Remembering the message of ‘A Christmas Carol’
In some sectors, planning starts in July and ‘Christmas pressure’ mounts in December. If you work in retail, logistics or hospitality, the workplace is likely to become a focus of frantic activity. However, in the more office-based corporate sector, December tends to be a quieter month, and the emphasis of business as usual can be muted by the inevitable celebrations and festivities.
Regardless of your sector, Christmas is a busy and expensive time for your team and provides a perfect opportunity for you to recognise their contribution, and by doing so, secure their commitment for another year ahead.
It might be difficult to see the value of this when you are concerned with productivity and profitability, but it is worth reflecting on the impact you could have by employing flexibility and generosity.
Well-being and work-life balance
Time is perhaps our most valuable commodity in a fast-paced world. At this time of year, everyone welcomes extra time to shop for gifts, prepare food, host parties, or attend their children’s school carol service or nativity play.
Think about accommodating your staff by enabling them to take extra time off for Christmas shopping, to come back later after lunch, or leave an hour early. Trust your teams to manage their own workload. Flexible working that contributes to a better work-life balance, especially at this busy time, will be appreciated and pay dividends in terms of commitment and enthusiasm in the New Year.
Saying ‘thank you’
Staff are happy to work hard for those who thank them. This can be formal or informal, expressed personally, or via a Christmas card or newsletter. Never take for granted the hard-working efforts of your team throughout the year, and use Christmas as opportunity to show your gratitude.
A reward is always welcome, and a cash bonus will be appreciated at an expensive time of year. While physical cash may be absorbed by general household expenses, gift cards and vouchers are attractive alternatives and are growing in popularity as workplace rewards.
The atmosphere you foster at work can impact positively on your team’s well-being. If it is appropriate and possible, allow them to decorate the office, wear their Christmas jumper to work, and bring in mince pies to share with their colleagues. Promoting some seasonal fun can contribute to positive morale and camaraderie, boosting good teamworking. In any case, a stuffy approach to Christmas frivolity could have you branded a Scrooge!
Pause for thought
Christmas is a time for reflection at the end of a busy year and could represent a good opportunity for a review of the business and where you are on your journey. Involve your teams in considering how the organisation has performed against its objectives and encourage them to voice ideas for further improvement. You are more likely to retain employees who are engaged in the decisions you make about how you progress.
Charles Dickens went further in his Christmas tale, emphasising that flexibility, trust, generosity and gratitude are important all year around. With the economic impact of well-being becoming more widely appreciated throughout the business community, now might be the perfect time to start planning ways to keep the Christmas spirit going throughout the New Year.