How to Ease Back Into Your Work Routine

How to Ease Back Into Your Work Routine

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No matter the reason for your prolonged absence from the office, it’s hard to bounce back to employee life. Whether you took a wellness break for your health, enjoyed a well-deserved vacation to the tropics, or took care of a loved one, it’s gonna take a while to get used to the bustle of business.

Here are 4 tips to help you ease back into an office routine and get you in shape for the grind.

Tip 1: Go to Bed Early Before Returning to Work

To face the modern office culture, you have to show up well-rested. So don’t just sleep early on the night before the big Monday — sleep early for a couple of nights before returning to the office. This gets your body accustomed to sleeping at the same hour every night and helps you establish a healthy bedtime routine

Don’t Be Sleep-Deprived

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep. However, almost a third of Americans get less than 6 hours. Try your best to get the sleep you need. If you’re sleep deprived, you might:

  • Find it difficult to stay focused and concentrate
  • Commit more errors
  • Forget a lot of things

Overall, the quality and quantity of your sleep affects your performance and experience at work.

Tip 2: Keep Your Workday Structured

As you return to the office, you’re bound to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things you have to do. In your absence, tasks and emails have piled up, and your overflowing inbox won’t empty itself. 

A structured workday will keep you sane. Don’t enter your office doors without a realistic schedule and to-do list.

Make a List

Write down everything you need to do for the day: answer emails, attend meetings, update co-workers, pay bills, and run errands. Be specific and add as many details as you can. As the adage says, “well-planned is half done.”

Structure Your Day

Determine which parts of the day you should accomplish the items on your to-do list. For example:

  • Mornings. You’re still feeling the caffeine rush, so it’s best to do the tasks that require lots of mental energy.
  • Midday. Tasks that require a moderate amount of effort are best done at midday. You sustain your momentum, and you’re still in your productivity zone.
  • Afternoon. As the day draws to a close, finish your easiest tasks and prepare for another workday tomorrow.

Tip 3: Make Space for Flexible Time

Let’s face it, life gets in the way no matter how well you plan your day. And if your schedule is airtight, a single delay could derail your entire workday structure. So, make space for flexibility. 

Give Your Schedule a Buffer

Don’t hesitate to put gaps in your schedule. A few minutes between tasks gives you wiggle room, just in case something comes up. 

If there are no hiccups, you get to enjoy a little break to refresh your mind. Studies show that even a 5-minute walk can re-energize an employee. Also, many people swear by “exercise snacks,” bite-sized bursts of movement to support physical fitness.

Tip 4: Make Time for Rest

Don’t take rest for granted. Remember, your body is adjusting to a new schedule and new environment, so it needs to relax and rest. So make sure you get some quiet time at the end of a long day.

Lastly, keep in mind that your routine doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. As mentioned earlier, it takes a while for the body to adjust. So as you test-drive your routine, you might have to fine-tune your workday structure to achieve balance.