We are now just over a week away from the Christmas break, with all the all the excitement – and merriment – it brings. Your employees should be at the centre of your business year-round, but it’s especially important to make them feel supported during the festive period.

As such, here are a few tips to help your teams have a great break, rest and recover. That way they’ll come back stronger than ever, and ready to bring new ideas to the table.

Plan an inclusive Christmas party

If you have not had your Christmas party or office night out be prepared! No, that’s not because HR is the fun police, it’s because we’re the ones who have to pick up the pieces if people behave inappropriately.

If you manage a team, have a conversation about expectations before you go out, but please don’t try and avoid any issues that have occurred.

Behaviour Christmas party

In my previous roles I could write a book about the stories from office parties, and yes in my younger years I was among those who partied from the beginning of December through to Christmas… but definitely not now.

It is also important to remember those members of the team who through religious beliefs or their own choice do not drink. Be sensible with comments and perhaps suggest different alternatives if this is appropriate.

Be a flexible employer

Employees with children or care responsibilities may need some flexibility over the Christmas period, to avoid added stress.

Christmas can be a really challenging period for some people especially if there are family issues or debt problems. If you have an employee support line make sure you publish the number so that everyone has the relevant information if needed.

This may sound simple, but make sure that all employees know when the office/business is shut. That way they can make arrangements and book holidays well in advance. Bank holidays can confuse matters!

Publish Christmas opening hours as early as possible

Build energy for the return to work

Christmas allows reflection on the past year’s activities, and a chance to recharge the batteries. Getting accustomed to lay ins and spending more time with the family can mean that the return to work fills people with dread.

To avoid the post-Christmas blues, make sure staff are well-informed about what the New Year holds for the business, and get them involved in new initiatives or experiments.

Plan incentives for January – whether that’s the chance to win an early finish or a small prize. It will keep energy up and encourage teamwork.

Plan small objective-focused incentives

Policy-wise, be prepared for the return in the New Year by publishing your Snow days/Adverse weather docs. After all, come 3 January, we could be greeted with a fresh blanket of snow!

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