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Going Back to Work After Vacation: 8 Tips for Remote Employees 

In this guest post, Erika Rykun of Booklyst discusses the best tips for going back to work after vacation — and why it’s so important to take your vacation time to begin with!

Remote work has been widely embraced these past few years, and traveling is one of the many perks of this flexible work arrangement. But nothing is harder than going back to work after vacation. So how do you deal with post-vacation blues and go back to your daily grind at work after a nice relaxing break?

This article offers eight practical tips for remote employees to ease the shift and ensure that the rejuvenation experienced during your time off carries over into your daily work routine. Read on to learn what it takes to resume work after a vacation and why it’s important to take a vacation in the first place!

Why You Should Take PTO as a Remote Worker 

Remote work has become increasingly popular, further accelerated by the pandemic. According to Owl Labs, the number of employees opting for remote work increased by 24%, while those who prefer in-office work decreased by nearly 25%. Additionally, those choosing the hybrid work setup (working remotely and in the office) rose to 16%.

Many businesses have seen the potential perks of remote work, from decreasing operating costs to increasing business productivity. For some remote workers, traveling is one of the benefits of being a digital nomad, while others choose to work from home (WFH). 

It doesn’t mean, however, that remote workers should no longer take paid time off (PTO). It’s best to draw the line between your personal and professional life. Find time to go on vacation and have the fun and relaxation you’ve earned. Why? PTO offers you the following benefits:

  • It kills burnout at work. Nothing can be more frustrating than feeling stressed and burned out. Taking time off allows you to go offline, forget about your workload, and reduce stress. You’ll get back more refreshed and motivated to work.
  • It boosts your productivity. Research studies show that employees become more productive after having a break. More than this, taking time off gives you the kick to do better at work. You’ll come back more focused, efficient, and productive.
  • It promotes work-life balance. As you are aware, remote work can sometimes lead you to mix your personal and professional life. Taking time off helps you strike a balance between the two. Using your PTO sets healthy boundaries!
  • It fosters overall well-being. Life isn’t confined to mere work, even if you’re working remotely. Taking PTO helps promote good health, mental wellness, and overall well-being. Getting a rest from time to time is essential to ensure the quality of your life. 

While PTO offers you numerous benefits, you still face the challenge of easing back to work after a vacation. How do you rise above this problem? Fret not — here are some practical tips!

8 Practical Tips for Returning to Work After Vacation

It’s no secret that work-life balance is key to a successful professional and personal life. Taking your paid time off and being able to travel is crucial for remote workers. Not only will you have time to relax and unwind, but you’ll also return to work rejuvenated, inspired, and motivated.

The problem is that getting back to your usual job after a vacation is never easy. However, there are ways to transition smoothly back to work:

1. Give Yourself a Buffer Day

No, you don’t have to rush back to work the day after your vacation. You’ll probably get rattled trying to get back on top of your personal stuff and tackle professional obligations at the same time. Take a day or two when you get back to arrange things, attend to personal needs, and condition your mind before returning to work.

Tim White, Founder of Milepro, recommends having a buffer day after vacation. “In our experience serving various clients, we’ve found that most travelers rest for a day or two after vacation and before returning to the office. The same thing applies to remote workers to guarantee a smooth transition.”

2. Inform Your Boss and Colleagues Once You’re Back

Your immediate boss and colleagues most likely know when you’re coming back. But as soon as you log in online, inform your boss that you’re back to work. Also, reach out to your colleagues saying you’re ready to grind. This is a great practice for remote employees working online, as not all of your colleagues know you’re back.

Ryan Hammill, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Ancient Language Institute highlights the value of communication. “Your bosses and colleagues might be interested in your most recent travel, so it’s a great way to say you’re back and inspire them to travel. They’ll probably be interested in the language you’ve learned in another country.

3. Try to Get Back to Your Usual Routine

Of course, going back to work after vacation is no easy feat. For one, you’ll have to deal with the post-vacation blues. Likewise, you’ll have to beat procrastination while working remotely. The key here is to try getting back to your usual work routine as seamlessly as possible.

When working remotely, you probably have a schedule and process to follow. You don’t necessarily have to observe these as soon as you resume work. However, find ways to transition back smoothly by getting the feel of your laptop’s keyboard and handling one task at a time. You’ll eventually find the usual rhythm at work that you used to possess!

4. Attend and Respond to All Your Emails

One of the most dreaded scenarios about going back to work after vacation is catching up on emails. Chances are, you have a pile of messages sitting in your inbox, so ease in by attending to your emails and respond to the most pressing ones.

Here’s the trick: prioritize emails tagged as urgent or of high importance, especially those coming from your bosses. Don’t delay — respond to them and take action immediately. Then, you can slowly read each email of lesser importance and do what’s necessary, whether responding to them or deleting spam.

5. Schedule and Prioritize Your Tasks

It’s best to list all your pending tasks before taking your vacation. As soon as you return, add some to the lists assigned to you when you were gone. Then, sort them out by scheduling tasks based on their order of priority.

Alex Milligan, Co-founder & CMO of NuggMD, underscores the importance of sick and vacation leaves in business. “Employees deserve to take time off from work, whether to travel or rest due to sickness. That way, they will return to work holistically well and ready to accomplish their tasks.”

6. Don’t Tackle All; Take One Task at a Time

When you go back to work after traveling, it’s tempting to tackle all your tasks as soon as possible. You might feel like you should accomplish all of them at once, since you were granted the opportunity to take a leave.

Hold your horses, as you won’t be able to handle all these tasks in just a day! Here’s the rule of thumb: take one step at a time. After listing, scheduling, and prioritizing your tasks, deal with them one by one. Remember, accomplish each with a perfect balance of efficiency and quality.

7. Draw the Line between Your Personal and Professional Life

Remote work offers employees numerous benefits, from work flexibility to traveling privileges, if your employer is on board with it. However, separating personal and professional life is one of its major drawbacks. You might be traveling while working because you haven’t asked for time off. Our advice? Have separate time for travel and work!

John Gardner, Co-Founder & CEO of Kickoff, highlights the importance of a work-life balance. “Work is important as it puts food on the table. However, you should have personal time for yourself. Go travel, explore good food, and work out.”

8. Work, Work, Work…but Have Fun!

Most of your colleagues would argue that you must do your best at work since you had a vacation. This idea makes sense since traveling can eliminate burnout and leave you completely rejuvenated. So, commit yourself to your job with full dedication and real passion.

Nancy Mitchell, RN at Assisted Living, has much to learn from their retired clients. “Some regret working hard all their lives but forgetting to have fun. Others have fulfilled lives by striking a balance between work and life. Work-life balance is indeed the secret to a fulfilling and happy life!”

Final Words for Remote Employees After Vacation

Taking time off for a vacation is crucial for remote workers to rejuvenate, prevent burnout, and maintain a healthy work-life balance, ensuring sustained productivity and well-being in the digital workspace.

As such, consider our practical tips recommended above for going back to work after vacation smoothly and enthusiastically. Remember, your remote job is your bread and butter, providing you with lots of amazing benefits. Prioritize it, but remember to take time off and explore the world, too!

Author Bio

Erika Rykun is a career and productivity copywriter and founder of Booklyst who believes in the power of networking. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and playing with her cat, Cola.

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