As I looked at my calendar, realizing I was on the books for this week's blog post, two realizations came to my mind. The first was, "Whoa - Thanksgiving is next week?", which was quickly followed by the second: I really don't feel like writing this week.
Looking deeper into my calendar, I started to connect that with the holiday season upon us, our schedule between now and the start of 2017 is a little bit weird. Only three of the next seven weeks will be a complete Monday to Friday, as Christmas and New Year's fall on weekends, creating observed holidays during the week.
Coupling an uneven schedule with the fact that we recently finished a few long term projects, including a new website and a redesign of our admin tools, it's no wonder that I (and I assume the rest of our team) is feeling a little sluggish.
So what can be done to combat this, and help to energize and motivate your team during the holiday season? Here are some suggestions:.
First things first, you don't want productivity to slide during the end of the year, so it's crucial to find ways to help maintain momentum through the end of the year and into 2017. Employee & Family Resources suggests that the beginning of the holiday season is the perfect time to start evaluating the current year and set goals for the next, "reigniting [employees']r motivation during the holidays."
Evaluating the previous year doesn't just mean focusing directly on the business as a whole, but on individuals as well. Now is a great time to meet with employees to, "reflect on their accomplishments and re-evaluate their goals," and make them aware of any potential raises, bonuses, or promotions that might be in their near future.
While looking to the future will put new goals in the minds of your team members, it won't necessarily invigorate them in the coming weeks, especially for those that will be juggling travel, incoming (or outgoing) family members, and the overall stress that the holidays can sometimes bring. The holidays do, however, give you an excuse to cut loose a little, and energize your team as they make a final push to close out 2016.
Stephanie Vozza of Entrepreneur encourages exactly this, suggesting that you, "Use the season to your advantage." Schedule a team dinner one evening, and let your employees bring their families. Take an afternoon outing for some team building, maybe go-karting or miniature golf. Or just schedule a potluck picnic at a local park. There are plenty of light-hearted ways to give your team a great time, and give them the boost they need to maintain their work.
Possibly the most important thing you'll do this time of year is make sure your team is revitalized. Encourage employees to take advantage of their time off, if any is offered. For organizations that can, send employees home early on a weekend, or even give them an extra day off if you can, to help soften the blow for people having to travel.
It's also a good time to remind employees of any benefits they might need to take advantage of, like remaining vacation days that won't carry into next year. With only a little over a month left in the year, some employees might feel guilty to scheduling vacation that late. Let them know that's what they're there for, so they can spend a few more days with family before diving back into work in 2017.
While traditionally a time of the year when people zone out on their work, the holidays don't have to completely drain your employees and kill your productivity. By considering some of the ideas discussed, and creating your own based on what you know about your employees, you can spin the typically sluggish nature and use it to bolster your organization as a whole.