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During the holiday season, your employees are distracted. It’s understandable. They’re worried about selecting the perfect Christmas or Hanukah gift for everyone on their list, accomplishing all those important holiday tasks like decorating, and juggling all the responsibilities of home and family throughout the holiday season.

Even in the office, you’re probably struggling to get things done with all of the holiday fun going on. If you’re wondering how to keep your office productive over the holidays, you’re not alone!

Take Advantage Of Holiday Opportunities

Remember, this is a great time to increase employee engagement in the workplace, get to know your employees better, and develop their dedication to your business. Ask about holiday plans, discuss parties and gifts, and offer holiday events at work like Secret Santa, office parties, and group volunteer opportunities. Learn who makes the best Christmas cookies in the office by holding a holiday bake-off.

While overall productivity may slide in the weeks leading up to the holidays, after the new year, your staff will be refreshed and ready to dive right back in.

Increase Your Incentives

At this time of year, everyone could use a little extra shopping money or a bit more time off to handle holiday tasks. Offer increased bonuses or other incentives for employees who meet certain goals throughout the holiday season.

A cash bonus is always appreciated, but so is an extra hour off at the beginning or end of the workday, an extra hour at lunch, or a catered lunch so that they don’t have to worry about packing one for the day.

Recommend Collaboration

Now, as at no other time of the year, distraction is taking over the office. When you encourage your employees to work together, however, you create increased effort and collaboration that will keep everyone better focused and on task. Put employees together to work on key projects and watch productivity soar.

Keep Your Office Healthy

Take steps to minimize illness, especially as cold and flu season joins the holiday wonder. Remind workers about hand-washing procedures, clean the office regularly, and try to keep the cookies and treats to a minimum to keep everyone healthier.

When employees are sick, encourage them to stay home: working from home if they’re well enough or simply recovering if not. A single employee missing for a day or two, even if their productivity is lost, is better than a cold or flu bug that spreads like wildfire through the office, leaving everyone miserable for days or weeks.

Keep An Eye On The Internet

Ask your tech team to crack down on holiday shopping at work. It sounds innocent enough: a quick trip online to order a special item for a child or spouse before it’s no longer available. Unfortunately, that “quick trip” can quickly turn into a long browsing session, especially if stores are offering big sales, free shipping after a certain dollar amount, or other promotions that keep their shoppers digging for more.

Sure, it’s great for their business, but it’s not so great for yours!

Instead, do your best to discourage online shopping during business hours, at least until the holidays are over.

Be Clear About Priorities

What are the projects that absolutely have to be done by the end of the year? What tasks are most critical? You should try to avoid forcing employees to work overtime during the already-busy holidays, but at the same time, they need to know what projects need to be completed.

If they aren’t working during business hours, they’re going to end up having to work more—and that’s enough incentive to propel most of your employees into action.

The busy holiday season is a difficult time for many offices to stay productive and on track. Allowing a little bit of leeway can significantly impact employee commitment, but you’re running a business, not a party: there are some things that simply have to get done!