Although the holidays are a time of great joy and celebration, it’s also an immensely frustrating period for most employers. From the flu season and hazardous weather to meeting annual quotas and end-of-the-year deadlines, office productivity tends to drop quite a bit over the course of the holidays.

As a result, this chain of events can tempt even the most compassionate of employers to pull a ‘Mr. Scrooge’ and try to forcibly increase the work-rate of the employees. However, such (desperate) actions accomplish absolutely nothing but the reduction of office morale as well as productivity.

Therefore, instead of just sweeping the holidays right under the carpet, business owners should think of new and exciting ways to counteract this seasonal lapse in productivity. So, here’s a list of a few tips on how to boost your employee productivity during this period to get your business back on track.

Avoid being the office ‘Grinch’

During this period, your employees will quite readily engage with one another in casual conversation, more so than usual, and talk about their plans and ideas for the upcoming holidays. So, seeing how such idling is all but inevitable, you have to simply go with the flow and find ways to actually turn this bad habit into an advantage. Namely, one way you can achieve this is by creating a festive atmosphere inside your workplace. Decorate the office with holiday themes; host fun games and competitions , for example, the ugliest sweater contest; or simply throw an office party for your workers to enjoy. This way, you’re essentially doing two things. On the one hand, you’re providing them with a sense of joy and excitement, which will, in turn, help boost office morale and therefore productivity. On the other, you’re strengthening the bond between your co-workers, thus improving their communication and teamwork as a result.

Embrace the holiday spirit with awesome gifts

The holidays aren’t just a cause for excessive celebration. They are also a time for sharing and caring. Throughout the course of the holidays, employees expect their loved ones to ‘reward’ them with thoughtful gifts to show just how much they appreciate all their perpetual love and support.

Accordingly, you should use this opportunity to recognize your employees’ continued loyalty and hard work by ‘compensating’ them for their troubles. For example, giving them prepaid Visa gift cards , some time off or even a free parking spot will reinforce the idea that loyalty pays off and, thus, incentivize them to work even harder next year. Just make sure you don’t forget about anyone (important), or else they might mistake this as a sign of your discontent.

Allow pets inside the office

Just a few years ago, the idea of creating a pet-friendly office environment was considered unorthodox by many. Nowadays, it’s a completely different story as companies, both big and small, use this strategy to reduce employee stress, increase morale, and boost productivity. Likewise, according to a recent study , the presence of an office companion encouraged co-workers to cooperate, communicate, and, generally, be friendlier with one another than in its absence. Now, depending on the type of atmosphere you’re trying to create, there are several options at your disposal. If your goal is simply to create a serene and relaxing environment for your workers, without too many distractions, then getting a fish tank is probably the best course of action. However, if you wish to ‘break the ice’ and promote a sense of camaraderie between your workers, then a cat or a dog would be more beneficial.

Promote a healthy diet

Everyone knows that the holiday season is synonymous with the flu season. For one, the changing weather is to blame for this occurrence with a general drop in temperature and the more frequent (snow) storms. So, it’s not enough that your employees are distracted by the ongoing festivities during this period, but now they’re also worse for wears, reducing their productivity in the process. Now, depending on your budget, there are several ways you can combat this issue. For example, you can provide them with fresh fruit and warm beverages (free of charge if possible) on a daily basis to help relieve some of the pain. With a higher budget, you can host seminars on the importance of taking flu shots, enough rest, and so on, or even set up your own wellness centre. At the end of the day, the thing you should look out for the most is the overall cleanliness of the whole office complex. Stop the spreading of bacteria in its track and remember: cleanliness is next to godliness.

Cut some slack

In the end, when worker productivity gets low, sometimes all it takes is a little break. The worst thing you can do is force them to work long hours, or from home, as overtime is generally viewed as a form of punishment, even more so during the holiday season. Instead, what you should do is cut them some slack and let them spend some more time with their families. Hence, you need to plan ahead and sort out all business dealings and issues before the holidays start, otherwise, you may have to reschedule some of them for after the festivities.
In short, don’t go against the tide and use the holidays to further reinforce the bond between co-workers and your brand.
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