There's an undeniable change in the workplace atmosphere come December...
Mince pies start to pop up everywhere; the office playlist gets jollier and before you know it, Gill from Customer Services has declared the yuletide fashion season open by with her latest Christmas jumper.
As the festivities draw nearer, it's not uncommon for employees to slip into the Christmas lull... or as we like to call it; The Holiday Slump.
Work is still a priority, but so are all the preparations, catch-ups with friends, gift wrapping and last-minute shopping that needs to be done. No manager wants to take on the role of the Grinch by clamping down on distractions and discouraging the office frivolities, but how can you strike a balance between productivity and a cheerful work environment?
To help you keep engagement levels high while still indulging in the Christmas spirit, we've got a few essential tips you may want to implement early on:
Plan your workplace festivities in advance and communicate the schedule to your employees so that they can manage their workloads and participate in the fun without feeling stressed about what's waiting for them when they return to their desks. Here's how:
Keep it inclusive
Don't decide on the Christmas celebrations without bringing your people in on the discussion. When you involve employees in the planning, they'll be more enthusiastic about participating. No one wants the Christmas celebrations to feel like a generic or obligatory initiative that management has undertaken as a box-ticking exercise.
Give everyone time to prepare
Don't forget that if you're doing Secret Santa or festive dress-up competitions, your employees will need time to get ready, so announce your plans well in advance.
Make it about your values
Make sure that your company values are incorporated in the Christmas events you put on so that you can use the opportunity to reinforce your positive workplace culture. The celebrations are a chance to offer recognition and reward your team for their hard work. When you dedicate a time and place for this to happen, your people will feel encouraged to keep up the productivity levels, knowing they have something great to look forward to.
Factor in work-life balance
We've all done it – especially around Christmas time. The pressure is on to get everything delivered on time, and we may be putting more effort into browsing Amazon than we are on work tasks. Instead of reprimanding employees, why not help them to find a little time to get their Christmas errands done and dusted? Give them the flexibility of an extended lunch hour or earlier finish times so they can squeeze in all the things they need to do instead of stressing about it during work hours.
embrace the festivities
The holiday season is all about giving, if you're a multi-cultural team where not everyone celebrates Christmas, there are still plenty of reasons to get in a festive mood. Since this year will certainly see some marked changes in how your people celebrate, it's important to remain enthusiastic to keep the morale up.
Without the annual in-person Christmas party due to COVID-19 restrictions, employees may feel that there's nothing much to look forward to. But you can turn this around by looking at other engaging ideas to help everyone interact with one another. For alternative celebration plans, take a look at some of our socially distanced work Christmas ideas here.
If your team is working remotely, they may be pleasantly surprised to find that Christmas is not cancelled and that you've still created a jolly occasion for colleagues to celebrate together, albeit through Zoom.
Offer training and support
This year, more than any other, it's important to try and instil confidence in your team for the future. In the build-up to Christmas, you should find opportunities to give employees shout outs and recognition for the contributions they've made and the goals they've achieved so far.
Understandably, everyone may have set their sights on getting to the last working day before Christmas, but this can also result in nonchalance and apathy about what still needs to be done. Curb any negative behaviours by calling a meeting with your staff and spending some time to chat about what went well in 2020 and what could be improved in the future. Gather feedback and ask for suggestions on how the business can perform better in the new year.
With this information, you can plan some training and upskilling initiatives if your team has highlighted a need in this area.
You may also find that mental health and financial stability has been challenged in households where family members have been affected by COVID-19. This could suggest that it's time to introduce an Employee Assistance Programme that your people can take advantage of and have better coping mechanisms for the future.
take your engagement to the next level:
Making employees feel appreciated and valued will encourage everyone to stay plugged in and motivated in the build-up to Christmas. By celebrating with your team in a way that integrates your company's values, you can keep the focus on work initiatives while still allowing everyone to enjoy the festive vibe.
If you'd like some more ideas on how you can bring reward and recognition into your organisation this Christmas, speak to one of our experts today.
We have incredible strategies specifically tailored for the holiday season, and we'd love to help you make your people feel truly valued this year.