Everyone loves vacations. No matter whether you’re a hardworking employee or a busy business owner, a change of scenery, a relaxed schedule that you are in charge of, plenty of sun, a fresh sea breeze, and delicious cuisine is something that anyone often finds themselves daydreaming about during a stressful, long workday.
So, now you’ve had that sunlit beach walk, a hike up Mount Kilimanjaro or a Santorini weekend. But the mere thought of getting back makes you dread the day and feel like you’ve never left. What might help resume your working routine smoothly and beat the post-vacation blues?
We gathered seven actionable tips to help you get back to work after vacation with as little stress as possible.
What are the benefits of taking vacation time for a business owner?
As a business owner, you have so much on your plate that it may seem like taking a vacation might be postponed in favor of growing your business. However, regularly taking vacation time can do your business a lot of good. Why do you need this escape from your working routine? If the mere fact that vacation’s great isn’t enough of a reason for you, let’s see what science tells us about the virtues of vacationing: from better productivity and the ability to manage a business more efficiently to improving your health and retaining a work-time balance.
Vacation improves productivity
According to multiple psychological studies, skipping vacations has a direct correlation with a level of burnout, dramatically affecting your well-being and the ability to work at your full capacity. At the same time, having regular breaks off work can improve your productivity and creativity and train your mindfulness, which impacts your success as a business owner.
Vacation plays in favor of your health
Medical studies show a correlation between stress from work and heart disease. One of the WHO studies particularly claims a 35% higher risk of stroke and a 17% higher risk of severe heart disease from working 55 hours a week or more compared to sticking with a 35-40-hour working week. That sounds like a huge health issue. At the same time, taking a vacation can dramatically decrease the level of stress and anxiety by placing a person in a different scenery and a calmer environment.
Vacation helps you see your business at new perspectives
Believe it or not, a vacation can give you unexpected insights, providing a new perspective on your business. Being away from the usual ways and relaxed is where your brain gains more power and opens to learn new things. Be it seeing new places, trying new food, meeting new people with different ways of thinking – going on vacation gets your mind prepared for new discoveries. Findings by neuroscientists prove that the best ideas come to our mind being in a completely relaxed state. At this point, you might come back to work with new ideas and visions of how to grow your business.
Vacation helps support your work life balance
As a business owner, you know how hard it can be to keep a healthy work-life balance striving to focus as much as possible on the business. At this point, vacation is a great time to put some life over work, do things you wanted to do but were postponing due to a busy schedule, or have quality time with your family or significant ones.
As you can see, there are so many positive sides of going on a vacation that you can’t ignore. It can help improve your health and state of mind, so you might return to work more creative and motivated and be more focused on what you do.
Things that make your back-to-work day frustrating
Being well aware of the benefits of vacations, let’s have a closer look at how we feel when coming back. And here, the reality drastically changes. According to the study by Passport Photo Online, a staggering 57% of employees considered quitting the job after returning from vacation. What’s more, 27% reported a lack of motivation, 21% admitted sadness, and 21% confessed to having wanderlust. That clearly shows that post-vacation blues is something to be taken seriously.
Moreover, many people start feeling frustrated at the idea of returning to a usual working routine the closer they are to the end of their vacations. For example, a Zapier / Harris Poll of knowledge workers found that 87% feel afraid to return to work after vacation, naming reestablishing a routine as one of the major fears.
Other frustrating factors named included:
- Dealing with unread emails;
- Being overwhelmed with the number of tasks;
- Not being in the current of what’s going on;
- Missing important information on the decisions made during their absence;
- Catching up with the projects, and more.
Being a business owner, you might want to add to this list the fear of the business going astray while you’re absent and not controlling things. However, to this fear, there’s a remedy.
How to ensure your business works without you during your vacation?
Let’s be frank, many of us had (at least once) that sudden wake-up during vacation at the thought that something might go wrong at work, which kept us nervous all the rest of the vacation time. True, true. Being preoccupied with possible bad scenarios might ruin your vacation and diminish all the good things about it.
At this point, getting ready for the time off might save you lots of nerves and help keep calm during your vacation. And for a business owner, it’s a step absolutely not to miss to ensure their business works as planned while they’re absent. Here’re some best practices you might want to consider to help you preserve your peace of mind and enjoy your vacation.
Have a quick overview of your business performance
A quick analysis of your business performance might help you see possible flaws that might cause issues. So you can either take some action to improve things before you go or plan for what to put your effort into first when you get back to work (if there’s nothing critical). If you haven’t yet used any business intelligence or business analytics software before (relying on Google Sheets or something of the kind), it might be the right time to use it to have accurate and fast results.
Delegate your tasks
While some responsibilities of yours may be put on hold till you return, there might be ongoing tasks that should be taken care of. So, before you leave, think about who could substitute for you in fulfilling these tasks. It can be one person who takes the whole responsibility, or you might want to divide it between several people (or several departments, depending on the size of your business and the workload). Whichever option you choose, you might want to make someone a second-in-command to cover for you while you’re absent so that your employees could report to them and turn to them in case of issues that might need immediate attention.
