The holidays are supposed to be all about rockin’ around the Christmas tree and walking in a winter wonderland. So why doesn’t it feel very fun at your office right about now?
Since you’re the head honcho and employee management starts at the top, it’ll fall on you to make the holidays go smoothly at your office.
You don’t have to be St. Nick — but hopefully, with a few key tips, you won’t have to be the Grinch, either.
Tip #1: Tackle Holiday Stress Head On
The number one cause of Christmas stress? Well, it hasn’t been scientifically verified, but we’re willing to bet it has something to do with putting off all of those responsibilities until the last minute.
Christmas shouldn’t feel like you’ve just been run over by a reindeer. They’re here for celebration and reflection. That’s why it’s important to get all of the stress out of the way as soon as possible.
Put an end to browsing for corporate gifts and finally click “buy now.” If you don’t know what to do for your employees, start emailing around for some ideas — right now. Whatever’s bugging you, now is the time to handle it.
If that means cramming a heck of a lot of party planning, gift giving, client relations, and new year planning all into the next coming week or so, so be it. Getting as much holiday stress out of the way will only save your sanity… and the sanity of the little elves around you.
Tip #2: Don’t Be the Office Scrooge
There may be no more infamous Christmastime employee-employer relationship than Bob Cratchit and Ebenezer Scrooge. Although Scrooge eventually learned his lesson about how to treat Bob, maybe it shouldn’t take you an overnight visit from three Christmas ghosts to learn the same?
If you’re a “Type A” personality (and if you’re in charge, chances are pretty good that you are) make a conscious effort to help out employees at this time of year.
Give them the gift of less stress from the higher-ups. As Tina Thygesen of Forbes writes, be flexible with working hours, especially since the holidays can always be a difficult balancing act of work and family life.
Unless your business is in some sort of end-of-year emergency crunch, there’s no reason you can’t take it easy on your employees and use the holidays to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year.
Tip #3: Set Clear Expectations
No matter what you expect from your employees during the holiday season, make sure they know and understand those expectations. When your plan for the season isn’t clear to everyone involved, you run the risk of either:
A. You being disappointed by a lack of productivity, or
B. Employees getting frustrated with the lack of flexibility.
In both situations, there’s a disconnect between you, the manager, and the employees you’re managing. Setting clear expectations and communicating them to your whole team will help everyone effectively plan their holiday and mitigate stress.
Tip #4: Gather Feedback — and Plenty of It
If this is your first holiday season managing employees, you still may have plenty to learn about office dynamics. So don’t be afraid to gather some feedback as you learn your way through your first end-of-the-year holiday blowout.
Even if you simply ask around for ideas on the Christmas party or how to handle scheduling, your employees are there for a reason. They’re there to help you out, and they want the holidays to go as smoothly as you do.
Tip #5: Don’t Pick Holiday Favorites
If you buy your employees Christmas presents, don’t play favorites. It might sound simple, but it bears repeating.
You should always buy everyone the same “office gift.” And if you don’t have the money to do that, don’t buy a gift at all. Every employee deserves to feel valued, after all. By picking out the winners and losers, you just give some employees the feeling that you’re playing favorites.
The same goes for granting holiday time off — everyone should have the same flexibility and freedom to ditch the office during the holidays.
Manage for a Holly Jolly Holiday
The holidays shouldn’t be rocket science. But that doesn’t mean you should expect the very best when it’s some employees’ natural tendency to be a little sluggish around the holidays. Let it slide and stick to the principles that got you where you are.
With any luck, you’ll be able to navigate the holiday season with plenty of good cheer. Merry Christmas from your friends at Ignite RMR!