How to set your office up for a smooth transition back from a holiday vacation

By Amanda Gentry

It’s the start of the happiest times of the year, but some of the most stressful times of the year. In a recent study by the American Psychological Association, 78 percent of people in the US experience happy emotions when the holiday comes around. With those happy emotions, however, 68 percent of people feel fatigue and 61 percent of people feel stress during this time. Lack of time is one of the biggest contributors to this stress and fatigue, with extra commitments being piled on like year-end deadlines, planning for family dinners, packing for a visit to the in-laws, and extra travel time due to bad weather. It can feel impossible to carve out this extra time!

There are several tips and tricks that have been proven to help streamline the organizational process to prepare for a holiday vacation and free up precious time in your holiday sprinkled schedule.

  1. Get caught up as best you can before you walk out the door.

The week leading up to your vacation, spend an extra 5-10 minutes wrapping up any loose ends on projects, emails, phone calls or filing. This small investment of time and energy will pay off in the long run. When you are finally ready to shut down your computer and walk out of the office, there won’t be a last minute scramble to wrap things up (which always ends in disaster!). Instead, you will be calm, focused and ready to face the holidays.

There are several tips and tricks that have been proven to help streamline the organizational process to prepare for a holiday vacation and free up precious time in your holiday sprinkled schedule.

  1. Contingency plan

Set the away message on your email (make sure to have an emergency back-up contact (if possible), state the exact dates you will be gone from the office, and make sure to let people know you will get back to them as soon as possible. Laying out expectations up front helps people to plan accordingly, and they appreciate your truth and honesty about when you will be gone, and when you will be back.

Don’t forget to change your voicemail recording. A friendly message stating when you will be gone, and (if possible) a contact in case of emergencies, will go a long way in making the transition back to work after your vacation a breeze.

  1. Anticipate the future

This trick is one that, if done right, can help make the difference between a smothering reunion with your job, or a joyous one. When taking a holiday vacation, often, you will have to hit the ground running when you return to work. This can be daunting, however, if you set yourself up properly it can feel like strolling down the sidewalk.

Before you leave the office for your vacation, make sure you organize your desk. File any papers that are laying about. Ensure you are fully stocked on supplies (pens, sticky notes, paper). This eliminates any frustration with losing something important, or even having to try and find a pen on your first day back. This small tip is worth its weight in gold when time is on the line.

Make sure to give yourself one day back in the office before scheduling any major appointments. This will give you the day to get caught up on emails, bring yourself up to speed, and be better prepared for any issues that may have arisen during your vacation. If you absolutely have to schedule an appointment, make sure to schedule it later in the day, so you have time to prepare.

These simple and easy steps will go a long way in helping you prepare for, and return from any holiday vacation. You will begin your vacation relaxed, knowing you are caught up, and you will return confident knowing you are ready for anything that might come up. Happy Holidays!

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