When the summer holiday season comes to an end, for many of us, the all too familiar “back to school” feeling descends along with the pumpkin spice latte: the final nail in the coffin which signifies 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.

In order to give teams the best chance of succeeding in the post-holiday season, now is a good time to do an audit of workplace processes and practices to improve workflow and security while warding off the back to work blues:

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 minutes. Minutes are not an outdated formality. 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.

Run All Those Ignored Software Updates

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 up your IT infrastructure to unknown threats.

Update Outdated Passwords

You know the story: you return from two weeks in the sun and can’t remember what you ate for dinner the night before, let alone a single password. Meanwhile, IT must ensure employees aren’t using weak, duplicate, and outdated passwords.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 open Wi-Fi, potentially putting enterprise data at risk to hackers. To help simplify this process and secure all of your passwords, employees can use a password manager such as LastPass and take the LastPass Security Challenge. This quick tool 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.

Making work simpler and more pleasant 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.