It’s the most wonderful time of the year — attending holiday parties, shopping for presents, baking and cooking, and traveling to see family. With all of the holiday festivities, it is easy to get distracted and let your productivity at work slip. For managers, it can be difficult to keep your staff on task. Occupied with running errands and taking vacations, your employees drop activities, like prospecting and networking. The excuse often is that the other businesses or partners you rely on are “disappearing” for the holidays. In reality, work-related travel and meetings do decrease around this time, which means other business people are more likely to be available.
Stress also increases for many people during the holiday season with the pressures of family, finances to buy presents and an overall increase in activities. And don’t forget hangovers! Seriously, employees may be getting less sleep as they are going out later some evenings at seasonal events, family get-togethers or even supplier-sponsored events.
Despite all the hoopla, for many businesses, especially retail, the holiday season is actually the busiest time of the year. There is no excuse to be unproductive just because the holidays are coming up. Businesses should strive to finish Q4 on a high note and to start the new year off great as well. So don’t be lulled into complacency by the holiday myth of “nobody is working.” Here are some management tips that can help motivate your staff to maintain productivity at this time of year:
Tie bonuses to results.
Incentivize productivity by showing a direct correlation between achieving goals and receiving a reward. Have contests within the office. Everybody needs extra cash around the holidays. Find a fun way to encourage a little competition, enhance employee engagement, and keep everyone focused.
Set goals early and communicate expectations clearly.
Plan ahead and make sure your bases are covered before everyone goes on vacation. Having a clear plan of action will keep everyone on task and will ensure who is responsible for each assignment. Don’t wait until it is too late and difficult to track everyone down.
Focus less on hours and more on results.
Emphasize the importance of the quality of the work and not the amount of time that went into it. Encourage staff to operate with an end result in mind. Help them to set targets and find efficient ways to achieve them.
Hire extra temporary staff.
If this is your busiest time of the year, hiring extra temp staff will keep your regular employees from being overworked. If the full-time staff is stretched too thin, things may start to slip through the cracks, and the company could miss out on valuable opportunities during this crucial time.
Allow staff to work from home.
Instead of giving employees a lot of time off, consider letting them work remotely some days. Trusting your staff with this flexibility gives them the chance to balance both work and personal obligations and will result in a happier and less stressed workforce.
Communicate more frequently with employees.
This doesn’t have to be with long meetings. Simply initiating quick passing conversations in the hall or touching base virtually via instant messages, texts, emails or even quick voicemails will do the trick. Checking in with your employees will let them know that you are keeping track of what they’re doing and will discourage them from slacking off.
Make this time of year not just about cookies, eggnog, and holiday bonuses. Find ways to bring your staff together in an organized and results-oriented way, and you’ll be the one who is spreading good cheer.