Sabbatical – Returning to your work place

A sabbatical is a great time to deal with yourself, your interests, and your ideas, to travel, or to learn new things. But every break also brings a return to your daily life and your work life that should be planned conscientiously. Early preparation is of great importance which is why we want to give you some tips to help you make your re-entry easier.

Your sabbatical is slowly coming to an end and you will soon return to your everyday life? To think about the return in the last phase of your break is often a big mistake and only leads to unnecessary stress. It is best to consider how your life should look afterwards even before your sabbatical or at the latest three months before its end. What you should ask yourself is: Do you want to return to your old job? Is a change within the company what you seek or would you like a brand new start with another employer? Maybe you even want to become self-employed after your break? A one-year break is an enormous change and the things you experienced during this time can influence you and your attitude extremely. Think about these sabbatical experiences when considering and preparing in order to decide whether your old workplace is still the right one for you.

New or old job?

Especially if you decided to re-orient yourself after your break, it is important to deal with your return early enough. Start actively looking for new opportunities as soon as possible and don’t just wait for something to come up to you. And don’t forget to talk to your current boss.

If you want to return to your old job it can be an advantage if you stay in contact with your colleagues – may it be via mail, phone, or even personally. Oftentimes a monthly e-mail is already sufficient. This way you’re up-to-date about the happenings at your workplace and won’t feel like you need to start from scratch when you come back. You also show your employer that you’re still interested in the company and its development even though you’re on a break. It is also advisable to record all collective agreements that you made with your employer in written form so that it won’t come to misunderstandings or problems afterwards.

Start with a fulltime job immediately?

If you immediately return to your fulltime job after a one-year-break it can easily get overstraining. A slower re-entry can be a good alternative. If it is possible, start to get used to your work rhythm with reduced hours. What might also be helpful is to stop by your office even before your official return – of course only when you’re not travelling anymore. For a smoother re-entry it is helpful anyway to come back from your travels a couple of days or even weeks before you start working again. This way you also have time to adjust to your private everyday life.

Don’t fall back into your old routine

Even though a year is a long time in which you experience a lot and live another rhythm than in your everyday life, you will be surprised how quickly you get used to your old routine again. However, you can prevent that at least a bit by bringing new habits from your sabbatical into your everyday life – keep playing that instrument with which you started during your break, do voluntary work, or go camping from time to time. This way you can be sure that this special time will remain a part of your life.

Don’t consider your sabbatical a flaw in your CV but see it as an enrichment. The experiences that you made and the things you learned can also be an advantage in your professional life. This way not only you but also your employer benefit from your sabbatical.

Professional help can also support your return

Return to the everyday life is often connected with the risk of a relapse for burnout patients. Don’t shy away from getting professional help even before your return. Together with a psychotherapist you can try to avoid risk factors and a relapse in old patterns. No matter why you decided to do a sabbatical – the first days of your return aren’t often that easy. You will need to get used to stressful situations, old processes, or probably changed circumstances – both in your professional and private life. However, try to regard new as well as old things with a positive attitude, let the experiences of your break influence your life and regard them as a valuable aspect.

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