With the summer in Europe nearly over as we approach September, it is time to think about getting ourselves back into our working routine of facing the early morning traffic jams and the school run.

Life takes on a different, more relaxed pace during the summer with the stress of having to watch the clock 24/7, being put on hold for a while.

However, when we now return to the office, we need to change gear and make the necessary adjustments to work mode. emails, work deadlines, meetings, and efficiency once again become the order of the day.

But the summer holiday can also be used as a time of reflection, both for yourself and for all those members of your team. It could be the right time to make some really important changes in how you deal with work and family responsibilities — in other words, your work-life balance.

Time management

You can use your holiday break to think of how you can improve your time management, so that everything and everybody in your life is properly catered for with as little stress as is possible, and hopefully, with maximum enjoyment and satisfaction.

If you have taken up walking during the summer holidays or exercising, there is no reason why this has to stop just because you have gone back to work. Of course, you will have to factor this into your working day but it certainly can be done if using good organisational skills.

Of course, here in Europe it is more difficult for us to maintain momentum because of the cold weather and dark mornings that winter brings — but that is a challenge that we have to face every year, whether we are young or old.

This summer, I gave myself the task of finishing my third book, entitled Show Stress Who's Boss and it is now with the publisher for formatting, editing and printing. It was my personal task over the holidays and I felt a great sense of relief when it finally left my screen and ended up on my publisher's desk.

However, it is now finished and we hope that it will be available at the bookstore at the beginning of October. For me, it was a mammoth task and I had to really discipline myself to get it all completed in time.

So what have you decided during the holidays that will now become a part of your daily routine. Not just a one day wonder — but a part of your daily lifestyle?

There are, of course, many people who are anxious for the holidays to end so that they can go back to work — as they miss their friends and colleagues and the general stimulus of work and the organisational routine.

I was interested to read of a recent research study in Health Psychology which showed that getting along with your fellow workers has long-term health benefits and can significantly increase your lifespan.

With all of this, there emanates a certain personal responsibility. Getting on with those around us is not always that easy. There are sometimes personality conflicts and making friends at work may be a challenge. But, as we spend so much time at work, it should be a place where we can all obtain the emotional support that we need, from time to time

Of course, that supportive friendship does need some effort. Obviously, there is sometimes an immediate ‘chemistry' between individuals but it is building a rapport with everyone else that is usually the most difficult. That is where the effort is needed.

Maybe an offer for a cup of coffee after work or going out to lunch together could assist a difficult relationship, but while you are both still in holiday mode, this might be exactly the right time to make such gestures of friendship.

And if they succeed, they could make your whole working day more pleasurable and satisfying. People who work well together as a team are far more effective that those who never agree with each other.

Key points

  • Holidays are a good time for reflection
  • Time management is important all the year
  • Friendships at work can benefit the organisation

    The author is a BBC guest-broadcaster and Motivational Speaker. She is CEO of an international stress management and employee wellbeing consultancy based in London. Contact them for proven stress strategies - www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk