Returning to the Office after a Long Absence: Practical Tips for a Successful Transition

Returning to the office after a long absence can be a real challenge. Whether you've been on parental leave, sabbatical leave, extended sick leave, or even teleworking for several months, it's normal to feel anxious and uncertain about your return to the office.

Fortunately, there are pragmatic solutions to ease this transition and help you get back into your work routine. In this article, we share some useful tips to help you return to the office after a long absence.

Communicate with your manager and team

The first step to a successful return to the office is to communicate with your manager and team. Inform them of your return, your arrival date, and your availability. You can also schedule a 1:1 meeting with your manager to discuss your back to work plan and anything that has changed during your absence. It's important to remain open and transparent to ease this transition.

Reconnect with your colleagues

Before returning to the office, take the time to reconnect with some of your colleagues. Contact them by phone, video call or email to find out what happened during your absence. Also, take the time to proactively discuss with your manager whether there will be any specific projects or tasks that you need to start working on immediately upon your return.

Plan your return

It's important to plan your return to the office well before the scheduled date. Don't hesitate to block a slot for your return day with one of your colleagues so that they can share with you the changes that have taken place since your departure and also introduce you to new team members. Also, learn about any changes in team organization or company strategic initiatives. This will allow you to get a clear picture of the organization and priorities of your team on your return day.

Remote meeting with colleagues - Popwork

From a more informal point of view, also consider organizing a lunch with your team during your return week as a good way to reconnect with everyone.

Reorganize your workspace

If you have been away for a long period, your workspace may have been rearranged or reorganized in your absence. Take the time to reorganize your own workspace to make yourself comfortable and productive. If you need additional equipment or modifications to your workspace, don't hesitate to discuss this internally.

Regain your work rhythm

It can be difficult to regain your work rhythm after a long absence. To facilitate the transition, you can initially prioritize less complex tasks and schedule more regular breaks to avoid fatigue. Above all, take the time during your 1:1 meeting with your manager to align on your priorities and objectives in order to invest your time on the right subjects. Don't hesitate to ask your team or manager for help - some processes, tools or other things may have changed during your absence.

Stay flexible and adaptable

Returning to the office can be difficult, especially if a lot has changed during your absence. Be prepared to adapt and be flexible. Be patient and take the time to meet your new colleagues, familiarize yourself with new tools, ways of working, or objectives of your team.

Take care of yourself

Returning to the office can be exhausting, especially after a long absence. Make sure to take care of yourself by eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. It's also important not to try to do too much at once. Take the time to readjust to your work schedule and don't forget to take regular breaks to relax.

Be patient and ask for help if necessary

Remember that it may take some time to regain your work rhythm. Don't rush and don't be too hard on yourself.

If you are having difficulty adapting, ask your colleagues or manager for help. They may be able to help you understand the new things and answer your questions. Don't be afraid to ask for help if necessary.

Asking for help to colleagues - Popwork

Make sure to have regular 1:1 meetings with your manager to discuss your return, achievements, priorities, possible blockages, and any other important topics. Using a solution like Popwork can help you easily prepare for these conversations and track your goals and personal action points.

Returning to the office after a long absence can be a challenge, but with the right tools and attitude, you can quickly get back into your work rhythm. By planning your return, staying in touch with your colleagues, taking care of yourself, and being patient, you can easily succeed in this transition.