As the holidays quickly approach, many employees are scrambling to use up vacation days before they disappear at the end of Q4. This can put added stress on managers, team members, departments and individuals. Companies are determined to keep up organizational productivity throughout the holidays, but how do you keep up productivity with less staff involved day in the day-to-day decisions and while many employees have Holiday Brain.
No one wants to spend Christmas Eve in the office frantically finalizing details before the New Year arrives. Even for those that do not celebrate the holidays, most enjoy being home with their family and out of the office during this time of year. It is important as an organization to set goals, and set them early. Plan a detailed schedule of tasks that need to be finalized before the end of the year and share those tasks with your co-workers. One great way to keep the tasks font of mind for employees is to add a visual that employees can see daily. The visual can be something as small as calendar reminder that is unique to the task, but it can help keep employees grounded and focused on the bigger tasks at hand. Holiday brain can really start to sink in during November and a small, visual reminder to employees regarding crucial business deadlines can help keep all team members on track.
The holiday season is a hard time to keep up with schedules and this is the time that employees’ multi-tasking skills are put to a good test. There are work parties, family get-togethers, friends parties, and activities that are lifelong traditions; all combined in to a few short weeks. Holiday brain is in full swing and to top it all off, employees are under a lot of stress in the office with shorter deadlines. Help your employees stay focused by canceling out some of the holiday office noise. Choose one day for the office wide celebrations versus an entire month. Reassuring employees that there will be a time to celebrate and relax at the office party allows for a more focused approach during the workweek.
Arrange Vacation Schedules Accordingly
Remember, there are numerous holidays that are celebrated in the winter including Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Years-just to name a few. These are all days that individuals choose to celebrate for religious or personal reasons and should be kept in mind when employees are putting in PTO days. Managers should set deadlines for submitting PTO days so there is ample time to schedule target dates for business assignments. If you are a manager, remember to be respectful and thoughtful when approving the PTO days. If you are an employee asking for days, remember your colleagues with families and young children at home. If someone MUST be in the office or working (medical staff, police officers, fire fighters, doctors, etc.) those with families celebrating will appreciate the "I will work for you on Christmas Day" from the colleague with no young children at home. This gesture goes along way for company culture and employee engagement. Approving vacation days can be one of the hardest duties for managers, keep that in mind this holiday season!
It is always beneficial to be prepared for the uncertain during the holiday season. Weather can play a big part in schedule conflicts and keep that in mind when making weekly goals and setting schedules. Keeping a team focused and on track is another added duty and stress for managers during the winter season. Try to keep colleagues engaged with the organization during the winter months to enhance their overall productivity by keeping up with the small daily goals and giving instant feedback on those successful tasks. Start by preparing your team for potentially harder and shorter deadlines along with fewer team members available to pick up slack or those missed daily goals. Communication is key during the holiday season and teamwork becomes more important than ever. If you have prepared your team throughout the year for these types of challenges, the winter months should be no problem!
Relax and Enjoy
Make sure to take time to celebrate with your organization. As the year comes to an end, discuss some of the many accomplishments the team and company have produced throughout the year. Invest time in to relaxing and enjoying the success of each individual. Some departments choose to have a holiday potluck, others have the traditional holiday party, and some decorate the workplace and dress in holiday attire. Whatever you choose to do, schedule it for one day. Don’t space the celebrations out and interrupt quality work time. Mark an afternoon off on your calendar and take that time to celebrate the entire year with colleagues. When January 1 roles around, employees will be well-rested and ready work!
Do you have any tips or suggestions on managing tight schedules for the upcoming holiday season?