Don't Let Hectic Holidays Slow Down Productivity

Make sure your employees stay on track during the busy months ahead.

The winter holiday season is traditionally the busiest time ofthe year for most businesses, with parties, decorating, giftexchanging and year-end administrative requirements all competingwith the seasonal demands of your customers and the general needsof your business. With all the distractions, how can you keep youremployees on track?

The first step is to decide exactly how productive youremployees need to be, says Peggy Isaacson, a human resourcesconsultant in Orlando, Florida. "Think about what productivitylevels are really necessary," Isaacson says.

Next, review previous holiday seasons to determine whetherbusiness suffered. With this information, you can develop a planthat allows you to maintain productivity and avoid repeating yourmistakes. Make it a companywide effort; people are more willing tobuy into a solution they've helped create. Isaacson says youmay need to come up with a fair way to allocate vacation time, andyou may want to set limits on gift-giving and parties.

Finally, be especially sensitive to your employees during thestressful time between Thanksgiving and the end of the year.Remember that as challenging as holidays can be in the workplace,they can be even more difficult on a personal level. Look for waysto help relieve stress, such as having lunch catered or paying fora massage therapist to come in and give back and neck massages toemployees. "Above all, talk to your employees frequently, andlet them know how much you appreciate their efforts," saysIsaacson.

Once January arrives, provide your employees with feedback tolet them know how well the plan worked-and start thinking about howyou can make next year's holidays even better.

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