Six ways to keep employee productivity high during the holidays

Six ways to keep employee productivity high during the holidays

In the space of just a couple of months or so, the U.S. goes through a series of major holiday events, starting with Halloween and ending with New Year’s Day. With so many major events crammed into a relatively brief period, the holiday season is often one of the busiest and most demanding times of year for everyone – employers and employees alike. That, in turn, can have a negative impact on productivity, if employees are distracted by being pulled in too many directions at once, or they are fretting over meeting all the demands on their time and energy, or the workplace is unprepared. Here are six tips for keeping productivity high during and after the holidays!

Relax. Consider online holiday shopping: many employers monitor such activity (48%) or even block online shopping sites (25%), per a survey by staffing firm Robert Half Technology. But those numbers have fallen over past years as employers have relaxed their vigilance. Randy Wolf, regional VP of Robert Half, told The Chicago Tribune, “Employers are finding that employees are not abusing the usage and are more productive because they are able to accomplish something online versus running out and spending an hour or two outside of the office.”

Clarify. Confusion can be a productivity-killer, as can poorly articulated leave policies that inadvertently allow too many employees to take time off at the same time. Holiday and leave policies should detail exactly how much time workers can take off, how many people can be off on the same days, how requests will be prioritized (e.g., seniority, or first come first serve), and how leave should be formally requested.

Adapt. Consider offering flexible hours during the holidays, whose extra demands on employees can result in burnout if not managed well. Giving employees the option to work late on Tuesday to leave early on Wednesday, for example, could give them just the time they need to go gift shopping or prepare for that extra-large family meal that they’re hosting – while still giving them room to dedicate their attention to work.

Slow. This may sound counter-intuitive, but your office might consider allowing for extra time off (and thus lower productivity) during this period to promote greater productivity later. Research from UK recruitment firm Reed found that nearly two-thirds of workers are more productive after taking vacation time, and over three-quarters say they have their best work-related ideas either while on vacation or upon return from time off.

Comply. Compliance can be a concern during the holidays; for example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires that employers accommodate religious differences in the workplace, and that can impact how employers handle holiday-themed events and activities. Similarly, holiday parties can create fertile ground for harassment and discrimination complaints. We offer 20 tips for navigating holiday compliance here.

Appreciate. The holidays are a great time of year for employers to show that they appreciate employees. That, in turn, can boost employee morale and engagement. According to the GloboForce 2016 report The ROI of Recognition, receiving recognition and rewards at work help four-fifths of employees to feel more engaged (83%), to work harder (79%), and to be more productive (78%). Employers can show appreciation through employee bonuses, small gifts, personalized thank you notes, catered events, fun outings, award ceremonies, etc.

For more information about employee engagement, contact CoAdvantage.