Maximize your employees’ productivity. Embrace the holidays—throw a party, give a bonus.
It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the least productive time at work.
Employees struggle to focus on their jobs when the holidays are calling. They are busy shopping for gifts, planning trips to see relatives, caring for kids on vacation, coping with holiday drama and worried about how they’re going to get everything done in time. With all these distractions, it’s difficult to keep them engaged at work.
As the pressures outside work mount, workplace productivity slips.
But the show—or the business, must go on.
Your company’s goals do not vanish from Thanksgiving to after New Year’s Day, or even later in Puerto Rico where the Christmas spirit lingers until the beginning of February.
As a business owner or manager, it’s your job to keep your team on task throughout the holidays, with their minds mostly on day-to-day operations rather than on shopping lists, travel plans and Coquito.
Maintaining employee productivity during the holiday season can be challenging, but it’s not impossible.
Here’s how to maximize employee productivity during the holidays.
1. Offer flexible hours
With so many social responsibilities, workers may have a difficult time making it to work and leaving at the same time every day. A flexible schedule—shifts that start and end earlier or later than usual—can help employees be more productive when they are in the office.
Flexible hours can increase employee productivity and engagement by easing the holiday-induced psychological burden of too much to do outside work. Employees are less preoccupied with their pressing holiday to-do lists when they are able to cross items off them. As long as the work gets done, flexible hours should not be a problem.
If nothing else, let employees out early on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and avoid overtime unless it’s absolutely necessary.
2. Create a festive atmosphere
You can’t beat them, so you might as well join them and get in the holiday mood.
Show employees that you’re human and that you care about their enjoyment by:
- Throwing parties
- Decking the office with festive decorations
- Holding special events, such as Secret Santa
“From experience, we have discovered that doing something special for our staff, like throwing a Christmas party, leads to happier employees that are more productive during times when productivity tends to go down,” says Brenda Marrero, president and CEO of human resources firm BMA Group.
And another thing: food. In a survey conducted by Seamless Corporate Accounts, 57% respondents said that food-based perks make them feel more valued and appreciated by their employers, and 50% said food in the office makes them feel more satisfied with their employers. So bring treats and food for your employees. They’ll love you for it!
3. Give a holiday bonus
A holiday bonus can go a long way to make employees feel valued. The more valued they feel, the more engaged and productive they are.
Simple actions can do a lot to raise staff morale and motivate and inspire employees to be more productive during the holidays. Consider:
- Small bonuses
- Simple personalized gifts
- Handwritten thank you notes
“Since the economy stated going south, we’re one of few companies in Puerto Rico still giving Christmas bonuses to our employees,” notes Marrero of BMA Group.
Another way to connect with employees during the holidays is to give out recognition awards for a job well done. Daily or weekly awards encourage friendly competition and keep everyone guessing who the next recipient will be.
According to Globoforce’s Workforce Mood Tracker report, 86% of employees say that being recognized motivates them in their job.
4. Allow employees to work from home
Letting employees telecommute one day a week, for example, can reduce the number of days they take off to handle personal matters and, therefore, increases productivity during the holidays.
Employees welcome the chance to improve their work-life balance, and most show their gratitude by being productive while working from home.
If telecommuting is not an option in your company, you could give your employees a day or half a day off to take care of holiday business. Research consistently shows that time off increases productivity in employees, who come back more relaxed and ready to work.
5. Organize a company outing
Treat your staff to lunch. Go on a field trip. Take them to an amusement park or a museum. Go bowling, paintballing, rappelling. The point is to have fun. It’s that time of year.
A day of fun will recharge them, help them bond as a group and make them feel appreciated, all of which helps boost productivity during the tough holiday season.
The bottom line: You might as well embrace the holidays.
They are here to stay. Following these tips, your company can help ease the holiday stress rather than add to it. Give yourself the gift of a less stressed, more productive workforce.