16 December 2014

Staying productive over Christmas

While many small businesses decide to close over the Christmas period, a significant proportion remain open.

While it’s natural for your staff to be looking forward to the time off, there’s a difference between winding down and slacking off. Here are some tips on how to make sure productivity doesn’t take a nosedive.

1. Give staff enough work to do. Often deadlines are set for the beginning or middle of December, avoiding the Christmas period. While this is sensible, those working in the run up to the Christmas break may therefore have less work to keep them occupied or fewer targets to meet. Don’t waste this valuable resource: give your staff goals to ensure they are still productive.

2.  Make sure you have sufficient office cover so that all the essential work can still get done. It’s not uncommon for staff to want extra time off around Christmas and New Year or between the two. Plan ahead to make sure those left in the office have had a sufficient hand-over from colleagues and know what they are doing so that productivity doesn’t drop.

3.  Plan for travel disruptions and sickness. Snow is already present in many areas and bad weather conditions can prevent staff from being able to make it into the office. If you can, make sure you have measures in place to enable staff to work remotely. December is also a time when businesses can see an increase in sickness. See our previous post about how to reduce staff sickies in the run-up to Christmas.

4.  Encourage learning. Slower periods are ideal opportunities to improve staff knowledge, whether it’s by catching up on industry news or investigating or taking part in a training course. You should also encourage your workers to review what they’ve learned throughout the year. 

5.  Have a purge of your Christmas clutter. If business is a little slow in the run-up to Christmas, you can still make sure your staff are productive by focusing on tasks that generally get left at the bottom of the list. Tidying up the office is often one of them. Removals company Andrew Porter has these suggestions to clear out your office over Christmas:

  • Assign time to make sure it gets done
  • Identify the main staff who create the clutter and make sure they get involved
  • Ensure you have enough bin bags and cleaning products
  • Consider archiving to create more space in your office
  • Make it a regular occurrence to prevent further occurrences of clutter