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Keeping Your Office Productive During the Holidays

By Townes Haas   |    November 24, 2015   |    11:47 AM

Maintain Employee Productivity Throughout the Holiday Season with These Tips

Keeping your team on track during the holidays can be a tall order. Everyone’s calendars and to-do lists are filled with holiday-related errands, parties to host and attend, and plans for how to enjoy some well-earned time off. The holiday season isn’t just about the holidays, either. The end of the year is a busy time for business-related tasks, too.

It’s a lot to juggle, so how do you make sure your staff stays on task while still maintaining a festive mood? Here are some tips and tricks for keeping your office productive during the holidays.

Plan ahead, before the holidays

The best way to curb the holiday craziness is to be proactive and plan ahead. Think about previous years when you sit down to plan — how did the holiday season go? Did you receive customer complaints because there weren’t enough in-office staff? Did the annual holiday party take more time to plan than intended? Use past years as a benchmark that will help you determine just how hectic this time of the year can be in your company.

Here are some ideas that will help you plan ahead:

  • Create a shared calendar so that employees can mark or request their out-of-office days. Try to do this as soon as possible, especially if your office requires a certain number of staff members during business hours.
  • Spread end of the year goals throughout Q4. Your employees will be understandably overwhelmed if the year’s biggest projects are due right before the end of December.
  • If your company will have large projects due in November and December make sure that employees know about them ahead of time.

Maintain open office communication during the holidays

Communication is important throughout the year, but when busy holiday schedules come into play it’s more useful than ever. Before things get too busy consider sitting down with each of your team members to discuss goals, priorities, and any obstacles that could get in the way of productivity (like increased numbers of out of office staff). Working with your employees to set clear goals and priorities will help them stay on track through the end of the year.

Allow telecommuting during the holidays

Give your staff an incentive to stay productive and allow them to work from home occasionally during November and December. How many days you’re willing to offer is up to you, but you may want to consider using telecommuting privileges as a reward for meeting goals or deadlines. Employees will appreciate the extra time gained from not having to commute into the office and you may even find that they’re more productive than usual.

To learn about getting the most out telecommuting, read more about adopting a nontraditional work schedule.

Embrace the holiday season at work

All work and no play can make for some very grumpy employees, especially during the holidays. You don’t need to plan an elaborate office party, but try to embrace the festivities on some level. You could plan an after-hours happy hour, have lunch catered in, host a gift exchange, or just let employees take a few hours “off” to help decorate the office. The holidays are also a great time to let employees know that you recognize and appreciate their hard work. Year end bonuses and gifts are great, but even a thoughtful thank you note that praises their job performance will be a welcome surprise.


Whatever you choose to do, your employees will certainly be grateful for some holiday cheer during their workdays. With some planning you’ll even be able to keep everyone productive through the New Year!