Considerations When Returning to Work After Extended Leave
When you return to work after extended leave, it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things. Whether you were away travelling, on maternity leave or absent due to sickness, slipping back into office life isn’t always as easy as you would like. You need to give yourself time to get used to the changes and work with your boss and your colleagues to get you back up to speed and feeling comfortable in the work environment.
Things Will be DifferentYou need to realise that when you have been away from work on extended leave things will have changed. There are likely to be new colleagues and a new dynamic in the office. As well as this, rules or clients may have shifted and it may take you a while to get used to the new systems. Be prepared for things to be different before you go back and try not to compare it to your job before you were away.
Give Yourself Time to AdaptWhen you return to work it is common to want to be able to just slip back into your old role. However, it often doesn’t work like this and you need to give yourself time to adapt. Don’t expect to be able to be the same person you were before your extended leave and learn to work with what you have now. Concentrate on learning the new systems, not trying to change them and keep looking forwards, not backwards.
ReactionsSometimes, when you have been away from work on extended leave, you are not prepared for the reactions of the colleagues when you return. Remember, that while you were away they had to adapt and probably had someone else in to cover your role. Therefore the dynamic may have shifted, there could be underlying resentments and people may have moved roles. Be sensitive to how other people are feeling and try not to step on anybody’s toes. Talk honestly to colleagues about the situation and try to work with them so you can fit back in and they can feel comfortable with it.
Ask For HelpYou may hope that it will be easy to return to work after extended leave but it often isn’t and you need a little bit of help to get back on your feet. Feeling that people will judge you for asking for help won’t make your life any easier. It is much better to be open and honest about how you are feeling and what you need from your boss or colleagues. Explain specifically which areas you are struggling with and ask for practical things that could be done to help you.
If you are returning to work after extended leave you need to be prepared for things to be different from when you left. Give yourself time to adapt to the new dynamic and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Work with your boss and your colleagues to make your return to work a successful one.