Staff productivity
Aug 26, 2022

Returning to work: a care manager’s survival guide

Last week, I was contacted by Nicolas, a registered care manager, who asked me to share some tips on returning to work. Whether it’s planned or unexpected, coming back after having leave can be a real headache! So, what can you do to survive?

Mark Topps
Mark Topps
Regional Business Manager

Table of contents

Tips for returning to work

Before I started writing this, I asked myself, who better to give advice than care managers. So, I did a poll on social media and here’s what everybody had to say:

Organise yourself

  • Be prepared and organised the night before – charge your laptop and work phone, get the clothes you want to wear ready, have your lunch prepared, set your alarm and pack your bag.
  • Work your first day back at home so you have minimal distractions whilst you catch up.
  • Leave your out of office on for your first day back.
  • Book out your calendar for the day you return, so you’re not distracted or disturbed. Use the day to catch up with your team, check emails, look through handovers and slowly ease yourself back in, instead of trying to play catch up whilst being in demand.
  • Prioritise your workload for your first week back. Try using the Eisenhower Urgent/Important Principle to help your split up your to-do list into four categories: urgent and important (do immediately), urgent but not important (delegate), important but urgent (schedule) and neither (put on the back burner).

Read your emails

  • Make sure you have a clear out of office message that says you’ll delete all emails on your return, advising people to resend them after you’re back if they are still outstanding. If its important or outstanding they’ll be back in touch.
  • Deal with emails in reverse order as many will have already been addressed and dealt with by your team.
  • Deal with the most recent emails direct to you first, leaving cc’d emails till last.

Check through any handovers

  • Have a handover meeting first thing with heads of departments/managers and jot down any key points and high priority actions or events. You can then look cross-reference these with your emails. You’ll often find most have been dealt with, allowing you to re-focus your time on anything outstanding.
  • Get your team to send you a handover the day before you get back in, making it clear what items needs your immediate attention.

Catch up with your team

  • Spend a day checking in with your team and ask them and your colleagues how they’ve been.
  • Have a coffee with your team in the morning and leave your emails until the afternoon.
  • Focus on your staff first, they’re the life blood who’ve kept things going in your absence – be sure to thank them! Next, check in on the people you support.

Look after yourself

  • Ensure you only work your normal working hours and take regular breaks.
  • Pace yourself.

Are you ready?

Regardless of how you return to work, remember, your team survived without you whilst you were on leave, so they can survive whilst you catch up.

A special thank you to anyone who shared their top tips with me this week!

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