During your career, life may throw you a curve ball or two that may necessitate you taking an extended leave of absence from your job. Regardless of the reason for your temporary departure, the time away from work can be some of the most important and impactful of your life.
The one potential downside though? Coming back from an extended break can be challenging. And while you may be the kind of person who is itching to get back into the workforce, it’s also understandable that you may struggle to get back into a work mindset when you haven’t been in that kind of environment for what could be a month to an entire year.
While getting back into the swing of things at work can be challenging, you can avoid that challenge by preparing for your return in advance. Here are four ways to get ready for your return to work:
Ensure that colleagues can contact you
This is your designated time off, however, emergencies can arise during that time. Should a crisis of some sort come up during your absence, you’ll want your colleagues and supervisor to be able to reach you if they need to.
Before you go, send an email to all of the members on your team giving them the best way to contact you if needed. Be clear that they should only contact you in case of emergencies, but ensure that you’ll be able to talk them through any issue should the need arise.
Plan your return time before you leave
Regardless of the circumstances, taking a break from work can ultimately be the best thing for you on a personal level. However, getting back into that mindset can prove to be challenging. Before your leave of absence starts, you will want to have a time in mind for you to start thinking about work again.
As you look at your scheduled time off, designate a week where you will start to think about your job and responsibilities. By giving yourself a set date to begin thinking about work again, you’ll be able to dedicate all of your focus and energy into what you need to do during your time off.
Maintain contact with your supervisor
Depending on how long your leave of absence is, you’ll want to check in with your supervisor periodically. A lot can change within the span of a long-term absence, and the last thing you want to do when you come back is have no idea what’s going on.
While you’re gone from the office, be sure to send your supervisor an email to ask how they and the team are doing in your absence. While there’s no need to offer help during your designated time off, it is a good idea to catch up with them to see what is happening while you’re away.
Anticipate change with your role
If you’re gone for three months or more, there is a very real possibility that the responsibilities you had before your leave may change or shift to another team member. Before your leave, make peace with the notion that you may be coming back to new duties and expectations.
As you maintain contact with your supervisor and colleagues, ask them how the responsibilities you normally handle are being taken care of. This could be an opportunity for them to ask you how you would approach something they are unsure of how to handle. It’s also a great opportunity for you to stay current with what’s going on while you’re away.