The winding path through the holiday season is marked with obstacles to productivity. Everywhere we turn, we find distractions, seasonal stressors, personal obligations, daydreams and travel plans that pull employees mentally away from their work tasks. The roads are treacherous (literally) which means teams often arrive late or leave early. As they move through the day, their figurative roads are blocked by all kinds of setbacks. So how can you keep your employees on task between November and January? Try these moves.
Be forgiving. Your forgiveness will bring big returns later.
Unless you work in an ER, minor productivity fluctuations probably won’t mean the difference between life and death. Recognize that tensions between work and life can be fraught, and when the two don’t balance perfectly, sometimes life wins. This is one of those times. If you’re empathetic and sensitive, you may lose a little now, but in March when a similar conflict occurs, your employee will remember your kindness and will strive to make sure work wins that future battle. If you can’t bear to give a single inch in December, you’ll give the same inch or more when your employees face future priority conflicts.
Enlist help and plan ahead.
Make sure your employees ask or announce their time off well in advance, so you can prepare. Be ready to re-staff shifts, reschedule client appointments, or do whatever you need to do to keep the workflow moving when key members of your crew aren’t there. While you adjust the workload, try to help without enabling problem behavior. For example, if departing employees need to enlist substitutes and get them up to speed, make sure they have what they need to do this without necessarily doing for them.
Create a festive atmosphere.
Help foster memories of teamwork, togetherness, gratitude and human connection by bringing a little festivity into the office. If the November-through-January office becomes a place of nothing but stress and schedule problems, that’s a missed opportunity for team bonding and trust building. The holidays come once a year; take advantage of the moment by tapping into these fleeting days of warmth and fun.
The holidays provide a perfect time to reflect on the past and build excitement about the future. So, take a few moments or a whole day to publicly or privately celebrate everyone’s biggest achievements. Arrange a meeting to personally thank your entry-level admin for solving a thorny problem earlier in the year, and gather everyone together for big, celebratory announcements about company growth and milestones. Let everyone share in the victory.
For more on how to let in the spirit of the season and maximize the boost it brings to your company culture and yearlong productivity, turn to the experts at Extension.