By Florence Buswell on Nov 14, 2014
The festive season brings with it many obligations outside of work, and with a constant round of children’s nativities, Christmas shopping, and trips to see relatives, it can feel like team productivity is taking a backseat. This can feel especially tricky if you run a fleet which relies on holiday deliveries.
You don’t have to approach the question of productivity with all guns blazing. By following these eight tips you can maintain team productivity while still making your employees feel valued – and even have time to enjoy the Christmas season yourself.
1. Throw an office party
If you manage lots of teams that don’t tend to have the opportunity to integrate during normal work this can be a chance for them to all be together and share holiday cheer. If budgets or time constraints don’t allow for this, organise a lunch instead. If possible, choose a venue outside of the office to keep it separate from the 9-5. Competitions such as ‘best newcomer’, ‘best achievement of the year’ helps keep things interesting and can act as a great ice-breaker.
2. Change your work hours to be more flexible
A study from Vodafone in the UK showed over half (54%) of workers said that flexible working helps them increase productivity (1). While fleet driving doesn’t always lend itself to flexible working hours, perhaps give drivers an opportunity to vary their shift patterns. If your employees need to get off early to see their child’s nativity or pick up Grandma from the station, they’ll thank you for the extra flexibility.
3. Have time to discuss deliverables
Being organised is key in the Christmas period. Make sure you have some time aside every week to talk to your fleet about what absolutely has to be done that week. Nearly 4 out of ten 39% of HR managers rank Tuesday as the most productive day of the week (2) so this could be a good day to have these important meetings.
4. Be organised with time off
Have a deadline of when people have to tell you if they want time off, especially when you know it’s likely to be a time which is very popular such as Christmas and the new year and make sure you email everyone to tell them of this date. Set the deadline to clear time off a good month to give you time to organise your schedule and keep holiday on a first come, first served basis so you can be as fair as possible. Be upfront from the beginning if you’re going to need people to work on key dates over the festive period.
5. Consider taking on seasonal workers – but also be open to overtime
It’s a good idea to consider holiday staff and drivers as well, who you can call in when needed. Try not to demand overtime from your current employees as much as possible, but be open to offering it – you may find that your employees want the extra hours to help pay for Christmas.
6. Don’t forget about January
If you’re not careful, it’s easy to let the first week of January slide away too. But, according to Forbes, you would be missing a trick (3). January can often be a great time to focus – not everyone will be back at work, and doing less strenuous tasks, such as forward plans and target setting, can ensure you start off the new year as you mean to go on.
7. Let employees stop work early on New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve
This could be a nice, easy gesture to put a smile on your employees’ faces – and will be the last thing they remember before they head off.
8. Have fun!
Understand that productivity may take a dip. But it’s your Christmas season too – try to relax and take the opportunity to enjoy this time of the year. Knowing which of your tasks need to be prioritised is critical, and which can be considered non-critical and can be moved to the new year will help you maintain focus without being drowned in work.