How to help your team survive the silly season

Well, it’s that time of year again when we all get together and celebrate this glorious season in peace and harmony, blissfully going through the days ahead without a worry. Really? If your life is anything like mine, you will be running around the shops grabbing everything at the last minute, trying to find Uncle Bill’s favourite aftershave or Aunt Mabel’s must have soap, or desperately elbowing your way through masses of frantic parents trying to grab the latest (and normally one of the last on the planet) must-have toys or trinkets. That’s just home life – how on earth are we to cope with all the extra stress and strain in our working life?

I learnt the other day that I’m not the only person who has these silly season issues, with close to 70% of the population reportedly being more stressed, more tired, more irritable and all because we need more time. Different work situations create different problems at this jolly time of the year, with often-reduced staff numbers due to vacations, or – in some industries – increased workloads (especially in the retail sectors) where the deadlines or end-of year business goals have to be squeezed into your already busy schedule. Everywhere we look, there are deadlines, deadlines and even more deadlines, so what’s the solution?

Offer Flexible Working Conditions

Certain jobs can be done ‘off base’ by offering your team flexible working hours and arrangements. They can do their work from home, working at night or early mornings for example, conferencing and communicating through iCloud or similar. This technology has advanced exponentially and has many advantages.

Offer Extra Time

Longer lunch breaks can be offered and utilised by staff, if extra shopping time is needed. These suggestions might seem counterintuitive, but giving your team viable alternatives and flexibility will pay off tenfold, due to the lower stress levels.

Train Broadly

Cross Training – where you train staff across a wide range of skills – is extremely important, as it can minimise unexpected issues that often arise, allowing them to be dealt with effectively and efficiently. In other words, you don’t have to depend on one person’s skills and expertise (or panic if they go on vacation) you can just slot another team member in.

Be Prepared

Early preparation and realistic expectations allows for smooth sailing. This may mean a shuffle of your projects into two distinct categories – tasks that can wait until after the New Year and the definite before Christmas must-dos. Getting your whole team to concentrate on the second category will ensure team members stay focused on the prime projects and keep your clients happy.

Be Reasonable and Reward Staff

Fair and balanced rosters for your staff will go a long way. If you find you need your staff to put in a little extra time, try to make it special. Providing small gifts, treats for morning tea or maybe lunch or dinner will certainly lift the morale. When employing new personnel, inform them that occasional work over the holiday period may be required as part of the job description, guaranteeing no nasty shocks.

Include Everyone in the Fun

Try to boost overall morale over the silly season. It is not always a joyful time for all and many religious beliefs in our wonderful multi-cultural society don’t even celebrate Christmas. Being aware and sensitive to these facts and setting plans in motion early will make for a happy work environment for all. 

The CFS Team
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