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Five Tips For Creative Managers Returning From a Long Weekend
By: Tom Roarty
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From an employee perspective, long weekends are the best, but from employer standards, they can be difficult, especially when you run a busy shop. It can be a tricky situation giving your workers the time off they both deserve and need and then asking them to jump in to a high level of creativity upon returning from a vacation, but it can be done. Here are some tricks that I have picked up and even implemented myself over the years to get all cylinders firing — right after grabbing that first cup of office coffee.
Prepare a plan of attack.
When vacation comes, it comes for all of us, but as a manager, your vacation will partly consist of worrying about the workload waiting for you. To avoid that, make a list before leaving for your time off. Know the details of what has to be done, and the night before returning to the office, give it a quick review. After practicing this ritual a few times, you will learn to actually relax during those hours between writing that list and reviewing it again.
Pre-arrange a (quick) staff meeting.
Make everyone aware that as soon as they return from the break you will be having a meeting. At that meeting, all that needs to happen is a review of the aforementioned list to make sure people know where they are picking up from, and let the work begin. This will avoid the opportunity for procrastination and make sure everyone is up to speed.
Treat your staff to lunch the first day back.
With time off comes expense. Your employees will be grateful for a free lunch, and it will give you, as a manager, time to catch up with them in a semi-social setting. Team leaders who show interest in their employees tend to get a lot more out of them, even after they have been design dormant for a few days.
Late day check-in.
Designers hate to be hovered over, but as a manager it is important to know where your staff is at in their work responsibilities. Most designers will not take offense if they are approached with a couple of hours left in the day to be asked how things are going. If they have a problem, there is still plenty of time to find support for them. However, if you wait too long before finding out if there are any issues, and your designers get stuck late because of it, it could lead to some problems. This is one of those cases where timing is everything
Positive re-enforcement.
Your designers got you through the day? Thank them. Yes, I know it is their job to produce, but you are asking someone who has turned their brain off for the last few days to turn it back on and make you look good. It is not always easy to do that. Creating can be a draining process, and after time off it can be almost mind numbing. A simple "thank you" will go a long way.


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