The countdown to the holidays is on. And so are the distractions for your employees that the holiday season brings. Unfortunately, those distractions can unknowingly bring with them a lot of anxiety and stress making what should be a festive time bring out the humbug in even the best of employees. And understandably so when they’re trying to juggle work, home, family, travel, shopping and holiday parties all while trying to stay jolly.
According to When I Work, research found that during the holidays:
- Employee activity levels drop by 52% between mid-December and the New Year
- Up to 69% of people were stressed by “lack of time”
Nobody wants to work for a Scrooge. And while you don’t want your employees at their desks shopping online all day or “stepping out” for hours on end to run holiday errands, you have to be a little more flexible and recognize the holidays if you want employees to stay engaged. So the question is, how can you keep your employees happy and motivated and encourage them during the holiday season? It’s important to set your employees up for success and motivate them to finish the year strong. And it’s possible to have fun and be festive in the office while staying focused on what needs to get done.
Here are suggestions for helping your employees survive the holidays:
- Create a positive environment. Make the usually dull office into a warm, friendly place which will induce a happy working ethic in your employees. Encourage employees to get into the season and allow them to decorate their personal spaces. Small tokens of appreciation during the holidays can boost morale and help to foster a positive company culture.
- Give thanks. Take a moment to thank your employees for all the hard work they have put in during the year. A simple note expressing your gratitude can go a long way.
- Be goal-oriented. Keep focus and morale up by setting a year-end team goal which the whole team can contribute to. The goal should be challenging for employees to work towards but beware not to set the bar too high to avoid discouragement. Make sure the reward is worth the extra work and offer coveted items like an additional PTO day or an extra bonus. Be an example yourself. Continue working hard and producing results. If employees see their leaders working hard to produce results they are more likely to do the same.
- Be flexible. Your employees will be distracted, but being a little more flexible during the holiday season will allow them to focus on work when they are in the office. Make sure that employees have the time needed to prepare for the holidays and to spend time with their families. This will keep them refreshed and motivated during the holiday season when they are personally much busier.
- Encourage physical fitness and well-being. While most people feel too busy to exercise during the holidays, it happens to be a time when we need it the most – and not because of all the partaking we tend to do. It has been proven that exercise gives you more energy and is an excellent stress reliever. You can look for holiday race events that everyone can train for together. Or you can set an office challenge and track everyone’s progress weekly. Offer a prize that will keep everyone going into the next year!
- Celebrate. Holiday parties are a great way to celebrate the end of a year and reward employees for their hard work. Although many holiday gatherings occur outside of working hours, consider having it during business hours, so you don’t interfere with your employees personal time. Either way, a holiday party is always a good way to thank your employees and show that you appreciate their hard work.
- Sponsor a volunteer day. Give your team a day or half-day off to volunteer at a charity of their choice or as a company. It will promote team building and good will. And there’s no better way to lift people’s spirits than by helping those in need. While there are many places to volunteer as a team in the Dallas area that we love like Meals on Wheels, North Texas Food Bank, The Stewpot or by sponsoring a family in need through The Salvation Army Angel Tree, there are great resources to match your team or individuals up with organizations in need: Volunteer Match, Giving Goods and Volunteer Now.
- Encourage time off. Employees need time to decompress and get ready to start the new year refreshed. One of the biggest issues for employers during the holidays is handling all the requests for time off. If too many people are out of the office at the same time that could be bad for business. But if no one is allowed to take off, it could result in resentment, which could also impact how much work gets done. That’s why it’s important to communicate up front with employees about time off during the holidays and to get their thoughts on ways to get the work done and allow for everyone to have the time off they deserve.
Most importantly, don’t forget what the holidays are really about. They are about spending time with family and friends and being thankful for the good things in our lives.
We wish you the happiest of holidays this year and hope that you can enjoy this joyous time and be surrounded by the people and things you love!