How to Get Back into Work Mode after Taking Time Off

Woman working at desk

Whether due to the holidays, an illness, or anything else, getting back into work mode after some time off can often seem like a huge challenge. The path isn’t easy, but there are a few things you can do to make the transition less stressful.

Give Yourself Time

Woman working at desk

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

So, first, cut yourself some slack. Nobody expects miracles from you after only a couple of days after the holidays. Have in mind that everybody is transitioning, so they will probably have understanding. Especially your fellow coworkers.

Working in a coworking office space does have its perks. There are many people from different companies that are experiencing the same feelings as you. Share a cup of coffee, make a break now and then and give your body and your mind the much needed time to adapt.

Many people judge themselves for not being able to set some kind of a productivity record soon after the holidays are over. But, be sure, you are not alone.

We know who is to blame.

New Year’s resolutions and other unrealistic goals.

Yes, we all make them. And, yes, we all fail to stick to them. However, they seem to hold a burden over our heads, making us set impossible standards we can’t possibly follow. It is ok to fail, it is ok to try again, and it is ok if you need some time.

Plan Ahead

It seems that all of us start planning and organizing our vacation weeks in advance, but it’s not so with the post-vacation schedule. However, it is as important, if not even more important than the former. Change your mindset and think about your return as something that needs to be dealt with in advance as well. We know it is easier said than done, but you need to make that final effort before the holidays, you will thank yourself afterwards.

What does planning ahead include?

Well, firstly, don’t leave any unfinished business behind. There is nothing worse than realizing that you need to finish something fast, but, now the deadline is way closer than before. The workload can only go up after the holidays, not down.

It is business 101.

Secondly, plan coming to work earlier, so you can have the time to sort all the emails you got in the meanwhile, to unpack properly and prepare for the shock of the first day back in the office. Give yourself enough time to be able to drink that first cup of coffee in peace, with no distractions. It will give you the right push to move ahead.

Coming to work earlier has several perks, especially if you work in a co shared office space. Not only will you have the opportunity to drink that cup of coffee in peace, but you will also be able to choose your favorite work table. Everybody working in a communal office space knows that finding a proper office space, which will stimulate you properly, is of utmost importance.

Good lighting can do wonders for your creativity, so be sure to hurry that first day and choose your work station wisely.

Get Your Sleep Schedule in Order

Man sleeping at desk

For most people, going into vacation mode is closely connected to disrupting any sleep patterns that may have existed previously. Binge watching a show on Netflix being one of the main culprits in the time of Covid-19 pandemic. However, we are all familiar with this situation all too well, aren’t we? How can you stop watching when the next episode is going to be the most exciting yet? And the one after that, and the one after that. Oh, look at the time, how is it 3 am already?

All this is normal, but it a bit difficult to return to regular sleeping patterns, especially when there are so many more interesting shows to be seen, so many murder mysteries to be solved, so many love affairs to be exposed.

Be that as it may, we are all grown up, and have to behave accordingly. This includes realizing that it is a new work day tomorrow and that we need to have a good night sleep in order to function properly.

Having this in mind, it is essential that you plan your sleep, too. Try doing this gradually. Avoid any screens an hour before you go to bed and try going to bed at least an hour earlier than the time you got used to during the holidays. Your “work” brain can only do its job if you had a good night’s sleep.

Reestablish Your Morning Routine

If we are talking about schedules, then your morning routine is the first thing you have to bring back into order. The way you start your day can affect the whole day entirely, so be sure to bring special attention to this.

Do what you deem fit, and what helps you get your adrenaline running. For some, this includes a nice breakfast, for others – a couple of minutes of morning meditations. That is why it is important to do what feels good for you.

Whatever you choose to do, it is essential that you keep doing it until you get your work mode up and running. These repetitive actions will make your transition easier and give you the push you need.

Organize Properly

Woman writing in diary at desk

Once you’re at the office, plan your actions properly. Open your planner and get everything you need to do in the next couple of days in check. Try to keep the number of meetings to a minimum, it will take you time to get the work “mojo” back, so don’t overdo it.

