Before You Return to Work After a Sabbatical
To ensure you have a smooth transition back to work after taking a sabbatical, it is worth taking some time to reacquaint yourself with your job and your colleagues.If you are going back to the same employer, it is likely that you have had some contact during your sabbatical; indeed the purpose of your career break may have some relevance to your company. Many large corporations have some sort of international voluntary or community connections that employees looking for a sabbatical may be able to take advantage of.
Contact Your EmployerIf you have not had any contact with your employer during your sabbatical, you should send an email or call them a couple of weeks before you will be returning. Keep it light and friendly – remember to ask about particular projects or contracts rather then just say all about your adventures. Confirm your planned return date and check this still suits them. Ask if there is anything you should be aware of or any meetings that are happening that week.
You may also decide to contact colleagues that you work directly with so you save a bit of the awkward first morning back feelings.
Meet For a DrinkIf you know that your colleagues go to a certain bar after work on a Friday night, for example, you could suggest that you meet them there the week before you are due back to work. This is good because you can have a social chat before you resume your work and it will allow you to talk about your sabbatical outside of the office. When you go back to work, although people will be interested to know what you have been up to, it may irritate your boss or other colleagues if that is all you do for your first few days.
Check Your AppearanceWhile you have been on your sabbatical you have probably not had to wear a suit or be presented in the same way as is expected in your workplace. If you have had henna tattoos, a nose ring or cotton wraps in your hair, perhaps now is the time to remove them. You may also have let you hair grow more than you would before, or dress more outrageously.
Think back to what was acceptable when you where in the office and act accordingly – have your suit clean, get a haircut and clean your shoes. Even if you work in an environment where less conservative styles of dress are acceptable, it is worth checking your appearance before you return to work.
Know When To Stop!If you have had a fantastic, life changing experience on your sabbatical it can be tempting to talk about it a lot. Even if you just enjoyed the change, or the people or the food, be careful not to be self obsessed. Not only is it annoying to colleagues who have carried on the same since you left, but people who may have had to take on your work or clients could be rather cheesed off.
People will want to hear about your sabbatical, though, so perhaps you could have a handful of pictures printed to show people, rather than emailing your whole cameras worth. Jamming the company server will not help you make any friends!