It's that time of year! One day you are remarking on how it's time to bust out the winter coat, and the next day your local Starbucks is handing you bright red cups and blasting holiday music. Welcome to the least productive month of the year!
The reasons for holiday slackitude are numerous. Many of us take holiday days off. Holiday potlucks and discussion of vacation plans can make the minutes speed by. Our customers may be less interested in buying and more interested in being with family. Then there is always those employees (I'm looking at you!) who take advantage of office internet to do a little holiday shopping.
In past years, I've written about how to keep productivity high during the holidays, and also how to deal with holiday decoration drama. This year I'll offer a few simple tips for taking good care of your team during the holidays.
1) Minimize Friday Meetings - The holidays often involve weekend gatherings with family, and the ability to leave work on time (or even a bit early) on Friday is a nice gesture. So eliminate or reschedule any meetings for late in the day on Friday.
2) Avoid Off-Hours Work Parties - Once in a while you have a team that really wants to do holiday bowling after work. If you know that your team genuinely craves this time, go for it. But too often these kinds of events take precious hours we want to spend with our loved ones. "Mandatory fun" isn't much fun at all.
3) Take a Shift - Is your schedule lighter than usual? Do you find yourself with a spare afternoon? Show your appreciation by volunteering to take on a task that your team normally does. This can be as simple as volunteering to cover the phones so your receptionist can leave an hour early. This is especially welcome the day prior to a day off.
Be mindful of perceptions of favoritism, and of the fact that non-salary workers may see a pay cut if they clock out early. Use your best judgement.
4) Bend a Rule - Consider small tweaks that can make work more festive. Would a casual friday be welcomed? How about one afternoon of "holiday hits" to placate the music lovers? Think small and temporary "relaxations" of the rules.
5) Sponsor a Coffee Break - If you'd like to consider bringing snacks for your team, think about doing it in concert with a peer manager. A table set up for two departments (IT and Finance for example) will foster cross-group chatting as they enjoy their snacks.
It may seem odd, but what I always remember valuing the most during the holidays is time to be away from work, as well as permission to "feel festive" while at work.
How will you be supporting your team this holiday season? If you have an interesting idea, I'd love to hear all about it.