Trying to get out of bed and back to the office after a break.
Kevin returns home from his holiday get-away, grateful that he is back in his house and back to his favourite chair.
Although vacation from work is extremely important for mental and physical health, it can be a real struggle to get back to the office.
The night before the return to the office brings the "What do I need to do?" nightmares or the 3:00 am bolt-up in bed "Did I sleep in? Did I miss the alarm?".
Knowing that there is a cold desk and bad coffee impatiently waiting for you in mere hours is not very enticing. It is like putting a cat in the bath water. The cat fights in the hopes that their paws never feel the unpleasant manky water.
The 80% rule keeps us moving forward in day-to-day life. If you like your friends, family, spouse, hobbies, or work 80% of the time, you should be relatively content. Sorry, but there is no 100% liking everything at the same time. If you do like everything 100% of the time, then you are an exceptional person and lead an exceptional life or you are apt at convincing yourself the world isn't round. You can persuade yourself to believe anything. Not delusional, but incredibly optimistic and effectual. For the rest of us, the proverbial life cup hovers at half-full and 80% happiness is adequate.
If work happiness is at 60%, then hopefully you have good hobbies. If work happiness is 100%, then you are
a workaholic and sacrifice other elements of your life. If work happiness is 80-90%, then you have found your calling and are not going to create major imbalances in life.
Pulling the key fob out of your pocket to get into the office after a break can feel like lifting an hundred-pound weight. Once the door releases, the transition between your personal life to your professional life has begun. For those who work from home, it could be the will to get your finger on the mouse to open your inbox. The good news, is everyone else in the office or at home is feeling the same way.
Knowing that it isn't easy to get your rested butt back into your desk chair, it is important to give individuals time to adjust to their environment after their break before pouncing on them with tasks. It is also good to give them an update after their adjustment period of what has happened in their absence to give them inclusion back into the project. Then you can explain what is expected for deliverables in the upcoming days or weeks.
After a few hours of returning to the office, the day-to-day rhythm begins and vacation seems like it happened months ago. Project deadlines still loom and the client still want your full attention. However, returning from a break can bring new zest and energy to your work. Thus the importance of taking the break in the first place.
Kevin nudges my arm at 5am indicating it is time to get up and return to work. This is part of his routine. As I am ready to leave the house, Kevin goes to the window where he sits on the sill and begins his work day - sleep then eat or eat then sleep. There is an odd sense of calm as I get back to our everyday. Until next vacation, I think I can make it.
Fiona Warren - 17 years experience with large high-profile projects and teams.