The holiday season is upon us, filled with parties, family, food, and fun. Understandably, keeping employees engaged and committed during this time can pose a challenge for businesses. From the day before Thanksgiving until the day after New Year’s, employees request time off and may spend their days at work distracted by holiday plans. So what can business owners and managers do to keep employees motivated and working toward year-end goals from late November through early January? You’ll need to take a proactive approach — here are ten suggestions to boost employee productivity this holiday season.
1. Flexible Hours
Last year’s holiday celebrations may have been limited to close friends and family. However, many people hope to get back to normal gatherings this year. Offer your employees extra personal time to make up for their lost time with loved ones.
Additionally, there will be many product shipping delays this year due to ongoing supply chain problems. Many may need to shop in-store rather than online as Christmas gets closer. Don’t make them dash out of work and rush to stores in the shopping frenzy.
For employees that help fill in gaps while their coworkers are away, be sure to show your gratitude and encourage other employees to do so as well.
This is probably not the best time for asking people to work extra hours. However, if you do need to request employees work overtime, check in with them first to ensure they are okay taking on the additional workload. Mental health must take an important role in businesses, especially around the holidays. This is a joyous time for most people, but recognize it can also be one of great sorrow.
3. Holiday Shopping
Holiday shopping can be hectic for employees trying to squeeze personal errands into their busy workdays. Let employees know that they cannot do online shopping at work — hence flexible hours to allow for this when “off the clock.” Make sure they understand if they shop online, they must do it at home.
4. Holiday Banter
Allow employers to “let their hair down” a little and loosen up on office banter. People will talk about holiday festivities, shopping, and travel. Let them share their excitement.
5. Close the office the week of Christmas
Most customers and business partners will be out of the office during this time anyway. Give employees a week off — that only costs you four working days! In gratitude, employees will work hard leading up to their week-long vacation and return refreshed and ready to work.
6. Make the workplace fun and welcoming
Don’t be a Scrooge. While you don’t have to let everyone skate by from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, you also want your business to be an enjoyable place to work. Throw a holiday party, hold an ugly sweater contest, cater a special lunch into the office, or arrange a holiday gift exchange. Rewarding hard work with celebration lets your team enjoy the holiday season without overdoing it.
This is a sure-fire way to boost employee productivity!
7. Listen and let employees know that you (the boss) are approachable
Many people have mixed feelings about the holidays this year. Let your employees know they can talk to you about it. Some feel COVID is still too prevalent to gather, and others can’t wait to assemble. Either way, there is an anxiousness looming around this holiday season. If an employee is not dealing with this well, it will lower their productivity. Make sure to prioritize employees’ mental health.
We frequently hear about strategies that companies implement during the holiday season to boost employee productivity and motivation. But in reality, every season has distractions so employee productivity should be a priority all year. So, in general, not just during the holidays, consider the following recommendations.
8. Career Pathing
Do your employees have a clear career path laid out for them? Do they understand their current role and potential trajectory through the organization? A clear picture of what possibilities exist for employees to increase motivation should be painted. Smart implementation of career pathing can reduce employee turnover, ensure your company has the skills and resources it needs to meet new challenges, and even attract great talent. If your employee can’t see a bright future, productivity will not be optimal.
9. Team Meetings
Make sure meetings always include the necessary people. However, keep in mind employees can’t be productive if they are constantly pulled away from their work to join meetings for information that could have been covered in an email. Track which employees need to be in meetings — you don’t want to waste someone’s time in a one-hour meeting that involves them for only five minutes.
10. Bonus Structure
Whenever you give employees extra or unexpected pay in addition to their regular earnings, it’s considered a bonus. A well-planned and executed bonus structure is an excellent way to show your employees you value their contributions. A few reasons you might give bonuses include:
- Rewards for meeting business or individual goals
- Incentives for retaining valuable talent
- Payouts as part of the company’s profit-sharing plan
Don’t evade the holidays — embrace them. Use this time as an opportunity to test some productivity tools and strategies. Your flexibility and understanding can go a long way to building good-will and loyalty year-round.