The holidays can be a hectic and stressful time, both in and out of work, with preparations, promotions, targets and deadlines, organization, shopping and social engagements… and there’s no denying that most people would rather not be at work at all! But the festive season actually offers some excellent opportunities to boost morale, bring your team together, and encourage positive engagement – a recipe for maximum productivity. Here are a few tips to get you started:


1. Recognize and Reward Employees


It’s hardly surprising that people feel more positive, engaged and motivated when they are recognized for their effort or achievements. Especially over the holidays, it’s the simple things like this that can give your team a boost as they feel valued, encouraged and all the more festive!


Something as quick and easy as a verbal thanks, recognition or appreciation can make someone’s day and give them the motivation they need to power through that to-do list. A personal holiday card for every employee is another nice touch, thanking them for their hard work and showing that you notice them and appreciate what they do.

You could also think about giving a gift, reward or bonus for consistent hard work or a job well done, which is sure to go down particularly well during the holiday season!


2. Get Festive – and Free!


It might be tempting to try and ignore the festive season because there’s so much that needs to get done, and you don’t want to remind your employees that they could be somewhere else! But acknowledging and celebrating the holidays within work time, through small but fun and creative activities – costumes, competitions, sweepstakes, or festive breakouts – is a great way to keep up morale and build team spirit.


If you’re asking employees to work long days and stay late over the busy holiday season, it’s not a massive stretch to throw a free lunch and/or dinner into the bargain, too. You’d be surprised how much of a difference this can make to employee motivation, and it’s another great way to bring you all together as a team.


3. Keep Communication Strong


With most employees taking at least some time off over the holidays, as well as the rush of seasonal promotions and deadlines, clear and consistent communication is more vital than ever. This might mean scheduling a few extra meetings over the peak season, just to make sure that everyone is happy with what needs to be done, and where their own responsibilities lie.


Be clear about who will be in the office and who will be on leave, delegate responsibilities, and give plenty of advanced notice about the deadlines that need to be met. When people are informed and kept in the loop, they are more confident and positive in their work, and it keeps your business goals on track at the same time.


4. Encourage Flexible Hours


Even if it’s not the way you usually do things, encouraging flexible working over the holidays is a sure fire way to keep your team engaged and positive. Maintaining a healthy work/life balance is more important than ever at this time of year, and will be at the forefront of people’s minds.


You’re all likely to have extra family commitments or occasions to accommodate into your schedule, as well as errands that need running and shopping that you need to get done before closing, so flexi-time makes it easier for you and your team to manage yourselves effectively, while still fulfilling work responsibilities and meeting deadlines. This freedom and flexibility not only helps to boost morale but also keeps stress levels at bay as people are able to balance their various commitments.


5. Make Space for Relaxation, Health & Wellness


We are most focused and productive in our work when we are healthy and refreshed in ourselves. That’s why it’s a great idea – for you, for your team and for your business – to provide opportunities to step away from the desk, switch off, and revitalize the body and mind in a different way. You could arrange for an instructor to come in and lead a short fitness or yoga class to break up the day, organize regular meditation and wellness sessions, or encourage the team to take a walk around the block rather than sitting in a meeting room.


When you feel positive and motivated, this overflows to your team, and when your people are boosted, engaged and in the festive mood, your customers and clients will pick up on this too. Instead of grinding away in a workplace full of tired, stressed and resentful employees, why not explore a few simple ways of giving yourself and your team permission to embrace the holiday spirit!