Back to School, Back to Work

Like it or not, summer's getting close to winding down. While we might still have some hot days in store for us, summer vacations will start to wrap up and we have to go back to work.

Like it or not, summer's getting close to winding down. While we might still have some hot days in store for us, summer vacations will start to wrap up, parents will start to prep their kids to go back to school, and people who saved their vacation time for the warmer weather and the siren song of summer will start to trickle back into the office. Even as adults, we're not too much different from when we were kids, and getting back to the normal grind after a few months of summer can be a daunting task even for the most seasoned professional. So what tips and wisdom can we take from our back-to-school brethren as we look to jumpstart productivity? Here are just a few.

Take recess. How long has it been since you thought about playing dodgeball or playing on the swingset as a regular part of your day? While those might not be part of the ordinary activities of a professional's office life, there are some real smarts behind those regular breaks: even though nearly half of those surveyed for our Workplace Index said they felt like they couldn't take a break during the workday, 78% recognize that taking a break makes them more productive after they've taken time to refresh and recharge. It might not be a game of "Horse" at the basketball hoop, but it can still help you power through the rest of your day.      

A balanced lunch is mandatory. So maybe you aren't the type to take recess, or regular breaks. But just like when you were back in school, balancing productivity with health is important not only to the quality (and quantity) of your work, many workers also consider it an important element as they consider new employers. From health and wellness programs to well-stocked breakrooms and fresh vending options, these kinds of perks are key to the growing millennial and non-traditional workforce.

Go to the nurse's office. You probably don't have a nurse's office at your workplace, but there is somewhere you should go when sick—home. More than half of workers say they still come to work even when sick, even though nearly 9 out of 10 say they encourage and expect their coworkers to go home when sick. While you can protect yourself with things like proper hand hygiene and regular cleaning of your work area, it's still important not to put your entire office at risk of widespread illness just to save on sick days.

Lead by example. If the teachers who come back after summer break look and act like they're disengaged and dreading the day, the students will respond in the same way. And for managers, it's important to remember that leading by example is the best way to encourage good work habits—including those listed above.

So as you get back into the swing of things after a spectacular summer break, don't forget to channel your inner child for a smoother, more productive return to your routine. And relax—there won't be any pop quizzes, so adults still get the upper hand.