5 ways to navigate the January return to work (for you and your team)

It’s January. You’re sat at your desk. Xmas cheer feels like a distant memory. And you’re trying to get your head into gear for 2023. No easy feat right! It can feel like you need some serious willpower to refocus on work after all that eating and seasonal festivities.

We get it. It’s something we hear a lot from the leaders we work with when the New Year dawns (and *may* experience here at Tactician HQ). But we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for our top 5 ways to ease yourself and your team back to work while still enjoying the post-holiday, summer-time vibe.

1. Re-engage your team

Getting people re-connected is the first order of business after a break. Whether that’s online, offline, Zoom, coffee chats, or team meetings, prioritise connection BEFORE making big plans. As a leader, acknowledging January is a time of transition and allowing people to refocus gradually will serve you – and your team morale – for the rest of the year.

2. Manage results, not timesheets

It’s January guys! It’s summer Down Under! Be reasonable and manage what people are producing, not how much time they spend at their desks. Be clear on the deliverables and the timeframes and trust your team members to manage their output. 

3. Allow creativity with working hours + locations

If you’ve got a surfer on the team, maybe they want to catch the morning swell and be at their desk at 10. Or you’ve got a mum who wants to work from home 3 days a week while her kids are still on holidays. Being adaptable increases productivity. And work-life balance is a win for everyone’s mental health.

4. Create room to grow

An article in the Harvard Business Review last month talked about how it’s a tough time to be a leader right now and the ongoing support they need to ‘meet the moment’. It could be leadership development, peer support initiatives or sharpening the saw of an existing skill.

HBR asks: ‘What would it take to be a great leader? What do you need?’

Ask this of your managers and teams and watch their engagement and excitement grow for the year ahead.

5. Read the room

As a leader you might want to come back to work guns blazing and feel like that’s setting the best example for your team. We get it. But often your team just isn’t there yet. Their bodies are back, but their brains just aren’t. Trying to corral your people as soon as they return is going to be like herding cats. So, save yourself some time, energy and angst, and wait for the right time to put the pedal to the metal (aka the 27th January after Australia Day!)

The HBR article says 70% of team engagement is determined solely by the manager. And success here is in part about bringing your ‘human’ to work – seeing your team as people and understanding they can’t be ‘on’ all the time. And neither can you. So don’t stress about being the world’s best leader on your first day back. Allow yourself and your team to reconnect, refocus and when the time is right, fire up those engines.

If you need support to develop your leaders this year, get in touch. We offer a variety of assessments and leadership programs to suit your business needs.

Email us at enquiries@tactician.net.au or call us on 1300 110 165.

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