As the festive season becomes nothing more than a distant memory, those of us lucky enough to
have enjoyed some time off have been hit with the reality of returning to work. If you find your
employees are feeling a bit blue following the end of the holiday season, rest assured you are not
alone! Some employees may return to work more exhausted than ever as their bodies and minds
struggle to adapt back to their normal routine.
Days of sleeping in and staying up late wreaks havoc on people’s body clocks, leaving many
feeling sluggish and tired once returning to work. Scientists have indicated that straying from
your normal routine and sleep schedule can cause what has been termed ‘social jet lag’.
Those suffering from social jet lag may experience symptoms such as difficulty concentrating,
irritability, daytime sleepiness, reduced alertness and an overall feeling of being unwell. All of
which may see productivity and motivation levels drop amongst employees.
Encouraging staff to reinstate their regular routine will help create normalcy and get everyone
back into the rhythm of work. It is important that people try to include as many of their usual
habits as possible to eliminate any holiday habits that may have crept in over the break. Experts
say that the sooner people return to their regular routine, whether it be eating healthy meals or
getting in an early morning workout, the more likely they are to be motivated to get back on track.
For many employees, their arrival back at work will likely begin with sifting through an overflowing
inbox and scrambling to respond to each unread message. To avoid employees getting
overwhelmed, suggest they filter their emails by subject or sender rather than in date order. This
will allow them to focus their attention on what happened whilst they were away, instead of when
things happened. Furthermore, perhaps try holding a meeting sometime soon after employees
return to run through the tasks they were working on prior to the break. This will allow everyone
to create a prioritised list of tasks to complete and help get productivity levels up as employees
have a clear focus on what they should be working on.
While we should acknowledge that there will be an inevitable transition period for everyone
getting back into the swing of things, it is important to encourage employees to get back on track
as soon as possible. Have conversations that promote a positive attitude and help encourage
employees to set goals and objectives that will help them regain motivation and settle into the
rest of the working year.