What is the most effective way to manage a return to work after a leave of absense?

I am returning to work after a 12 week leave of absense.  One of my peers covered my day to day responsibilities.  Upon my return, I'll be taking back my normal workload. 

In the time that I was out, numersous changes occrued:  business climate, staffing, new reporting system, and new reporting requirements.  Ideally, I'd like to enter into my old role as though I'd never been away.  More realistically, I think I need to come up to speed gradually and have short term double coverage on key deliverables / areas.  I've missed quite a bit of time and won't know answers to many questions on my first day regardless!

What steps can I take to make return to work as painless as possible?  My thought is to spend my first day back developing a 7 day / 14 day / 30 day goal document to review with my manager later that day... but will not be of much use if his perspective is a simple "do what you were doing before starting right now."  And I don't want to give the impression that I'm unwilling to work at same capacity that I was before (in other words giving myself a crutch).

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this!



mmann's picture
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If it were me, I'd be most excited about re-establishing O3s with my directs.

Review the One-On-One notes from your peer.  Look for changes to the directs' answers for the opening question.  Look for significant changes in their personal lives.  Look for missed deliverables or any other feedback or coaching notes.  Some people may have reacted poorly to your leave.  They may need special attention now that you're back.

Depending upon the timing of your organization's fiscal year, get started on your own review.  This will help you see where you are on your goals. 

See if you can get your peer to agree to write a performance review for each direct while it's fresh for them.  Ask on your first day when [s]he is most relieved at your return and willing to say yes to just about anything.  When/if they say yes, ask them to give you a date not too far in the future so you can quickly get up to speed.  Praise them for committing to do this for you.


On the off chance that you just recently stumbled upon Manager-Tools and haven't been using the Trinity, now's the perfect time to start!  Listen to the One-On-One podcasts in the Basics feed, listen to the Delegation and Juggling Koan casts too, since delegation may be a pressing issue for you on your return. Listen to the four Rolling Out the Trinity casts.  Skip Feedback and Coaching for now, (yes, I know I may get flack from Mike & Mark on this).  As you'll hear in the Rolling Out casts, you'll have time to listen to Feedback and Coaching next weekend.

That's my $0.02!

    Good luck, I'm excited for you!