Christmas might be a time of year many of us love, but between putting up decorations, planning turkey feasts and drawing up lengthy gift lists, it comes with a multitude of distractions. For those required to work over the holiday period, it can be especially difficult to maintain morale and focus. But there are ways employers can inspire smiles and productivity.
Business rarely stops to catch a breath. Certain sectors enjoy their busiest period in December – not least retail – but even quiet sectors may need to be manned over the period. This is particularly true for companies with clients in parts of the world where Christmas is a less significant event.
But despite these realities, the fact remains that employees prefer being away from work at Christmas. In research carried out by UK jobs site, CV-Library, some 44% of UK professionals typically work over the Christmas period, but only 35.3% of them actually enjoy doing so. The vast majority (70.6%) believed that office-based businesses should not open over Christmas at all.
So, how can a company keep its staff members content when all they really want is to be free to enjoy the celebrations with their families?
For business owners, it’s important to show employees that their sacrifice is appreciated. But with today’s workforce interested in so much more than simply financial reward, it is not as simple as it once was.
Here are 4 practical ways to keep your staff happy working over Christmas.
- Create a Festive Atmosphere
- Organise Some Festive Activities
- Be Flexible With Working Hours
- Offer Worthwhile Perks
If employees must work over Christmas, they would at least like to feel a bit of the Yuletide cheeriness at work. In the CV-Library study, 38.3% of professionals who took part admitted that, while they dislike having to be at work, they do enjoy the more relaxed working environment that exists at that time. How can this be done? Well other than a tastefully decorated office, consider relaxing the dress code, even encouraging a festive dress code. This might not be possible in every area, but when employees are not in customer-facing roles, then what’s the harm?
What do people love about Christmas with their families? The fun they can have playing festive games. Of course, working does mean working, but there is no reason you couldn’t organise some down-time for staff members, during which they can partake in some short activities with colleagues. It doesn’t have to be a big show – maybe some card or board games, or a Christmas quiz. You could also run a Secret Santa, with a low spending limit of just €5 or €10. A comical ‘Best Of Awards’ ceremony, where colleagues nominate each other for special merits and received printed certificates, is known to raise morale.
Of course, playing Christmas music is an obvious mood booster, with 24% of employees in the CV-Library study admitting festive music is the best part about working the festive season.
When staff members are required to work over Christmas, it’s always difficult to be away from family and out of the festive fun at home. But being flexible with the actual working hours they keep can help to alleviate the strain. Instead of insisting on the usually 9-5 schedule, you can allow staff to come in an hour or two earlier or later, depending on what suits them. It means they will be able to be involved in at least some of the family activities.
It may also be a good idea to allow employees to do work from home, thereby giving them the chance to get the necessary work done without ever leaving their family at all.
The traditional ‘compensation’ for working over Christmas is cash bonuses. It makes sense, especially when you consider the extra expenses associated with that time of year. But money is not the only thing to offer. The Edenred Christmas Reward 2017 report revealed that, of the 1,000 UK employees surveyed, 61% did not receive a Christmas reward from their employer last year. The same percentage agreed that a seasonal reward would make them feel more appreciated, but just a little over a quarter (29%) said they expected a gift from their employer.
Most interesting, however, is the fact that 58% of the participants said they would prefer to receive a Christmas reward other than cash. So consider other ways of showing you appreciation. An extra holiday can be an attractive offer, while other incentives from hotel stays to tickets to popular events can also be a sign of your appreciation.