This time of year, as the days grow shorter and the nights longer, you may struggle with motivation in the workplace. Team members simply aren’t as eager to be at work–and many of them have increased stresses that are leading to decreased performance, from financial worries about the approaching holidays to family events and other demands on their time. Providing the right environment for your employees, however, can significantly increase their motivation throughout the holiday season. Get in the spirit with some of these great tips.

Allow staff to shift their hours for the holiday season

Flexible work schedules¬†decrease employee absenteeism since they’re able to save their vacation hours for longer blocks of time. They have the flexibility to work around holiday commitments, shopping, and sales, which can significantly reduce employee stress levels. In fact, flexible work schedules have significant advantages at any time of year–but those advantages are increased during the holiday season.

Get in the holiday spirit

Provide hot chocolate to go with coffee during meetings, put on Christmas songs, and decorate the workplace. Deck the halls, host a contest for the best-decorated desk or area, and allow employees to share their favourite holiday songs and traditions. Put up Christmas lights using an option like Hive, which can turn those lights on and off remotely to help reduce energy drain when you aren’t in the office. As you engage fully in the holiday season, you’ll discover that cheer is more likely to spread throughout the office.

Communicate your goals clearly

If your team doesn’t know what your end-of-year goals are, they can’t help you meet those goals. Make sure to clearly communicate what you expect of all of your employees during this busy season of the year. Keep employees apprised of progress toward those goals if at all possible.

Offer rewards for exceptional employees

At this time of the year, in particular, it can be difficult for employees to keep their focus on the job. Provide a little extra incentive, whether it’s in the form of a contest for the employee who has the most sales or bonuses for employees who meet specific goals by the end of the year. These rewards and incentives can go a long way toward encouraging employees to keep giving their best, even when they might have other things to focus on.

Bring Santa to the office–Secret Santa, that is

Get everyone in the holiday spirit by engaging in a favourite holiday tradition. Let everyone who is interested draw names, then participate in a fun Secret Santa gift giveaway. Keep price limits low to help encourage everyone to participate–that way, no one will feel left out because of financial difficulties. If you know funds are tight, consider a Secret Santa sock or ornament exchange to offer a less-expensive option.

Recognise accomplishments

Sure, rewards and incentives are great, but many employees thrive on simple recognition. Take the time to really note what employees are doing well. Pay particular attention to the ones that are going above and beyond. Then, publicly recognise their accomplishments. This simple step will go a long way toward encouraging continued employee improvements.

Take advantage of social opportunities

During the holiday season, parties and gatherings often lead to more socialisation than work actually getting done–but as the boss, you’re still working during those social gatherings. Take advantage of this time to really get to know your employees. Find out what makes them tick. Learn what’s important to them. Often, these simple conversations can provide information that will help carry your team throughout the rest of the year.

Your team may need a little extra motivation to keep them making progress and performing at their usual level of excellence as the nights grow longer and it’s more difficult to plan and schedule important events. With these tips, however, you can keep your employees motivated and make your office a more enjoyable place for everyone.

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