REPOST: 5 Tips For Getting Back To Work After A Vacation

Kathryn Dill of Forbes shares five helpful tips when returning to work from a vacation.


The vision of returning to the office after vacation and the reality usually have very little in common. While many of us expect to sit down at our desks after time away filled with boundless energy and restored creativity that will fuel new projects, what usually ends up happening is that we spend several scattered hours (or days) trying to process a deluge of emails and falling further behind on tasks that have built up in the interim.

“You’ve got to set yourself up so there’s the minimum pileup while you’re gone,” says Julie Morgenstern, productivity consultant and author of Never Check Email In The Morning. “Once you invest in that process once, it becomes an automated process. ‘Every time I go away, this is my coverage bible.’”

How can you avoid the post-vacation crush and hang on to that refreshed glow?

Actively plan for your return.

When planning time away from work, most people focus on getting organized for departure. Avoid undoing all that restoration by treating your return as something that needs to be managed in advance as well.

While many of us try to maximize vacation time by coming home Sunday night, Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, suggests considering an earlier-than-last-minute return.

“Consider coming back on Saturday instead of Sunday,” says Vanderkam, emphasizing that time to unpack, pick up a few essential groceries, and get a quiet, uninterrupted jump on email can lessen the impact that first day back in the office.

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Factor in some triage.

Don’t just walk back into the office after a vacation without a plan of attack–unless you want to be steamrolled.

“The tendency is to try to make up for all the meetings you miss,” says Vanderkam. “As much as possible, try to push those to the second day or the afternoon gives you a little bit of space.”

Morgenstern suggests you protect the time you’ve set aside to get caught up the way you would a meeting or a presentation. It’s just as necessary–so treat it that way.

“Build in some transition time. Don’t book anything for your first day in the office, allot the time,” says Morgenstern. “And block off the time in your calendar. If it looks like you’re available, people are going to put things on your calendar. These are meetings with your to dos.”

Your out-of-office response is your first line of defense–wield it to your advantage

Your out-of -office autoreply needs to be straightforward (ditch the phrase “much-needed vacation,” please), helpful, and honest–but not that honest. Vanderkam recommends leaving it up through that catch up period; your coworkers will know you’re available but it will help stem the tidal wave of outside inquiries, or at least lower the expectation of an immediate response.

She and Morgenstern agree that an out-of-office message directed at external parties should include directions for who to contact according to contingencies. Assess who’s going to be emailing you along two or three broad categories and let them know who to reach out to instead or when they might expect a response.

Morgenstern adds that it’s ok to suggest people follow up because you just might not get to their email.

“Everybody who emails understands the volume problem and that things can get lost when someone is away. It’s not really a shock to anybody—you’re just warning people: ‘It may get lost or buried, please feel free to follow up with me.’”

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Feeling especially brave? Skip the days of wading through email and nuke your inbox.

The very thought of losing the contents of your inbox likely sends a chill down most spines, but some argue that a post-vacation email purge  can be just the thing you need to get back on track without losing an entire day to email maintenance.

“Some people take a quick look at what’s flagged, see what’s interesting, and then delete everything,” says Vanderkam.

You should try to be indispensable–but realizing that you’re not might make you a better employee. 

Vanderkam says planning for and returning from a vacation can be a good time for an adjustment of your professional outlook. We’re all striving to be the go-to team member, but believing the company actually can’t function without us can be damaging in the long run.

She describes a five-day vacation she once took where she believed WiFi would be readily available and discovered it was not. Having done all she could to prepare for time away, she realized her only option was to change her outlook on needing to be connected.

“No armies were waiting for my word to invade countries,” says Vanderkam. “I missed a few things, but I could apologize to a few people when I got back. I missed a few opportunities. There will be others.”

Learn to plan ahead, rely on your coworkers, and understand that sometimes, it’s inevitable that you’ll miss out on that last-minute request, and you’ll be that much more productive when you return.

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When in Rome: Three must-see destinations in Italy’s capital city

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it can’t be toured in a day, either. Before departure, visitors should make the most of their time in Rome. Although walking aimlessly through the ancient streets might be fun, it might make you miss seeing some of Rome’s most beautiful and historic spots. Visitors should map out an itinerary and be sure to include the following three must-see destinations.

The Vatican

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Even non-religious tourists will enjoy a trip to the smallest country in the world. It’s home to tourist attractions such as St. Peter’s Basilica. Built on the site of St. Peter’s tomb, it features a magnificent dome designed by Michelangelo, who served as the church’s chief architect for 17 years. It also contains such masterpieces as Michelangelo’s Pieta and the Baldacchino. Other sites to see are the Vatican Gardens, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican museums.

Trevi Fountain

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The nearly 200 year old fountain is one of the most iconic and recognizable landmarks in Rome. It’s the largest Baroque fountain in the city and considered by many as the most beautiful. The fountain originally marked the end of the Aqua Virgo viaduct, constructed by Agrippa in 19 B.C. Legend has it that if you throw a coin into the fountain, you will be assured of a return visit to Rome.

The Pantheon

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At more than 2,000 years old, the Pantheon has withstood major changes, such as being transformed from a pagan temple to a church, but it is still the most well-preserved monument in Rome. Located within the city limits, the Pantheon’s imposing size and portico composed of 16 massive Corinthian columns make it something that needs to be seen to be believed. Its dome is the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. Ancient tombs are set into the walls, including those of Italian kings and the artist Raphael and his fiancé.

There’s nothing quite like a Roman holiday. The eternal city is a dazzling mix of ancient and modern, where historical sites sit next to modern architecture. Whether you’re a first timer or a frequent visitor, there’s always something new to see and exciting things to do in Italy’s capital city.

Riyesh Menon is a real estate professional who enjoys travelling the world and visiting both well-known and obscure destinations in his spare time. Follow him on Facebook for more travel tales.