Hello Holidays, Bye-bye Productivity?

Hello Holidays, Bye-bye Productivity?

5 Ways to Keep Up the Cheer without Sacrificing the Work

With holiday season in full swing, you may have noticed that your team has been consumed by a celebratory spirit. It’s beautiful, right? The tie tacks with the flashing red bulbs, the Secret Santa drawings, the endless potlucks and hallway chatter about big plans for the big days ahead. Yes, it is beautiful.

And a little scary, if you’re the boss.

Let’s face it, end of year is a hectic, high pressure time for most organizations. You need your staff focused on the tasks at hand and the deadlines looming ahead. But how do you redirect that wonderful energy back to the job without earning yourself the nickname Ebenezer Scrooge?

You don’t. You’ve probably already figured this out but you would be a Scrooge if you even attempted to squelch your employees’ holiday joy. But you can strive for balance. Here are 5 tips that let you join in the festivities and still close out the year successfully.

It’s all about flexibility.
Juggling multiple holiday related responsibilities is likely very stressful for many of your employees. Gift buying and wrapping, travel planning, attending events and hosting others… it all adds up. If you are able to offer flexible scheduling, work from home time and/or additional paid days off or even moved deadlines, you will be the ultimate Santa.

Go with the flow, not against it.
Acknowledge how hard it is to stay face-down and focused on work at this time of year. Offer up a little reward for those who manage to do it. But keep the reward fun, festive and relevant to the season. There are probably fun local activities in your area. Set achievable that are within the reach of every team member and buy event tickets for everyone who meets the defined goals and deadlines.  Create friendly competitions that drive extra teamwork but that also include a social aspect.

Never forget the power of food.
Come in early, put on an apron and serve your staff snowflake pancakes and hot chocolate (or just about anything that you know your team enjoys). As people come in, you’re there to greet them with a treat and a smile and another opportunity to thank them for getting so much done. And keep it coming. Set a cookie, cocoa and eggnog (non-spiked) stand set up next to the coffee machine. Consider hosting a few make-your-own sandwich bars. Free yummy food makes people happy. Period.

Organize a Give Back event for your team.
What?! More work? Sure, it may sound crazy to ask your team to do even more right now. But if you choose the right activity for a cause that truly resonates for the people on your team, you will give them an experience they’ll probably want to repeat next year. While giving trees and gift drives are wonderful things that I’m not discouraging, they’re not what I mean here. I’m suggesting a hands-on activity that requires everyone work together, shoulder-to-shoulder, in order to give much needed aid to someone in need. You can sign up to bring, cook and serve breakfast at a local homeless shelter as an intact team. Or you can all get on a bus and spend an afternoon packing bags of food for a local pantry or overseas distribution center. Or you can find about a hundred other things to do. Whatever it is, you and your team will walk away energized, grateful and closer than ever.

Talk more. Listen A LOT more.
Explain to everyone what the non-negotiables are before year end. Explain when you need people there, doing the work. And be sure you explain why. Then ask how they’re doing and listen. You may learn that certain employees who normally turn in superior work are really struggling right now, either because they’re stretched too thin or because the holidays are simply an emotionally taxing time. While you can’t wave a magic wand and make your business goals go away, you can listen and do your best to accommodate people’s unique needs. That, in itself, is a gift that will be deeply appreciated and long remembered.

Paul Beard

Paul Beard