We have finally reached the back half of December. The last month of the year and everyone is busily trying to get everything completed before the holiday season and some time off. The number of meeting requests has increased and the number of projects that need to be completed has now reached breakneck speed.
People are starting to show the strain and in a number of discussions with leaders they are noticing the pressure and the increase in negativity. I had a discussion with a Senior Manager this week who’d noticed that she had to intervene in a number of situations where staff tension had started to boil over. She realised the exhaustion that people are feeling has caught up with them and is starting to spread across her office.
Most people have mentioned that they have been under pressure and flat out and just need a break, especially at this time of year. The question becomes how can you keep them focused, and positive. Especially before many office Christmas parties where a few alcoholic drinks can muster up the desire to tell others what people really think of them and unload the frustration.
I believe that there are a couple things you can do to help create a more positive environment to help your people last until the holiday break:
Reset the Expectations, in a positive way. An important step to take is to remind everyone of the way they treat one another. If people are starting to get stressed out, then call a team meeting and have a discussion. Acknowledge that they have had a busy year full of remote work and uncertainty and that everyone needs a break and that we still want to create a positive culture over the next couple of weeks. I know of one client that used post it notes and had their staff identify 3 things that were stressing them out and put them on a wall so everyone was aware of it. Sometimes allowing staff to verbalise the pressure that they are feeling allows them to reduce some of the pressure and be able to move forward.
Let them know you appreciate them. Let your staff know that you do appreciate them and the efforts that they have put in the past year. Take the time to actively go to them individually and check in with them. Give them feedback to let them know you have noticed the extra efforts that they may have made to meet recent deadlines. Often just showing you care will help give them the boost they need to get to the holiday escape.
Give them a few rewards. Rather than waiting for the common holiday bonuses, start to spread some early holiday cheer by giving staff a few simple rewards. This can be taking them to lunch or getting some food delivered in. It may involve a few gift cards for movies, shopping or meals that they may be able to keep themselves or reuse with their family. I know of one client that organised a massage therapist to come in and give their staff 20 minute massages at their desk (in COVID safe way), the energy in the office shifted immediately, all for only a $300 spend. Often it is the little things that people remember and small rewards can be a great method to help people get to the end of the year.
So, what are you going to do to help your people make it to the holiday break? Remember by doing a few simple things you can ensure that they go to their time off with a positive mindset.