Hunts and Cambs 01223 233047
Peterborough 01733 553166

Hunts and Cambs 01223 233047
Peterborough 01733 553166

Tips on returning to work after a break

You've probably spent the past couple of weeks lazing around in your nightwear, eating chocolate and watching festive films.  You might even have been struck down by the seemingly annual winter bug.  So the idea of returning to work after a prolonged period away is particularly uninviting to many on the first Monday in January.
Here are some tips to help you approach your return to work with more positivity and make the most of your first few days back in the saddle.

Preparation is key

Ensure that you're ready for that dreaded alarm call by doing as much preparation during the night before as possible.  Decide what you are going to wear, remind yourself where you need to be and what the day has in store for you, make a healthy snack and ensure you are prepared for your journey (that there is fuel in the car, your train or bus ticket is valid and handy and your car actually starts).  If you car share, maybe remind your lift or passenger of the pick-up time and wish them a Happy New Year).  Most importantly, practice good sleep hygiene to do your best to be fresh for your first day.

Good sleep

Although there are many factors that can influence how well we sleep, there are some tried and tested dos and don'ts.

  • Do ensure that your sleep environement is relaxing and comfortable
  • Do take some fresh air or exercise during the day but not immediately before going to bed
  • Do have a hot milky drink and a relaxing bath before bed
  • Do ensure that your room is a comfortable temperature - not too hot or too cold
  • Do ensure that the room is dark and quiet


  • Don't engage in any activity that is too stimulating during the couple of hours before going to bed, such as playing video games, watching scary or thought provoking drama, arguing with your family
  • Don't eat or drink caffeine or sugar during the 12 hours before going to bed
  • Don't look at blue light immediately before trying to sleep, such as TV or mobile phone
  • Don't use artificial methods to induce sleep, such as drugs or alcohol.  Although they may help you to drift off, your sleep quality is likely to be poor so you wake up feeling groggy

Positive mental attitude

Try to think about what you enjoy about work, rather than the things you like less.  Remind yourself of all the good things you did during the previous year and congratulate yourself on your successes.  Focus on what helped you to succeed and resolve to repeat that success and start afresh with projects and colleagues.

Get organised

Start by organising your desk and workload.  Declutter your workspace, shred old files, reorganise your folders and tackle your bursting email inbox.  Rather than dealing with each item in chronological order, take time to prioritise and manage your first week effectively, creating a realistic 'to do list' and scheduling meetings and deadlines for the following days and weeks.  Catch up with colleagues and clients to establish their priorities to help you set your goals to benefit everyone in the team.

Set goals and SMART objectives for your new year

When you have seen what is on your list, decide on your goals for the day, then look at the next few days, and finally look longer term.  Be clear with anyone pushing you to meet an unrealistic deadline that the quality of work may suffer if sufficient time is not available for you to give their project your full attention and be sure to focus on what you can do, rather than what you can't.

Don't feel you need to do everything in the first day.  If you feel tired at the end of your working day but still have things to do, go home and schedule additional time for when you are more able to cope with the pace and demands of your working day.  Make the most of supportive colleagues and be a supportive colleague to others if you are coping well. 

Be kind to yourself.  Take proper scheduled breaks and kick start your diet and exercise resolutions by making healthy choices.  Better to have a 10 minute brisk walk in the fresh air, than spend 30 minutes moaning to a colleague.  Better to have a nutrient-rich light lunch than to skip a meal.

If it's all too much...

Speak to your line manager or HR about how you are feeling.  If you don't feel any better after a couple of days, review your wellbeing plan and how well you are looking after your physical and mental health.  If things haven't improved after a few weeks, it's time to get to the bottom of the problem.  There may be things about your work or personal life that you need to change.  If you need help to identify what's bothering you, counselling support may help.


To book a session, contact your nearest CCC reception.

Peterborough - 01733 553166         Hunts and Cambs - 01223 233047

Your employer may agree to fund your sessions.  If this is the case, ask them to contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to arrange support for you.





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How to change your workplace culture

In today's competitive environment, recruiting and keeping the right people is tough and sought-after staff are making increasingly advanced choices about where to work.  Where high salaries and career opportunities once topped the wishlist of prospective employees, work/life balance is increasingly playing a large part in their decision making process about which employer to work with.  Short commutes, flexible holiday arrangements and wellbeing initiatives are increasingly part of the equation and it is the caring, more supportive organisations with a range of wellbeing initiatives in place who are attracting the best people.  Less stress is the name of the game.
As a result, many organisations are looking at wellbeing in the workplace, but those who merely pay lip service to the initiatives and see it as a tick box exercise may find and recruit the best people, but will soon find that the costs of a high staff turnover outweigh any benefits.  Employees rarely go back to an employer where they had a bad experience, but will often return to a good one once they realise that the extra few pounds in their pocket each month is poor compensation for bad management and a toxic atmosphere.  Companies who argue that some employees exploit their goodwill are missing the fact that these are in the minority and that whatever your approach to staff welfare, poor performance must be managed rather than ignored.

