With over 15 years leading workplace mental health, Chartered Psychologist, Dr Jan Smith explains what you should be doing as a manager to ensure that productivity within your workforce won’t decrease during December, making sure that your staff are well looked after, and not brunt out, with 10 simple steps.
Irrespective of what your organisation does, or its size, the festive period might be when your workforce is starting to wind down.
Here are some top tips to support your workforce to ensure productivity during the festive period.
Take a break
Encourage staff to take a break, whether that’s a few days or a couple of weeks. You can set the precedence that Christmas time is when everyone in the organisation takes a break and enjoys the festive period.
Being unable to manage workloads is one of the most significant stressors in the workplace. Therefore, if you close your offices during this time, ensure that everyone feels like their workload is manageable leading up to Christmas. Try to set realistic expectations about what can be achieved and avoid taking on new projects.
If Christmas is one of the busiest times in your organisation, prepare in advance for this. It might mean extra resources are required, so factor this into your strategic plan in advance.
For those staff members who are continuing to work across the festive period, reward them for their efforts and the possible sacrifices they are making. Apart from the apparent display of verbal gratitude, it could be they are rewarded financially, have allocated extra leave later in the year.
It can be easy to set the intention of using the holiday season to have a ‘proper’ break, but in reality, work might creep back in. Before you know it, Father Christmas has visited, the relatives have left, and staff feel more exhausted returning to work than they did before leaving. All staff could be encouraged to leave company laptops and phones at work, and automated out-of-office email responses are set up.
Share with your customers and clients what your intention is over the festive period and what they can expect from your business. For example, if no one is answering telephones/emails communicate this with them and expect a response.
If your organisation hasn’t already implemented flexible working, now might be a good time to trial it. Staff will have the opportunity to engage with any festive plans and complete work-related tasks from home.
Embedded into your mental health and wellbeing strategy could be specific time points throughout the year are when staff are expected more to take a break and look after themselves. This should be communicated in advance of December, preparing staff what they might need to do to manage their workloads, implement boundaries and care for themselves during the festive period.
Many employees will be feeling more stressed finishing work for the festive period. Some will not only have work-related worries, but financial, mental health, and relationship difficulties might be contributing to their stress levels. Some people might prefer to carry on with their job and daily routine. Signpost staff who might struggle with this time of year where they can get extra support. Also, be flexible in your own approach- if it’s going to benefit someone’s mental health and wellbeing to continue to work, have this conversation with them and be open to options.
This month is where there are most absences across workplaces. If you offer incentives or bonuses to your workforce, consider splitting this across December (to acknowledge year long efforts) and January (to boost the beginning of the year).
Keep up to date with Dr Jan Smith on her Instagram @DrJanSmithInsta