‘Tis the season to be jolly … and stressed … and less productive at work.
Remember when you were young and the holidays were all about the countdown to shiny new toys, fun projects at school and spending magical moments with loved ones? As an adult, the “most wonderful time of the year” often has a way of turning into the most stressful time of the year. Between the pressure of hosting Pinterest-perfect gatherings and feeling the anxiety of overspending on gifts and overcommitting your time, it’s no surprise that the majority of adults feel stressed out and spread thin during the holiday season.
All that stress and holiday madness ultimately takes a toll on employee productivity. Whether your employees are shopping online during business hours, letting projects slide because of a busy social schedule or struggling to focus on their jobs, there are steps you can take to reduce their stress – and boost their productivity.
A 2015 study by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick indicated that happier employees are more productive in the workplace. Their experiment showed that productivity increased by an average of 12% when employees were happy and even reached as high as 20% in some cases. In light of that correlation, we would like to share four simple steps to a merrier workplace and more productive workforce during the holiday season.
- Set goals and deadlines early.
Before the holiday hustle and bustle begins, sit down with employees to assess current projects and set realistic timelines for completion. If an employee directly participates in setting deadlines and clearly understands what is expected, he will be less likely to let projects slide or offer excuses like holiday madness, colleagues that are out of the office, etc. Regular check-ins about goals and progress can ensure that tasks and projects stay on track throughout the season.
- Enhance your wellness program.
Whether you already have a strong program and abundant participation or just the bare-bones elements in place, the holidays are a great time to take your wellness program to the next level. Weekly emails can share tips about alleviating stress or avoiding weight gain during the holidays. An employee fitness challenge or healthy bake-off competition can motivate employees to stay active and fit, especially if they are competing for a prize like a spa day, Fitbit, or cash or giftcards they could use to offset their holiday spending.
- Create an environment that combats stress and fosters productivity.
This is clearly part of our mantra at Multitable. Standing while working increases productivity by up to 10% and improves focus, which are two very important objectives during the distracting holiday season. A computer monitor should be placed at eye level, while the mouse and keyboard should be as close together as possible. Keep an eye on the “B” key, which should be directly in front the employee and in the center of the desk. Healthy, ergonomic workspaces keep employees comfortable and ready to tackle their work.
- Ease up on the rules.
No, we’re not talking about turning the boardroom into Santa’s Tiki Lounge. But some simple holiday privileges can help employees to feel appreciated, happier and ultimately, more productive. Instead of banning all personal internet use, try setting an afternoon hour one day a week when online shopping is allowed. Surprise everyone with a free day off to be used on any December day of their choosing. Treat employees to 12 days of healthy holiday lunches or snacks with options that will keep them energized and focused.
Whether you decide to try one of these methods or all four, tracking productivity and performance can help you assess what will work best for you and your team as well as decide how to approach the holidays next year.