The holidays are a great way to get your employees together and reflect on all that was accomplished during the year and look towards the future. Businesses can use the holidays as a way to unite your workforce and celebrate cultural differences. You’ve made it through another year together as co-workers- whether it was good or not so great, but you are a team.
With that being said, office holidays are a lot like family gatherings, they are either loved or despised. As someone who used to organize company events, I noticed throughout my career that as much as the holidays bring us together, they can also divide and create morale issues in the office especially if year after year individuals feel left out. So, if you want to celebrate the holidays at your business, remember a few of these tips to help keep it a truly upbeat time of year.
Be Mindful of everyone’s workload.
While some departments are spending their days taking two-hour lunches and counting down the minutes to 5pm, not everyone is able to do that. Many departments have clients to attend to and projects to launch despite the holidays. Before scheduling anything like an office wide party, make sure that you are doing it when the majority of people are not bogged down trying to meet a deadline. People feel stressed out enough around the holidays, and making it so they feel they have to attend a party at the worst possible time, when they really don’t have the time to do it, won’t make it fun, it will add to their stress. While you can’t plan for everyone’s schedule, trying to make sure you know of any big department initiatives going on beforehand, so you can include more people in the holiday fun. And if you can’t find any time to celebrate, then put it off until January.
Don’t forget about your remote employees.
Whenever I would go and submit our events budget to the Senior Leadership staff, we would always talk about what we were going to do for our remote staff during the holidays. Would we invite them in? Usually not feasible because we were watching travel costs at the end of the year… or would we send them a small gift basket or gift card for lunch. It never failed, every time I would have at least one Senior Leader question why we were doing something for the remote employees at all.
“They have it easy! They get to work from home in their pajamas.”
“They don’t have a long commute to the basement.”
While remote employees may have a lax dress code or short commute, that doesn’t mean they have it easier than anyone else—ah but that’s a post for another day. For remote employees, the holidays can make them isolated or not a valued part of the team. That can really bring down the morale of a team.
Remote employees are likely trudging through their list of to dos, unbeknownst to them others are taking long lunches or lingering at the coffee station talking about their holiday plans. And while there are many perks to working from home, one of the most challenging aspects of it is feeling including as part of a team. If you let your onsite team off early for the day to do some shopping, or allow them to take a long lunch, extend that offer to your remote employees during the holiday season too.
Make Sure your Leadership Staff is Still Present
No one expect the CEO to be working the day after Christmas, but that doesn’t mean the entire leadership team should be MIA during that time. And if you are the business leader and are working the day after Christmas hats off to you!
Most businesses have expectations that departments need to have appropriate coverage during the holidays, so make sure that you also have some leadership team members around too. First, there may still need to be decisions made by Leadership that week. Second, if you want bad morale, allow all the leadership team to be off enjoying their time off or available only by phone in an emergency but none of the other employees. Just remember, actions speak louder than words.
Remember Christmas isn’t the only holiday going on.
The neat thing about the holiday season is that there are so many different holidays that employees celebrate and many different ways they celebrate it. Maybe they celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanza or maybe they do St. Nicholas Day instead of Christmas. In fact, some people choose not to celebrate any holidays and businesses should be mindful of that and respect their wishes if they don’t want to attend a specific event. If you let your employees off early on Christmas Eve but that employee would rather get off on New Year’s Eve, be flexible. At the end of the day, today’s workforce is diverse and that’s a great thing to have, so embrace it and find different ways to help your employees celebrate this special time of year.
Don’t forget to Pay Your Employees’ Holiday Pay Correctly
Okay- seems like a no brainer, but people get distracted during the holidays with all the hustle and bustle of trying to get everything done beforehand, things can and will get goofed up from time to time. But employees need paid correctly no matter what. One way to ensure everyone is paid correctly is go through every possible scenario that could happen and sure you have proper backup. If you need a person that can cut a manual check or a Senior Leader can only sign a check, make sure you have coverage. Remember actions speak louder than words.
And finally, if you aren’t sure if you are paying Holiday Pay Correctly, check out our post from earlier in the year on How to Calculate Holiday Pay Correct. If something gets mixed up, the holidays are not a time to short people pay and fix it later. People are depending on their checks more so this time of year.
Hope you enjoy this special time with your teams. We certainly appreciate our readers. Happy Holidays to all from the Acacia HR Solutions Team!