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Blog: How to beat the holiday blues and get back to business quickly

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7th Sep 2012
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With the traditional summer holiday period almost over, many of us are settling back into a working routine after a period of relaxation and recovery.  

A break from work commitments has provided many of us with the time and space to read, digest best practice and consider our aspirations, hopes and plans for our professional and personal lives.   It’s also given us a chance to disconnect and enjoy some quality time doing things we love. But September means focus for most businesses and a big drive for the remainder of the year so it’s important to get energised – and get others energised and motivated quickly.   For those who manage others, it’s critical to help people feel good about coming back to work and help them return with new energy and excitement. Capitalising upon the insights they’ve gained during their break is key too.  Holding a good quality developmental discussion quickly after returning from holiday can also help make a real difference to how employees feel about their organisation and ultimately help keep them focused and engaged in their role.   To give your team an extra kick-start after the summer break, trying following the three ‘R’s (and, if you’re an HR professional who doesn’t manage a team, encourage your managers in the business to adopt the approach – it’ll have a big impact):     1. Reflect  Firstly and most importantly, if you are going to help motivate others as a manager, it stands to reason that you need to be motivated yourself. Capture any reflections you made during your time-out. What books did you read that gave you new ideas? What authors inspired you to adopt a new tone in your communication? What commitments did you make to yourself about what development you want to undertake for your future? What creative ideas did you have about a project or approach?   If you manage others, lead by example and encourage your team to reflect on their own holiday experiences in the same way. What can you learn and share with each other? How can you support each other to help make their desired changes achievable?   When we return to a full inbox and pressure to deliver, it’s too easy to forget that quality time, inspiration and creativity that you gained while you were out of the office. So build in a few hours during the first week to reflect on what you did – and build your ‘things to do list’ to make sure you take those thoughts to reality.   2. Re-focus  During the holidays, team members are inevitably away from the workplace and the sense of unity can be broken.  Make a diary commitment to pull everyone together to re-clarify the strategy and focus for the next 6 months ahead.  Keep your strategy clear and compelling, with a strong story that ties everyone into what it means for them personally. Keep up the momentum with regular communication to ensure people remain focused and inspired, long after the post-holiday glow has faded. Be clear on the key priorities for the next month ahead.   3. Re-light  Even the most engaged employee can struggle to feel focused after a break from their working routine. Set yourself a short-term professional and personal goal that you will achieve in the next month and which, ideally, will also make you feel good.  For example, you might commit to making time for a coffee to welcome a new colleague properly. You might make sure you leave on time one night a week, minimum to get to that yoga class. Or at home, you might promise yourself that you will make an overdue phone call to someone you haven’t kept up with.    Talk about this commitment with your team and encourage them to do the same. It’s a proven fact that we remember unfinished tasks more clearly than completed ones so by achieving these small but significant goals, we gain a greater sense of being in control.Jane Sparrow is managing director of behavioural change consultancy, Northern Flight.

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