So what changes should I make?

Culture is infectious!

Try and look at your company culture objectively.  If most people consistently work a 70 hour week, despite being on a 40 hour contract, any new people will observe and slip into the cultural norm.  Whilst this might give you short term gains, staff will quickly develop burnout, feel exploited, work out their hourly rate, and worst of all, not make productive use of the time they are working, instead using the time to bemoan their plight to other co-workers and spread feelings of resentment towards the organisation.  If the managers and sending and expecting replies to emails at 11pm and 5am, staff will feel that their personal time is being invaded.  If managers are dictatorial and dogmatic rather than collaborative, or take credit for the achievements of their staff and blame them for their mistakes, any colleagues promoted to those positions will behave in that way because that is what they have experienced from their managers.

To change the social norms, encourage managers to listen to staff and work as a team to provide solutions to problems rather than imposing new process.  If people feel that they have been part of the solution, they are much more engaed in trying to make it work.  Encourage staff to take breaks, work effectively rather than long hours, and reward achievement.  Encourage a collaborative approach and an open environment where problems can be discussed openly without fear of retribution.  Put in place a structure wellbeing programme to promote good physical and mental health and encourage people to work together to maintain their health in a mutually supportive environment.


Redefine Success

Whilst success is seen as reaching the top of the management structure, earning most money, reaping most benefits and stamping on others to get where you want to be, a dog eat dog culture will prevail.  Encourage initiative which promote a kinder, more supportive workplace and strive for happiness.  Allow people to be who they are, provided it doesn't negatively impact others, encourage volunteering and helping others, both at work and as part of a society, and promote healthy living - both physically and mentally.  Redfine success as living authentically, purposefully and healthily and promote the goal of creating a better environment in the workplace.


Build a community

If people exist only as individuals they eventually feel isolated and in competition with their colleagues.  Teams need to know each other and understand each other's strengths and weaknesses in order to be able to function effectively.  Difference should be embraced.  Although most research shows that our natural instincts are to surround ourselves with like-linded personalities with a common ethos, team building models all recognise that in order for projects to succeed, a variety of skillsets and approaches are necessary.  A team full of 'completer finishers' will never make any changes or get anything implemented, whereas a room full of plants will conflict and not see projects through to the end.  Encourage teamwork and help people to recognise where they fit and how they contribute.

If new staff are just given a workspace and a job specification and left to achieve their goals independently, they will bring the culture from their old workplace, which is always a bit of a gamble.  People recreate what they already know as it is the path of least resistance, but if this doesn't match with your culture or where you want to be, there will be conflict.  So don't leave it to chance.  When new people join you, assign a buddy who already demonstrates the culture you are aiming for.  Ensure they introduce the new person to all of the specialists, that they know where to go for help and that it's OK to ask for help, and most importantly, ensure that it's more important to be kind, collaborative and supportive than to shine by being selfish, isolated and concerned only with the success of their department.  Introduce the idea of shared goals, company-wide success and humanity.

If we do not actively create the culture we want, another culture will develop on its own, which could be terminally damaging to the reputation and sustainability of your organisation.


CCC can help to support your wellbeing programme with general counselling, mental health awareness and stress management programmes.  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more.



Workplace Wellbeing makes commercial sense!

It's official - workplace wellbeing makes commercial sense!

A recent study by the World Economic Forum, resulting in their Global Agenda on Mental Health 2014-2016, concludes that a mental health issue is not a lack of morality or of weakness, and outlines how organisations benefit both financially and in terms of economic engagement and motivation when practical steps are taken to support staff through difficulties and proactive measures are implemented to improve staff mental health awareness.

For many years, employers have acknowledged the benefits of promoting good physical health to their workforce, but increasingly, mental health is starting to appear on the agenda.  It's easy to see the effect on work colleagues when someone comes into the office in a bad mood, but it's perhaps less obvious when a colleague is experiencing a slow and gradual decline into a state of depression.

However, the effects are real - not only on the individual concerned, but also on their colleagues; in terms of feelings of impotence (not knowing how to help), of guilt (not being able to help), of anger (if their workload increases because of someone else's lack of productivity or their absence) and in terms of general distraction.  To address these issues, not only benefits not only benefits the affected individual and their line manager, but also all of their colleagues, and potentially, the profitability of the business.

For the small investment of only £50 per counselling session, an employer could avoid weeks of paid absence.

For a one-off fee of £450, a group of staff could learn about the most common mental health problems, how to identify if they are a colleague might be suffering from one of them, and most importantly, action they can take to reduce the effects of and manage such conditions or how to help a colleague in distress.

To find out how CCC can help your business, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read the full report at: