Taking a holiday is great for wellbeing, but the return to work can hurt if not managed appropriately.
You might have heard about “post-holiday blues” and how it could affect the motivation and productivity in the workplace. Coming back to work after holidays requires a lot of adapting and adjustment: to schedules, daily routines, and to work.
In psychology, post-holiday blues is defined as “a group of common symptoms that people suffer when returning to their work, family or study obligations after a period of rest or holiday”.
It appears as a mix of anxiety and emotional pressure upon coming back to work after an extended amount of time away. These psychological stresses can also accompany physical disorders such as lack of sleep. The challenge is how organisations and their HR teams support employees through this post-holiday stress and boost their motivation and productivity.
Four tips to support your employees through post-holiday blues
1. Refresh the team on the vision and values
Your team are coming off some chilled days, with loved ones, in casual settings, and the thought of ‘work’ is probably not too appealing for some. However, employees reach peak engagement when they are reminded why they do what they do, and the impact that they make on the wider team and community. Take a moment to remind the team on the importance of what they are doing each day, so you get buy-in with their emotional investment. The sooner they feel that they are making an impact again, the sooner everyone will be flying at full productivity again.
2. Organise a Worthwhile Group Activity
No meetings for the sake of meetings, however now is a good time to make it meaningful. All of us in Australia are currently reeling from the devastating impact of the fires and the pain this has caused to so many communities. Not only can a team meeting get everyone up to speed on what’s been happening while they were away but this is a chance for anything from a bake sale to a charity ping-pong match to help raise funds for those in need. Not only does this has a lasting impact for those affected by the fires, but will reinvigorate everyone with a real sense of purpose.
3. Be flexible
It is natural that the rhythm is not the usual and that employees require more breaks during the first few days. Team leaders have to make sure that everyone has enough time to transition. For instance, offering small activities or lunch meetings allow your employees moments of relaxations. HR departments should also consider supporting flexible working where possible. Whether it’s allowing some ‘work from home’ or flexible start and end times, these can be of massive benefit to your employees.
4. Maintain the positivity
Team leaders must support their team by maintaining positivity, not only with their workload but also on an emotional level. Your employees might get overwhelmed after their return. Therefore, HR and the leadership team should be sensitive to their transition. Try your best to communicate with your employees more at this time rather than ignore them.
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