As we said, start with emails and prioritize them according to importance and promptness they need to be dealt with. Then continue with the old tasks you didn’t finish before the holidays. It will help you get into the process again and feel the new “normal.”

Don’t jump into new projects just yet. Give yourself time to adjust by doing familiar things. This way, you will experience a sense of accomplishment. This is an excellent confidence booster and it will help you go through the transition period more smoothly.

If you allow yourself to get into a new project straight away, you will be in danger of a serious premature burnout.

You will fall into a pit of post-vacation despair before lunch, and you wouldn’t want that, now would you?


Whether you like them or not, your fellow coworkers are there to stay. Seeing familiar faces can only do you good.

So get up and start a conversation.

This will help you in several ways. Firstly, having in mind that there is a pandemic going on, we are pretty sure there weren’t many places and people that you could have visited. So, even though the isolation has probably run its course and made you a bit fretful about human contact, we humans are social beings, so it is ok to interact, of course, following safety guidelines. We are all used to them by now.

In addition, having a conversation with your colleagues will bring you up the speed with the new projects the company has been working on. This is important if you want to give your best. It will motivate you to work harder.

Ultimately, it will just be nice to see a familiar face and share a joke or two. Those small talks can sometimes really brighten your day. Arrange to go for lunch with some of the colleagues and share your vacation stories with them.

Why not? It will do wonders for your mental health.

Accept That You Are Not on Holiday Anymore

Reminiscing about that delicious Christmas dinner over a stack of papers on your work table will not do you any good, believe us. Oh, the Christmas turkey, the gravy, the chocolate cake which was to die for… If only we could have just another slice…

See? Now we are distracted too…

Post-vacation blues is the real deal, and many people deal with it differently. The best thing is to give yourself a break during the work day, and go through the pictures, maybe share a couple with your fellow coworkers.

Don’t overdo it, though. There are people that have just started working, and have been working over the holidays. So, be grateful for having been given the opportunity to have the Christmas dinner at home, with your loved ones, not having to worry about work for a bit.

Let the fond memories of the holidays warm your heart and push you towards excellence. These small breaks in time are what it’s all about, and they need to motivate us to work harder and achieve more, so we can enjoy them more fully.

Check Your Health

Healthy food being eaten at desk

Holidays are a perfect period for forgetting all about your high blood pressure or other heart problems, if you have them, but now it is time to get back to reality. The most wonderful time of the year can also be quite strenuous and stressful, so pay close attention if your body is trying to tell you something, and if so, act accordingly.

If you are sick your job will suffer and vice versa. So, don’t allow yourself to get sick the first day on the job. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, as we mentioned before, and eating properly. Boost your morning energy levels by preparing a nice, fresh fruit smoothie. It will not only help you feel more energetic, but it will also give proper nourishment to your brain. An excellent day to start your first day back to work!

Take Breaks

The best thing about working in a coworking office space is that everybody is in the same pickle as you. Most of them, too, have been off for the holidays, so you will find no judgment there. Maybe from the ones that were stuck working for the holidays, but even they will not pay close attention to your actions.

They are too tired to do that.

Having this in mind, be sure the most activities and important conversations will be done in front of the coffee machine or some other place. Everybody will take breaks from reality, so you should do that, too. Of course, don’t allow your work days to be made of them entirely. But, you have earned yourself a break or two, or three from work.

You may feel guilty about having breaks so soon after coming back from the holidays, but don’t fall into this trap. You need it, your mind needs it, your body needs it, in order to properly adapt to the new environment.

It can also be helpful to plan blocks of time, or, to put it more clearly to plan the breaks. It may give you proper stimulation. For example, when I finish this, I will have a cup of coffee, or tea. That way, you can reward yourself for being productive.

It may seem hardly achievable, but we are sure you will make it work! Now get yourself going and earn that coffee break!


We are pretty sure most of you have made a New Year’s resolution that includes exercising, and now you have the opportunity. Apart from the extra event spaces, many coworking companies have spacious gyms where you can exercise and take out that negative energy that has been piling up.

So, do something different for a change, and spend some quality time in the gym. You will definitely feel better about yourself, which can only help you do your job better and with more motivation.

In addition, in that way you will keep your health in check. Two birds with one stone, if you ask us!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.