December 11, 2018

Working Near the Holidays: How to Maintain Office Productivity

It doesn’t matter what holiday is approaching. Working gets a little harder when all you can think about it good food, time with family, and a brief break from the hustle and bustle of the office.

If getting work done near the holidays is difficult, though, managing an office full of equally distracted people is even harder. What do you do when you’ve got an office full of antsy employees?

Consider some of the following ways to keep office productivity up while also embracing some holiday cheer. Don’t worry – these tips work well all year round, not just in the winter.

Acknowledge the Coming Distractions

There are some folks out there who would suggest ignoring the upcoming holidays entirely in order to try and get an office back on track. Ignoring a distraction, though, doesn’t make that distraction go away. In fact, it can even bring down the mood of your office and disrupt productivity further.

In light of this, do your best to acknowledge the coming holidays and the excitement that they bring. If the holiday in question allows you to put some decorations on your office door or in your front windows, go for it!

Don’t go overboard, of course, but let your employees know that you’re as excited as they are to have a bit of fun.

Don’t Set Yourself Apart From the Rest

It can be easy, sometimes, for your employees to forget that you’re more than just their boss. When it comes time for holidays to roll around, it’s even easier for you to become solely the person handing out assignments or divvying up hours. You need to remind your employees that you’re another person who wants to spend time with family and friends. As such, do what you can in order to engage with your employees on a more personal level as the holidays approach.

Also: don’t give yourself more liberties in light of the coming holidays.

You may be tempted, as a supervisor, to take longer lunches, go home earlier in the day, or lighten your own workload. If you do this, your employees will notice, and the office mood will plummet. Take on your fair share of work when holidays approach, and your employees will appreciate your willingness to work alongside.

Schedule Some Festivity

Make sure that you leave time for a bit of fun when a holiday comes around in the office. If your employees are excited about Halloween, for example, encourage them to bring in candy to share with their peers. If the winter holidays are approaching, arrange an office party where your employees can share stories about their plans for their time away from the office.

Bring some of the energy a holiday provides in your work environment, and you’ll find that your employees are re-energized instead of distracted.

Keep Your Business Goals in Mind

It is important, though, to keep an eye on your client base during a holiday, too. Ask yourself, as you’re coming up to the big day:

  • Will your clients demand more of you, or will business slow?
  • What kind of hours do you need to schedule for your employees?

Make sure that schedules and assignments serve the need of your business. This attention to detail will make your employees feel like their individual needs are being met, and they’ll likely be able to manage their workloads more effectively.

Communicate with Your Employees

Communication is essential to just about every element of running a business. It’s especially important when considering your relationship with your employees and their productivity.

When a holiday approaches, consider who has requested time off and what kind of projects your employees are in the middle of. You can use time tracking apps to assess whether or not projects need to be divvied up further as a holiday approach in order for you to meet a deadline. There may also be a person who, for example, doesn’t celebrate the coming holiday, may be willing to pick up the slack from someone who’s requested vacation time.

Keep in mind, though – especially during winter, but all year round, too – that the employees in your office may not all celebrate the same holidays. Do your best to be as accommodating as possible, and remember that positivity and an open mind are the best tools for maintaining office peace and productivity.

Bottom Line vs Family Time: Establishing Your Business’s Priorities

Above all else, avoid asking your employees to choose between celebrating the holidays with their family and fretting over projects at work.

You will want to find a balance between work and vacation. That way, your employees will not only be more cheerful around the office, but so that they remain productive and excited to work on the projects that they have been assigned. Striking this balance can be difficult, especially if your small business is just starting out. Always remember that you are working with other people, and people– be he boss or employee – cannot live on work alone.

These tips apply to all holidays, not just the big block that looms every winter. As you grow more comfortable with your business, and your experience begins to stretch over years, even decades, you’ll find that planning for coming holidays becomes all the easier.

In the meanwhile, embrace a bit of fun and do what you can in order to find that hard-won balance between work and play in order to maintain your office’s productivity.

Cover photo by Denise Johnson on Unsplash


Cheyenne DeBorde is a wordsmith who balances convincing others it’s a “real job” and accepting it might not be (it’s better). Writer, editor, and founder of November Ink, Cheyenne’s work has placed her fingerprints all over the Internet on more topics than even she can remember. She spends her days over-thinking the universe and inflicting her findings on dinner parties.

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