Labor Day marks the end of the summer vacation season for most companies. Employees are back—or are they? Their bodies are in their cubicle, office or work station. But their brain, heart and desires are still on that sandy beach, lounging by the pool with a froo-froo drink, or trekking in Katmandu. It can take weeks before focus and activity changes from vacation mode to productivity. Don’t fight the inevitable. Here are six ways companies can help employees beat the post-vacation blues.
Designate Space For A Post-Vacation Photo Gallery
Employees spend hours sharing and texting vacation photographs. Take the inevitable digital sharing of vacation photos to a new retro level. Designate a wall in the break room or well-traveled hallway as the official vacation photo gallery where employees can post there favorite pics for all to see.
And The Award Goes To….
Take a cue from the popular video show “Right This Minute.” Have employees submit short vacation short videos of scenic places, landscapes, adventures, parks, volcanos for all to enjoy. Use the company intranet or set up a page on Facebook or apps like Slack to share their videos.
Employees can give details or include commentary on close encounters with a bear in Yosemite or how they got the great shots of the rapids from under the water. For added interest, vote for the best (funniest, most inspiring, scariest) video and hand out vacation-inspired awards.
“A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To ____________” Contest.
Humor can beat the post-vacation blues. Employees can post a short blurb on the company intranet of travel disasters, unexplained coincidences or amazing acts of kindness they encountered on vacation. Think your own version of National Lampoon’s Summer Vacation or Home Alone. Use Survey Monkey or EventMobi so employees can vote for their favorites in various categories. Then, post the results on the Intranet or announce the winners at the next all-employee meeting.
If I Knew Then What I Know Now
I went on a biking trip through Spain with some friends. I thought I had plenty of time between the return flights to get through customs and make my connecting flight. My friends waved as they took a short line for “Global Entry Pass Only,” I had to follow the masses into the main customs area with long lines snaking around like a holiday weekend at Disney World.
My friends make the flight with time to spare. I got to the gate just as the plane was backing away. Employees can provide a great service by sharing their travel blips and tips to make a next vacation safer, cheaper, faster and more enjoyable.
Make Re-Entry Stress-Free.
A recent Inc.com article suggested ways employees can prepare themselves for post-vacation re-entry. Companies can help ease this transition by allowing the first day as an “IN but OUT” day. Employees are in the office but unavailable. They are free to go through emails, paperwork, project reports or process changes/new procedures uninterupted. No meetings. No first-day deadlines or disasters.
They may only need a morning, or a couple of hours. This buffer, before returning to the routine frantic schedule, can help ease stress and get them mentally and physically prepared to get back 100%.
Continue The Vacation At Work.
Vacations are not just places. It’s being with the kids, friends, spouses and partners sharing experiences. It’s beach chairs, backpacks, paddleboards, amazing scenery, breathtaking experiences. The scents of suntan lotion, spices and exotic foods in open markets, the crisp air of a mountain hike or a warm, gentle seaside breeze.
Soften the shock from beach to boardroom. Encourage employees to bring some vacation reminders into their workspace. Travel posters, that sombrero from a market stall in Mexico or pink rocks gathered on the beach in Jamaica. One of those fold-up beach chairs. Maybe not the kayak, but the paddle could ease an employee back from the thrill of running the rapids to processing loan applications or diving into the budgeting process.
To make it comfortable and enjoyable for all, companies may need to establish some guidelines for these six suggestions (no naked or incriminating photos or videos, souvenirs that fit the workspace, etc.) Encourage free expression and all-level participation.
Vacations are an expression of a person’s personality, interests and expertise outside of their jobs. Any of the six above will spark conversations, discover new facets of employees aside from their job descriptions, reveal shared interests and help people connect in a new way. They are fun, easy ways companies can show employees they are valuable by helping them beat the post-vacation blues
What is your company doing? Add your post-vacation blues remedies in a comment below.