In Career Discussions

Are you returning to work after a long absence? This can feel like starting over, especially if you have been gone a long time.

A few sick days here and there or an extended vacation is not the same thing. Maybe you weren’t planning on being gone this long. Even if you were, the transition back can be a bit rough.

What is the longest time you have taken off of work? Was going back tough?

Fortunately, we are here to help with the following tips!

Tips for Returning to Work

#1. Get Some Good Sleep

As your return date approaches you might feel like a kid coming off of a summer vacation hangover. Give yourself several days to get acclimated to your old routine. If you have been recovering from an illness or recently had a baby, your sleep routine might be very different now. Start by getting up in the morning at the time you will rise when you have to be to work. Go to bed so that you get a good eight hours of sleep.

Returning to work will be much easier if you aren’t tired.

#2. Contact HR and Complete Any Necessary Paperwork

Your boss, manager, and team might know when you are coming back, but HR also needs to be informed. Check with your Human Resources department and find out if there is any paperwork you need to complete. Go over their sick leave or extended leave policies to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

If you need to get written medical clearance from your doctor, be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to procure that before your return date.

#3. Consider a More Gradual Return

Talk with your manager and HR to see if a phased return may be more suitable. This way you can ease into coming back without starting full-time right away. A few possibilities could be:

  • Shorter work days
  • Working only a few days a week
  • Working some of the time from home,

This way you can stay involved while you acclimate to a full return.

#4. Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Get Ready

Since you are out of practice of your old routine, you may need more time than you did before to get ready and get to work. This is especially true if you were ill or possibly pregnant and now have a baby to tend to as well. Returning to work in the first few days and weeks will be much easier if you aren’t rushed and harried when you get here.

#5. Get Help Prioritizing Your Work

Coming back to a stuffed inbox of emails, work orders, well wishes and more can be really overwhelming. Ask your manager or boss to help you prioritize. It may help to tackle the backlog of emails in small doses. Spending hours on one task can get hard.

#6. Be Prepared to Talk About your Absence

Your co-workers care about you and if they weren’t informed about your absence or why you were gone, they are going to want to know. Even if some of them know some things, there will be questions. Think about some polite responses before you get to work. If you anticipate a lot of questions you may want to craft an email to your team so you can inform everyone at once.

#7. Go Easy on Yourself

Being away from your job for an extended time can make you doubt your abilities and you may be feeling less confident. This is normal, but should go away once you get back into the swing of things – kind of like riding a bike. If you are struggling don’t be afraid to ask for help. We are all human need help from time to time. It’s better to ask for the help sooner than later.

No matter what your situation is or reason for being off work, returning to work doesn’t have to be a big ordeal. Hopefully these tips can help you ease back into your job and regain your routine in no time.

Good Luck! We are here for you!

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