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Do your employees switch off when the Christmas lights switch on?

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​As the festive season rolls around, workplaces face the challenge of balancing productivity and holiday cheer. Like navigating reindeer through a blizzard —keeping the team engaged while the glittering lights of festivities tempt them can be tougher than present shopping on Christmas Eve.

According to a survey by HR analytics firm Peakon, around 60% of employees admit to mentally hopping onto the holiday sleigh as early as mid-December. 33% confessed they shift into low gear due to the natural decline in activity during the festive period. But as many as 40% of people are ringing the tills with online shopping during work hours, a third are making their lists for the big day itself, and 16% have admitted to sipping some ‘festive spirit’ on the job. Let’s hope that doesn’t land them on the naughty list!

Despite the potential for an unproductive December, there’s a sackful of strategies to keep those office lights twinkling a little longer.

Festive Cheer Can Spark Magic

Start by donning your Santa hat and sprinkling your team with gratitude. Acknowledging the efforts of your hardworking elves not only boosts morale and engagement but also secures your spot on the nice list.

Consider surprise breakfast socials, sweet treats, or turning daily duties into a yuletide game. At We Are Adam, we've transformed board games like Battleships or Monopoly, injecting a dash of holiday competitiveness by pitting teams against each other based on completing certain tasks. Just ensure that any activities are as inclusive as a warm fireplace on a chilly evening. Opting for after-work beverages? Ensure there’s a non-alcoholic option for those steering clear of the glühwein.


Get Ready to Sleigh Your Business Goals

Encourage your team to 'jingle all the way' with client calls, festive meetings, and giving thanks through Christmas cards. Nurturing relationships during the holidays not only boosts employee morale but ensures stronger client connections, making the transition into the new year smoother than sledging through freshly fallen snow.

But why stop there? December is the perfect time for a festive declutter—both physically and digitally. Clear space in your office, organise your downloads folder, and wrap up 2023 in a neat little bow. After all, there’s no better present to yourself than a clean slate to start the New Year.


A Time For Giving… But Be Mindful of the Ghost of Christmas Present

Clear communication is as crucial to your team as Rudolph's red nose is to Santa. Be transparent about your expectations, so employees recognise the importance of productivity amidst the festivities.

We already know that productivity drops this time of year. An avalanche of annual leave requests can leave your organisation exposed—whether down to a drop in service quality or a growing pile of deadlines. So, whilst it might be tempting to say yes to every request, be mindful not to leave yourself a few reindeer short of a sleigh.

That said, you don’t want to pay your employees to make their list and check it twice. Why not embrace the spirit of the season and offer flexible working hours? Some employees might not have enough leave left for a break over the festive period, but are battling burnout behind the scenes; the mental load of Christmas can be as full as Santa’s sack of presents. Giving the gift of flexibility should cut down the amount of unproductive time spent making festive arrangements.

Finding the balance between allowing employees to work through the holidays and taking annual leave can be as tough as untangling fairy lights. Some of your employees may not celebrate this time of year, and might wish to use their annual leave for a different holiday. Of course, you should always try to accommodate this to help foster an inclusive workplace. From a commercial perspective, you need enough people around to fulfil client needs, but you don’t want your elves twiddling their thumbs when all the toys have been made.

So how can you fill the time? Get creative! Use the quiet period to review, analyse, and innovate. By planning for the year ahead, you’ll come back energised and ready to hit the ground running, making sure your business is top of the tree this festive season.


Speaking of getting a leg up on the competition, did you know that right now is the best time fill a gap in your team?  Disengaged employees are currently earmarking opportunities ahead of the new year.  If you’re thinking of hiring in January, why not start the conversation early with one of our team? We’d love to support you in starting 2024 with a bang.


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Photo by Adonyi Gábor on Pexels