Plan for quick heads-ups
Even on vacation, you might feel anxious about how your business is doing without you, which can affect your peace of mind and won’t let you relax. Wishing to keep things under control makes sense for a business owner. To answer this need, you might want to pre-schedule a couple of calls with the responsible employees during your vacation for a heads-up. It will help you stay in the current of your business matters and cease the stress of anticipating something to go below your radar.
Prepare clear instructions for the case of emergency
When on vacation, we usually don’t like to be constantly bothered with work matters. However, as a business owner, you might want to be sure that if anything goes wrong, you know about it immediately. As people might have a different view of what an emergency is, it might be wise to prepare and give some clear instructions on what issues you consider urgent, so people know when they must contact you. You might also want to leave an emergency contact to the responsible person (like a private number you’re always accessible with).
Plan vacation for a quiet period
For any business, there can be hot seasons and comparably quiet periods when business slows down. When these periods occur might depend on the character of a business and the cultural and traditional peculiarities of the place where you run your business. If possible, consider planning your vacation for a quiet period for your business. This way, you won’t leave your team with loads of work to deal with and prevent spoiled vacations due to some unexpected issues.
How to get back to work after vacation: 7 actionable tips
So, you planned your vacation, provided for all the necessary things, and spent a wonderful time relaxing and recharging your batteries for productive work. Still, the day back at work might be overwhelming, and you might anticipate it with some fear. This is when you might want to consider the tips to help you make your back-to-work transit stressless.
1. Secure a buffer day
Starting work the next day after you return from your vacation can be hard due to many reasons, such as jet lag, late arrival and little sleep at night, etc. Moreover, it can be not easy to immediately switch from the vacation to working mode. So, previewing a buffer day (if your vacation time allows) between your return and starting to work can help you beat the stress. You might use this day to do the shopping for an upcoming week, planning meals, calmly unpacking, reading, meeting with friends, or having a good sleep before the day back. Whichever you choose, the general idea is not to hit the ground running. Give yourself and your brain some time to get to a working mood.
2. Start with something pleasant
Starting with some pleasant activity, something you like, might add good vibes to your day back at work. Think about whatever makes you happy: a cup of whole grain oatmeal with some organic walnuts and fresh fruit will do the job. Not a breakfast person? Get a head start with a meditation, quick run or pack in a morning gym session.
3. Plan your working meetings for the day back
As a business owner, you might want to dedicate your first day at work after a vacation to getting to know how your business is doing and the status of the important ongoing tasks. So, it might be wise to schedule meetings with your team or responsible employees to have a full account of where you’re now with a help of the top AI meeting assistant, whether there were any issues during your absence, and so on. It’ll help you outline the points that might require your immediate attention out of the scope of your upcoming work.
4. Catch up with your work on existing projects
Hopping into a new project right after getting back to work after a vacation might be less productive, as you might not be ready yet to work at your full capacity. Catching up with your existing projects might, on the contrary, help you get back to working rails much faster. Check the progress on them to understand what you might need to do to proceed, make sure everything goes as planned, and then you can dedicate yourself to something new.
5. Prioritize your tasks
You’ll have a lot of tasks ahead, so not to feel overwhelmed, consider prioritizing them. Decide on which requires your immediate attention and what can be done later and at a calmer pace. You might also want to start the next few days with the tasks you least enjoy. This will help you look forward to the ones that come next (more pleasant ones).
6. Split your day back into time blocks
Getting back to working at full capacity can be challenging, especially if you just returned from some carefree time at a pleasant place. Consider splitting your day into time blocks to make it easier for you to cope with the first day’s workload. Time blocking, in a nutshell, is a time management technique that helps you efficiently get through your priority tasks. The idea behind it is dividing your day into specific blocks of time, each dedicated to fulfilling a certain activity (like answering and writing emails, going through business analytics reports, planning a budget, you name it). Structuring your day might help you get into the flow and minimize distractions. Don’t forget to include several breaks into this structure (some say it’s ideal to have a 15-minute break after each hour of work, but you may as well come up with a schedule that’s more convenient to you).
7. Organize your working space
Have you ever noticed that having a clean and organized workspace motivates you to work and helps better focus on what you do? In its turn, if you feel stuck at some point, cleaning might work magic on inspiring you to work, especially if you have some mundane or tricky task looming ahead of you. It’s a kind of a clear space – clear mind situation. So, organizing your working space can serve you as a kick-start to a productive back-to-work day.
Getting back to work: final words
As you can see, while many business owners might often skip vacations to focus on a business, scientists are explicitly pro-going on vacation, claiming it to be beneficial at many points. Be it some personalized trip to the GOT filming venues, a yoga retreat in some exotic place, a family camping at the lakeside, or even a home staycation – whatever you do, be sure you’re doing yourself (and your business) so much good. If you prepare for your escape in advance and take clever steps at returning, your back to work after a vacation can go very smoothly for you.
What helps you beat post-vacation blues? Share your ideas in the comments below.