Schools are out, Parliament is in recess and it’s the ‘silly season’ for news. Even those who work throughout August can’t help but feel the summer vibe, as everything seems to slow down and projects are put on hold until key people return from leave.
However, all good things come to an end, and the summer holidays are no exception. Some people dread the advance of autumn, with its cooler temperatures and shorter days heralding a more sober approach to life. Others find the return to a more structured lifestyle a relief, and look forward to making plans for the year to come.
Here are our top five tips for making a successful switch from summer to autumn mode:
- Feel the fear and do it anyway
The thought of going back to work can be daunting if you’ve become used to a more relaxed lifestyle while you were away. However, few things are ever as bad as you think they’re going to be. Put on your work clothes, square your shoulders, take a deep breath and march into work with a smile. Once you have said ‘hello’ to everyone, answered the obligatory questions about whether you had a good time, made a drink and switched on your screen, you’ll be wondering why you felt so apprehensive.
Spend some time clearing the decks for action, in both your physical and virtual work spaces. Tidy your desktop, files and shelves and have a good clear-out; do the same with your emails (read on to point 3) and electronic files. You will feel productive and be more efficient and in control.
- Don’t let the email backlog get you down
They need sorting! First, check that your deleted emails go to the ‘deleted items’ folder, and that ‘empty deleted items’ (or ‘trash’ for MAC users) is set to manual. That gives you the confidence to set about a brutal cull, knowing that if you delete something important by accident, you will be able to retrieve it. Then sort by ‘subject’ so you can easily see what can be deleted straight away, and repeat the process, sorting by ‘from’. That should see the backlog considerably reduced. Then sort by ‘date received’. Try to deal with those that need action straight away – if you put it off, it will hamper your progress.
You don’t have to do this on your first day, but Autumn is a good time to take stock and see where you need to make changes in your life – including work. Are you happy and as productive as you can be? What would make things better? Your summer break (or summer working) may have given you a new perspective – use it.
- Make plans – and carry them out
When you have identified the changes you want to make, take action! For example, you may have decided that you need to gain a qualification to help you progress in your career. Research the courses available and ask your employer what support might be offered.
Uni@Work offers Higher and Degree level education entirely in the workplace – including Higher and Degree Apprenticeships – with courses tailored to the employer’s business needs and the learning preferences of employees. Learners are able to apply their new skills to their own work role as the programme progresses, consolidating their knowledge and giving their employer an early return on their investment.