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How to Maintain Productivity Ahead of Christmas

The festive season is a great time to celebrate your company’s successes and people to let their hair down, but what about your productivity?

Christmas is fantastic and it’s a time when employees can build closer relationships with colleagues. It’s also a time of distractions – parties, shopping, socialising – which can all have an impact on productivity. It can be easy for people to ‘check out’ physically and mentally.

That final full week before Christmas often sees the majority of workers drop-off completely in their productivity. Mentally, the holidays are already here. What can you do about it to maintain your company’s productivity? eCo2 Greetings is here to help with some ideas.

Read on to find out how to maintain your employee’s productivity ahead of Christmas…

Why can productivity drop before Christmas?

Apart from the main answer – it’s Christmas – productivity can drop for a number of reasons, some good but others for unfortunate reasons.

Most productivity drops from mid-December. So, employees may not be performing as they normally would for half of the month. With many festive distractions occupying your staff’s minds, it’s hardly surprising that they may not be working as effectively as normal.

Read more: Developing an Early Business Plan for Christmas

What are some of the reasons for a drop in productivity? Here are some we’ve picked out, with a few based on research by HR analytics firm, Peakon:

  • Shopping: Peakon found that 42% of employees clock-off to Christmas shop online.
  • Planning: up 30% of employees are planning their Christmas break while 35% are planning for the day itself.
  • Anxiety: some staff may feel they have too much to do to focus on work. It’s understandable with a young family or looking after relatives, especially if you have people staying at your home. 32% say they have too much to plan ahead of Christmas day.
  • Exhaustion: work can be tiring for many and when Christmas rolls around, it can be the light at the end of the tunnel for employees. 21% admit to feeling simply ‘burnt-out’ in December.
  • Distractions: when employees are distracted, what you do as a business can also be at fault – even if you don’t intend to be. 19% said workplace activities, such as Secret Santa or the office party were to blame. Just consider this when trying to let your employees relax over December.
  • Less work: depending on your industry, it can be the case that employees have less to do because suppliers may be on shutdown. 32% of respondents to Peakon say it was simply the case that business has slowed down and there’s less to do.

For many of these points, you have to understand that we’re all human, and it pays to try to understand what is going on with your staff. Acknowledge that this dip is inevitable and plan around it. Most industries, apart from retail, see a slow down so you should be able to trust your employees to relax.

Read more: How Businesses can save Themselves & Employees Money at Christmas

Show empathy and listen to your employees, especially for mental health worries around this time of year. Stress can shoot up around Christmas, which can seriously affect productivity. Look after the wellbeing of your team to get the best out of them.

How to maintain or improve productivity at Christmas

We’ve discussed why productivity can drop, so here are a few pointers on how you can maintain or even improve it before your staff go home for Christmas.

Be Flexible

There are lots of pressures on people’s time over the festive period, so consider flexible working and working from home.

Flexible working can mean anything from telecommuting to flexi-time. This is where workers can pick and choose when to reach their weekly hour limit. Letting employees design their schedule can help them manage their personal obligations and workload more effectively.

Read more: How businesses can save themselves & employees money at Christmas

Whether it’s schools and universities closing, children’s plays or the Christmas shopping, it can be difficult to fit everything in along with work pressure. Offer your team flexible working hours to manage their personal and work lives during this time. A healthy work-life balance is key to a happy workplace. When employees know they can carry out any admin at times that suit them may mean that they are more productive when they are at work.

Working from home is another option to have, based on employee needs. This is all about making it easier for staff and may be because of child care requirements or deliveries, for example. Public transport can also be affected over the festive period due to engineering works and bad weather. If employees of your team are affected on their commute, it could harm their productivity and morale.

Read more: Best Ways for Businesses to Communicate with Customers

Simply setting up a system where an employee can start work earlier to leave early and do some shopping can help to increase morale. You could also cut the working day as it’s easier to maintain productivity during a shorter day.

Manage Your Time

December is a time when businesses and workers are busy, with many employees finding more time taken away from work for personal reasons.

For some industries, employees may have more work to do in fewer working days. Many people will also take additional annual leave during December, leaving other team members with more work to do to cover their colleagues.

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It’s important to recognise when some members of your team might be feeling the strain of an increased workload. If someone is staying in the office late every evening to finish their work when everybody else is out enjoying the festivities, this may indicate they are feeling the strain. If possible, you could work with them to find tasks that can wait until the New Year to free up some of their time.

You also need to manage holiday time and allowances. Unfortunately, when it comes to Christmas, many employees are more concerned about competing for days off than staying productive. Managers have to pick who gets a day off, and who works. This can lead to some staff feeling alienated, demotivated and undervalued. This could increase turnover.

Learn more about our incredible eCards – Premium and for Christmas

Communicate with your employees a holiday policy ahead of time. You can reassure them that decisions are fair. Make sure that everyone has at least one day off. So, divide up the schedules and accommodate holiday time to every staff member you can.

Communicate with & Value Your Team

Communicating with your team is vital throughout the festive season – to hear their concerns, stresses and ideas.

Read more: What to Write in a Business Christmas Card

It can be tempting to organise the Christmas party based on what you think your employees want or how you want to celebrate. This is a mistake. You could end up spending a lot of money on something that your employees don’t want. Ask your team how they would like to celebrate Christmas. Some prefer a party, others may want lunch and a few drinks or to have a Friday afternoon off to finish Christmas shopping.

Remember that Christmas may not be a happy time for everyone in your workplace. It can bring emotional, economical and physical demands. Some employees may not have friends and family to celebrate the festive season with. For others, their mental wellbeing can suffer due to socialising, entertaining and the pressure to find the ‘perfect gift’.

Discover our Christmas games, perfect for breaking the working week in December

So, you need to listen to your staff and empathise with them. An employee that feels valued is more motivated and engaged. There are a number of ways to show your employees you value them over the festive season. Send them messages or ecards to raise morale, reassure them and to keep productivity up until Christmas.

Learn more about festive eCards with eCo2 Greetings and how to reduce your environmental impact.

Learn more about what you can do to protect the environment and reduce your carbon footprint with our eCo2 Greetings blog.

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