How to Beat The Back-To-Work Blues

It’s that time of year when summer is over and the all too familiar “back to school” feeling descends, along with the pumpkin spice latte; a sign of the end of the warmth and sunshine. The out of office replies have been removed, the coffee is being poured by the gallon and employees often struggle to exit vacation mode and regain productivity. This can also lead to unwanted security side effects as passwords are forgotten and software updates are long overdue.

To give teams the best chance of succeeding in the post-summer season, now is a good time to do an audit of workplace processes to improve workflow and security, while warding off the back to work blues. A few suggestions:

Run all those software updates that have been ignored
Those pop-up dialog boxes telling you to update your software shouldn’t be ignored. Your software is probably running fine, and while an update might just feel like an inconvenience and annoyance, the reality is that developers update their software for a reason. Often to make your device more secure and protect against known threats. Don’t start back-to-work season by hitting “Remind Me Later” or else you risk opening your IT infrastructure to unknown threats. It’s also a good time to flush your browser cache and do a malware scan if you don’t have it running all the time 😉

Crack down on meeting etiquette
Respect start and end times of meetings, making sure not to leave the meeting open-ended. By ending meetings with clear action items, you’re forcing everyone to be focused and productive. Designate someone to take notes. They’re critical to recording what was discussed, what the key action items are, and who’s responsible for them. If you don’t write it down, it’s hard to communicate expectations and maintain accountability after the fact. Lastly, set agendas and allow time for questions. You’ll keep meetings on track but still get to the valuable questions that come up along the way.

Update outdated passwords
For those of you not using a password manager, like LastPass, to keep track of all your passwords, more often than not you return from two weeks in the sun and can’t remember what you ate for dinner let alone a single password. Meanwhile, IT is trying to ensure employees aren’t using weak, duplicate, and outdated passwords. A practice that is even more important when employees return from vacation, where they might have accessed their work email on unsecured Wi-Fi, potentially putting enterprise data at risk. To help simplify this process and secure your data online, IT needs to arm employees with a password manager that will help enforce better password practices. For current users, the LastPass Security Challenge, is a quick tool that rates the strength of all passwords in your vault and lets you know which ones are weak, reused or old.

Embrace a remote working culture
With the right tools, working remotely doesn’t have to mean reduced productivity. It can actually save valuable time and resources. Enabling staff to work from wherever and whenever they want helps reduce downtime while travelling for business or in meetings, out for lunch and so on. Try GoToMeeting for a hassle-free, mobile collaboration app.

Collaboration and organization is the common thread running through these suggestions and is key to beating the back-to-work blues. When your team is collaborating well, everyone feels heard, meetings are more productive, creative ideas lead to higher quality work, and the business thrives. Everyone can quickly put these simple tips into action to make going back to work painless.