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What Good Re-Entry After Time Off Looks Like


Oftentimes, someone comes back from work for an extended period of time and needs to figure out what re-entry after time off looks like. The time off can be from things like maternity and paternity leave, taking care of a sick family member, and personal mental health needs. 

And usually, the company and the employee are excited to get back to work. 

If we aren’t careful though, it can create some long-term challenges and hurt your culture. 

Here are some recommendations for you, as an employee, and yes, as a leader this could be your policy. 

  1. Start on Wednesday and make it a short week.
  2. Only work 4 hours Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. 
  3. Day 1 – The first two hours are cleaning the inbox. NO MORE THAN 2 HRS.
  4. Start with the most recent first. Not the oldest.
  5. Tell everyone, and I mean everyone, in a big email to people, “Hey, it’s my first day back. I am spending today reviewing my inbox of 13,348 emails. I will be starting with the most recent first. If there is something, you feel I MUST know, meaning the building will collapse, please send it to me tomorrow when I have my head above water.”
  6. If someone (including your company) doesn’t like your approach, oh well. That’s not your problem, that is theirs. This is the hard part because of the “guilt” we often feel for having been away so long. However, being away was the right thing to do and you do not deserve to be punished for it. 

Most people will be jealous and think, “Oh, I wish I had thought of that.” 

If your leadership team is not on board, that’s a good thing. It means you just got a signal about how loyal they are to you, and based on this signal, you can decide what is best for you and your situation. We are not suggesting quitting, we are simply suggesting you put this in the memory bank.

Going on leave, whether personal time or vacation? Check out our perfect out of office message here.

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