A stress-free return to work


With the festive season upon us, and other holidays likely planned for 2018, career coach Caroline Arnold shares her top tips on what to do before, during and after a break to ensure you return refreshed and raring to go…


  • Add a note to your 2018 diary to discuss the 2018 budget, venue and dates with the boss.
  • Be proactive – if you’re off but your manager isn’t, make sure you hand everything over to the person taking over.
  • Agree with your executive if you and they will be contactable during the holiday – will you be email free for the whole break or checking once a day to keep on top of it? Can you call your manager if something’s urgent? And confirm any definite non-contact times – long flights, for example.
  • Confirm any corporate travel commitments with hotels, taxis and flights.
  • Look forward – go through your Q1 diary and get anything you need signed off before you go to ensure a panic-free year.
  • Reflect – how has this period been for you, what have you learned and what are you proud of? And what, if anything, needs to change on your return?

During your holiday

  • Turn off your phone – on average we check our phones 150 times per day but if you’ve agreed contact time before your break, make sure you stick to that.
  • Enjoy time away from the office. Space to relax is what makes us most efficient when you return.


  • Before it becomes a distant memory, spend ten minutes reviewing how it went – is there anything you’d do differently next time so the return to work is smoother?
  • And is there anything you need to change for when the boss is away? Was there a signature you needed, or a decision that could have been made beforehand?
  • Book your next holiday – and encourage your manager to do the same, to ease forward planning.