your office e-mails a few days before you officially start work again. “This allows you to get a feel of the progress of any ongoing projects or expectations your boss may have for you. This makes it easier to dive back into work again,” says Anthony Ung, country manager of Jobstreet.com Singapore.

4. KEEP IN TOUCH
If you’re going to be away for a longer period, say, maternity leave, come into the office once in a while just to touch base with your colleagues, says Sara Varela, CEO and executive coach of No Limit Result, a coaching and training company. Staying abreast of changes at the workplace – management reshuffles or policy changes – means you will settle in more quickly when you’re back.

 

Your first day back

5. MAKE IT A SLOW START
Get into the office earlier to organise what you have to do for the day. Start slow – don’t jump right into multi-tasking to avoid undue stress.

6. GO IN WITH A STRATEGY
Anthony says: “Some people take on the first project they see on their desk; others prefer to finish the simple tasks first to give them the momentum to tackle the tougher ones later; and some work the opposite way.” Knowing what works for you will help you get through your backlog systematically, without leaving you overwhelmed.

7. SPEAK TO YOUR BOSS
If you’re returning from maternity leave, speak to your boss about possible new work arrangements, such as childcare leave, the flexibility of working from home occasionally, or even a change of duties.

8. RECONNECT WITH YOUR COLLEAGUES
Bring in your holiday snapshots to share with your co-workers, says Anthony. Besides helping you to settle in and reconnect with them, it makes coming to work more enjoyable when you start things off on a lighter note.

 

This article was originally published in Simply Her June 2012.