How to Keep Your Team Engaged Over the Holidays
With T-minus 13 days until Christmas day, your employees are bound to have more than work on their minds: Is the house ready for my family that’s coming to stay with me? Did I buy enough food for everyone? Oops—forgot to get a present for so-and-so, what in the world will I get them? Did I get Timmy’s costume for his Christmas play already?
Their attention is divided between their home to-do list and their work to-do list, and it’s common for holiday planning, shopping, and preparing to interfere and distract them from their work.
So, how can you help them truly make this time “the most wonderful time of the year”? Here are a few suggestions, but feel free to tweak as needed to fit your company culture.
Encourage proper work-life balance. As their employer, you can either make them feel supported during this time of year or make them feel more torn between their different responsibilities. One way of showing support would be letting them leave early one day to see their child’s holiday production, or let them work flexible hours so they can be there for their child at their school’s holiday party. Or, maybe you give them a work day from home so they can work with minimal distractions and get things done! That being said, we know that not all positions allow for such flexibility. A best practice, however, is to encourage your employees to use their PTO to spend time with family, relax, and recharge.
Create clear boundaries. Online shopping is more convenient than ever, and your employees are most likely taking advantage of it. Saving them time (and sometimes money), it’s a beneficial way to get all their holiday shopping done. And while it can be beneficial to the employee, sometimes it comes at the cost of the employer. The lines are blurred when it comes to using the Internet in the workplace. Employees may use the Internet for research and other work tasks, but may also be browsing Pinterest for a cheap and easy DIY holiday gift for their mother. The 2016 CareerBuilder survey has a solution for us: Prevent wasted time on the Internet by blocking certain websites. If you’re not able to do that, maybe send an email reminding employees to keep focused at work and use their time wisely. Setting up these healthy boundaries could make all the difference in their productivity, but you want to be careful not to create an oppressive work environment.
Ensure health and safety. For our cold-weather friends, winter can be harsh. Between bad weather, longer commutes, colds and the flu, employees get hit hard during the winter months. And, if they’re parents, they get hit even harder. Kids pick up all sorts of sicknesses in their schools, and their snow days aren’t always accounted for in their parent’s PTO. As their employer, you can show your understanding of their spontaneous obstacles by encouraging them to bring home their computer at the end of each work day. That way, if they get sick and are still able to work, they can do it from home. Or, if their kids have a snow day, they can work from home while their kids enjoy the snow. Another option is letting employees with longer commutes work from home in the morning to avoid traffic during bad weather. The most important thing is to show that you care, which will increase their loyalty.
Have some fun. It’s important to bring some fun into the everyday. It helps to alleviate stress and bond coworkers together. One way to do this is by scheduling festive activities each day, such as DIY holiday wreath-making, learning how to do hand lettering, game day, office decorating contest, gingerbread house contest, and more. On a bigger scale, you could organize a company-wide happy hour, take your team out to lunch, or plan a company-wide holiday party or meal together. As a leader, you can engage your employees and create a friendly culture by organizing and participating in activities that aren’t work-related. If you’ve never tried this before, start small. A little truly goes a long way. But, if you’ve initiated a few programs and are well on your way to a more positive work culture, keep going! A next step could be to give out points as rewards for first prize or send a holiday eCard to all your employees. The options are endless!
We hope these tips help you keep your team engaged over the holidays—and beyond. If you’re looking for more robust solutions all year round, contact us. We have the products, services, and industry experts to help you! Click here to request a demo, or call us at 888.919.7600.