Nov. 4, 2016 // WorkLife Wisdom: Transitioning Back to Work from Military Service
Returning to work from any extended period of absence can be difficult. This is certainly true for those returning from military service. It is important for those returning, as well as for those to whom they’re returning, to work together to make the transition easier for everyone. The following suggestions may help.
For Those Returning from Military Service
Like other areas of your life, your work environment may be somewhat different when you return. You may be worried about changes that have taken place and how you’ll fit back into the organizational structure. You’ll also experience a change of pace and activity in your workday as opposed to what you experienced during your deployment. The key is to focus on transitioning back to work at your own pace and to talking with your colleagues about what’s changed.
You may also encounter new faces when you return to the workplace. Both you and the new people will need to take some time to get to know one another. This is especially true if you are in a supervisory role. In time, you, your familiar colleagues, and your new team members will learn to work together effectively.
For Those Who Remained
You might feel a little unsure about how to welcome your colleagues back from the military. The most important thing to do is remember that they’re probably feeling much the same way. At the same time, your perspective on their deployment could be very different from theirs. Keep in mind that it is not whose perception is “right” and whose perception is “wrong.” The point is simply that you need to be sensitive to their concerns as well as to your own needs.
The core situation is similar to any colleague who is returning to work after a period of absence. Things have likely changed during that time, and everyone adjusts to change in their own way. Be sure to explain new processes, describe how decisions were made and solicit his or her thoughts. Open, honest communication is critical to reforming your team.
If the Transition to Civilian Life is Overwhelming
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