How Your Small Business Can Stay Productive — and Cheerful — During the Holidays

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It can also be the busiest and most stressful time for you and your employees. From holiday hours, parties and prepping for the busy season, to staff members taking paid time off, employee productivity can take a hit. You want to enjoy the season, but how do you accommodate all the disruptions to your workflow without hurting your bottom line?

It’s important to know how to keep employees engaged during the holidays. Reduce some of the stress and keep everyone on track with these six productivity-boosting tips. They’ll help account for some of these efficiency gaps while keeping your budget on track.

1. Talk About Productivity During Team Meetings

If you have a weekly staff meeting, address employee productivity during the holidays. Set goals, identify high priority tasks and make sure everyone knows what needs to be accomplished. Address holiday-specific issues that could impact productivity, like shipping schedules and vendor availability. Having a quick huddle will help your employees keep their eyes on the ball and remind them that work doesn’t stop during the holidays.

2. Plan Some Downtime to Recharge

Employees will likely feel a little extra stress with all of their holiday obligations. Consider implementing holiday hours on Fridays so your staff can leave early to get their errands done; this will eliminate the temptation of online shopping during work hours. Or host a Friday afternoon coffee or hot chocolate break, with seasonal music and a chance to mingle.

3. Set a Good Example

As a leader, you set the tone for the office. If you slack off, so will your employees. On the other hand, if you keep your nose to the grindstone and don’t acknowledge the season, you’ll send a signal to employees that they should do the same — a move that’s sure to add stress. Find a good balance during the holidays, and encourage your employees to follow suit.

A restaurant manager and employee discuss goals to help with employee productivity during the holiday season

4. Show Your Appreciation

According to Forbes, 79 percent of people who quit their jobs cite “lack of appreciation” as their reason for leaving. Even though you want to keep productivity high, it’s important to take some time to acknowledge and celebrate employees. Take advantage of the holidays by hosting a party. It can be as simple as bagels in the conference room or as extravagant as a catered event at a local venue. Recognize the hard work your team has done individually as well as in a group.

5. Take Advantage of the Season

The season provides opportunities to host activities that boost employee productivity during the holidays. Use it to your advantage by planning a fun holiday-themed competition that keeps employees on task. For example, offer tickets to a local performance of “The Nutcracker” to the employee who hits their monthly quota first. Or take the entire team if a group goal is met and your wallet allows.

6. Be Charitable as a Team

Consider adopting a charitable cause as a company during the holidays. Not only will you give back to your community, but you’ll also bring your employees together to work on a worthwhile cause. You can collect gifts for children or even volunteer at a food bank or homeless shelter. Companies that organize charitable opportunities for their employees, particularly around the holidays, improve their overall culture. According to a survey cited by Entrepreneur, 57 percent of respondents believed participating in charitable events made for happier teams.

Knowing how to keep employees engaged during the holidays will ensure your team stays on track while celebrating the spirit of the season. Remember, you can always reset in January, and take advantage of New Year’s resolutions for your team.

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