As the holidays get closer, most employees begin to have their thoughts focus more and more on the upcoming time off and the inevitable whirlwind that goes along with it, rather than their jobs. It’s a busy time of year on all fronts, both personal and professional, so how can you manage to keep employees focused on their work and winding up the year rather than the merriment to come?

  • Recognize the hectic time of year.

Rather than admonishing your staff to stay on target, acknowledge that this is a crazy, busy time of year for many, and you realize the holidays can put extra stress on everyone, and their interests will naturally be divided. However, have them recognize that it’s a busy time at work as well, and things will go much more smoothly if they focus on work while they’re there.

  • Allow for some downtime.

One great way to relieve work stress is to create a somewhat festive atmosphere and make time for a little holiday cheer. You may want to put a fun event together, such as a cookie-baking contest, a happy hour at a local restaurant, or an office-wide (and office-sponsored) lunch for the employees. In the rush of November and December, sometimes it’s best to allow employees a little breather to simply unwind and enjoy each other’s company, a planned distraction that then gets them ready to dive into the next project.

  • Communicate end-of-year goals.

Communication with employees should occur year-round, but as you near the end of the year, this is a time to make it clear what you want the company to accomplish before the year ends and invite employees to act as engaged participants. This doesn’t mean you tell them they have to reach certain year-end goals or risk the holiday bonus; frame it as something they have control over and can work toward together. And if you can find a way to make the challenge entertaining as well, say a contest with a little prize at the end, that sort of healthy competition can help everyone stay focused without feeling put-upon or over-stressed.

  • Celebrate their efforts.

Going along with the idea of the contest, sometimes it helps employees focus when they feel you see their hard work. A simple thank-you for putting a project together, a toast at that happy hour thanking them for their efforts to make the year a success, or small gifts as a token of your appreciation for what employees do can remind them that you value what they do (and why they’re there in the first place).

Don’t let the holidays pull employees mentally away from their work; find ways both festive and focused to keep them going strong until January comes along. If you’re looking to fill some employment gaps this season, reach out to us to find you he most qualified candidates for your business.

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