Talent & Tech Asia Summit 2024
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How-to: Transform dread to driven after a long weekend

Wani Azahar shares tips on how to get your colleagues back into the swing of things after a long weekend, or a long holiday period. 

With the post-holiday blues likely to creep in to your workplace on Monday – and the recent bouts of chilly weather in Singapore – it can be quite an initial struggle to get back to the office desk. Here, we share tips on how to get your colleagues back into the swing of things after a long weekend, or typically the new year. 

For starters, Eugene Lam, regional HR director for Kimberly-Clark Singapore, joked: “I usually tell my team that sometimes you just need a holiday from your holiday – but that’s a joke.”

Pragmatically, try to keep things light the first few days if at all possible. People are coming back from Hokkaido, exotic vacations, and time with family – it’s difficult to calibrate back too quickly. So don’t attempt to have any heavy agenda.”

Remembering the office was still half empty on the first day back, I found his advice to be extremely relevant. It would have been pretty intense should it have been filled with back-to-back catch-up meetings.

Personally, we had a few fun “meetings” in first few weeks back at work. Sharing food and conversations with other teams over lunch, saying hello to new faces, and even the rush of sending out the daily newsletters gave me the spur of adrenaline and energy that was needed.

On the topic of meetings, Ann Goh, an HR expert with nearly 20 years of experience, shared her mantra. She said: “Personally, I think goal setting, a clear communication and engagement will motivate them.”

In fact, ICAS also mentioned that “people need to understand how they fit into the bigger picture, and the part they will play” will help in motivating employees at the start of the year. I can’t agree more as it’s easy to lose focus after a long break from work. Mapping staff’s progress and goals for the year will not only help create renewed focus, but also contributes to a transparent conversation in getting everyone aligned.

On the flip side, I also found that recognising the past year’s successes has helped to keep the team’s spirit high. Leading by example, Aditi gathered us for a quick catch up early in the year to recognise the team’s past efforts and how we can continue doing well for the year. I must say, there is nothing like a pat on the back, especially when it’s a shared victory, to strengthen the team and put a smile on everyone’s faces.

Talking about smiling, Jayesh Menon, HR director for Moët Hennessy Asia Pacific, shared his winning formula: “Motivation is not a linear process so it requires a very personalised approach. However, my one tip for keeping staff motivated is to respect them as an individual and treat them with dignity – irrespective of the level or the work they do. A genuine smile or greeting from a senior leader is the best and easiest way to accomplish this.”

And while we’re on the topic of smiling and rewards – I, for one, would love to make it to happy hour on Fridays (hint!).

Photo / 123RF

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