Top Ten Tips for... Managing Teams at Christmas

Top Ten Tips for... Managing Teams at Christmas

As soon as December hits and the Christmas songs start to play, there can be a noticeable change in the workplace atmosphere. Between family commitments, last minute shopping and festive preparations, there are plenty of things to distract us in the run up to Christmas. So whether your employees are in the office or working from home, how can you find the balance between productivity and a festive work environment?

Here are our Top Ten Tips to help you manage teams at Christmas...

1. Map out holiday time in advance

Before the festive season gets into full swing, take a look at your employees holiday requests and plan accordingly. It might be that you have several key team members who have saved up their holiday to have a little more time off with their families. If possible, try and balance out the holidays to ensure you have enough employees available at all times so the business can still function. You don’t want the office to feel like a ghost town for a week before Christmas!

2. Brainstorm for the year ahead

The end of the year is probably not the best time to launch any major new initiatives or campaigns, especially if you feel that staff engagement is a little on the low side. Most employees will have plenty on their minds and will be looking forward to the last working day of the year. However, this doesn’t mean that December has to be a write off! Why not try engaging your employees in brainstorming activities? This is the perfect time to gather everyone to together to discuss the next 12 months and what you can do to make 2022 your best year yet.

3. Encourage your team to take breaks

Remember that all of your employees are different and while some may be gearing up for the Christmas break, others may be burning themselves out in an effort to end on a high and tie up all their loose ends. While it’s great that your employees work so hard, if they are burning the candle at both ends it can lead to mental fatigue and even illness, especially in these colder months. Encourage them to take a break where you can, perhaps give them time off on a Friday afternoon? This is a reminder to your team that balance is important and that you care about their wellbeing.

Related: How to Raise Awareness About Health in the Workplace

4. Factor in work-life balance

December is an exciting time, yet it can also be stressful for many as the pressure is on to get everything sorted and finished on time – both at work and at home. If your employees are stressed during work hours, it can have a negative impact on productivity and motivation. Why not help your teams by being flexible when it comes to longer lunch breaks or slightly earlier finish times. This will ensure that they can focus their energies on their work while in the workplace.

5. Prioritise mental and physical health

Similarly to the point above, it’s important to remember that there might be several reasons why December can be a difficult time for your employees. As the year comes to an end, many people feel extra stress and pressure and this, coupled with the emotional, physical and financial effects of Covid-19, is an important reason why mental health should be a top priority going into the festive season. Furthermore, colder weather and extra stress can also lead to illness within your workforce. Take time out to check in with your employees, make sure they are managing okay and have everything they need to stay healthy and well up to the Christmas break.

6. Embrace the festivities!

Maintaining employee productivity and motivation doesn’t mean that you have to become the office Scrooge and cancel all festivities (Covid rules permitting). These tips are to help you strike the perfect balance, and the Christmas season can be a great time to thank your teams for all their hard work throughout the year. If you are managing remote teams, your employees will be pleased to know that it doesn’t mean Christmas is cancelled, why not plan a Christmas jumper day for your weekly zoom meeting or a virtual Secret Santa?

7. Rewards don’t have to break the bank

Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on so many organisations and many of those are only just starting to get back on their feet. This might mean that a Christmas bonus for all your staff is just not an option this year. However, there are so many other ways you can show your appreciation to your employees. Why not hold an award ceremony as part of your end of year celebrations? Your employees can win awards such as ‘Employee of the Year’ and ‘Best Team Player’ or for remote workers, maybe even ‘Most Temperamental Internet Connection’ and ‘Most Likely to Stay in Pyjamas’.

Related: How to Manage Performance in Virtual Teams

8. Plan a Covid-safe Christmas party

After last year’s Christmas in lockdown, it’s understandable that many organisations are wanting to reward their staff with a proper festive bash. There are plenty of ways you can make sure this year’s Christmas party is fun and Covid-safe. For many, hosting your celebrations online will be the way to go – this one will definitely make the morning-after a little bit easier as well! For those with larger teams, why not try and hold an outdoor Christmas party? This is a perfect excuse for mulled wine and hot chocolate to keep warm!

9. Don’t forget about training and support

As the year draws to a close, it’s an ideal time to look back over the last 12 months and discuss what has gone well and what can be improved in the New Year. Gather your team together and ask for feedback and suggestions on how they feel the business can perform better in the future, you can then use this to implement new training and up-skilling opportunities for your team. This could also help to boost employee engagement in the New Year.

10. Look to the future

As well as looking back over the past year, the Christmas period is also a great time to look to the future. What are you hoping to achieve over the coming 12 months? Are there any new plans you can put in place to make those goals happen?  Do what you can now so that when you and your team get back to work In January, you are all motivated and ready to hit the ground running.

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