We get it. It’s the end of a really challenging year, and your employees are caught between an overload of work to complete before they go on holiday and their natural inclination to start winding down.
End-of-year burnout blues
How can you keep your team motivated and goal orientated as you head towards the holiday season?
Tip 1: Say thanks! It can be with a meaningful gift or even just a handwritten card or note. It’s a small touch, but gives a powerful message of personal recognition and gratitude for a job well done.
Tip 2: Show your appreciation with a team or company outing! While you may have official end-of-year functions already in place, a fun offsite excursion which includes team-building exercises and goal setting will help set everyone up for a positive New Year.
Tip 3: Reward and award! If you don’t already, introduce employee awards which not only recognise their business achievements (for example, highest sales) but celebrate those all-important soft skills (most supportive, most helpful, most likely to bring in cake for the team, etc). Share the list of award recipients in company emails and on the intranet.
Tip 4: Free food! Whether it’s boxes of summer fruit in the lunchroom or delivery pizzas for lunch, nothing says you care like free-for-all food! While this survey may be a little dated it sums up the appeal of supplying edible perks beautifully: “57% of respondents said food-based perks make them feel more valued and appreciated by their employers, and 50% said food in the office makes them feel more satisfied with their employers." You can’t argue with a happy tummy!
Tip 5: Relax and rejuvenate: Pamper your employees with in-office back and shoulder massages. Bring in a professional masseuse, or offer lunchtime or after-work yoga or meditation classes to help your people over that final hurdle!
Tip 6: Run staff competitions (but fun ones!): Whether it’s ugly Christmas knitwear, best Christmas muffins, or fitness challenges - a bit of friendly competition adds to the fun of the season (especially when some appropriate prizes are up for grabs).
Tip 7: Offer an in-house gift wrapping or gift buying service: Balancing work pressures with the stress of finding and wrapping the perfect gift for friends and family members is a tough one.
Consider recruiting and making available a gift wrapper for a day, or a personal shopper, or even make a range of suitable gifts available through the business.
Back to work blues
As well as dealing with employees’ loss of motivation as they head up to their holidays, there’s also the post-holiday blues to consider. And if not addressed, the PHBs can lead to low productivity and even clusters of resignations.
According to Glassdoor, January is the month when close to 20% of employees think about changing jobs.
Employees may be daunted by the workload they know they have to pick up when they return to the office, or they’re are just reluctant to say goodbye to the more leisurely pace of holiday life. While some time out helps recharge the batteries, it also provides some space and distance in which to consider life choices – including workplace happiness.
So, how do you keep them motivated and engaged when they come back from holiday?
Tip 8: Be fair. Apply an even hand to scheduling holidays. Failure to do so can lead to an increase in absenteeism for starters. Those who are carrying the workload burden will be more stressed and disengaged, and more likely to start to look around for new opportunities. It’s important to support, listen to, and officially acknowledge those that have held the fort over the holidays.
Tip 9: Top up on sunlight. It’s hard to go from basking in the sun to lockdown in an office. Encourage employees to take breaks outside, and even offer flexible hours so they can enjoy more afterhours outdoors activities.
Tip 10: Celebrate summer as a team! Share picnic lunches (even if it’s in the lunchroom), hold after-work BBQs, and organise summer activities that boost morale.
A little imagination and effort can go a long way to making sure that while your employees finish the year on a high, they’re also enthused and excited about coming back to work in the New Year.