Regardless of what industry you work in, the end of the year, and the festive season in general can be a stressful time for you and your staff. Projects will either be reaching completion as the year draws to an end, or you’ll be striving to resume regular working hours all while we all have a million other things on our mind. You’ll also have to contend with staff hours becoming less consistent, and not forgetting the all-important and unnegotiable national bank holidays.
In short, during this demanding period in both your personal and professional life, most of us say a farewell to sanity during the holiday season. Endless 12+ hour working days seem inevitable- but most of us realise that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Your business and respective projects do not have to sacrificed over the festive period, and nor does your personal life. It’s all about adopting the right attitude.
Keeping the following in mind could help you keep everything streamlined during this hectic festive period…
Don’t Feel Guilty about Saying No
Firstly, don’t forget it is more than okay to say no. Of course, none of us are fans of turning down business, and most of us jump at the opportunity to take a lead with a new and exciting project to prove self-worth in the work place, or to develop future career prospects. With all that said, turning down work can seem like a step in the wrong direction. In reality however, adding an extra assignment to your work schedule can reduce the quality of the rest of your work, and put a strain on the rest of your team too.
This is something you want to avoid during the Christmas period. With a shorter month already, you don’t want to kick your team while they are down, so to speak. Company and team morale are essential at this time of the year, so make sure you try to nurture your in-house environment as much as possible.
Low team morale during the festive season will make your team feel like they are underappreciated during this family-orientated time of the year, and as a result you may experience resentment, for just needing to show up when their mind and heart is elsewhere.
In short, before you agree to new business, think about postponing it until the New Year. Your potential new client will respect your honesty and professionalism for being forward-thinking.
Manage Client Expectations
On the topic of clients, you must take them into consideration too. The festive season is a busy time for us all, and our clients are no different. In demanding times such as these, client communication is put under strain. With so many other things to take into consideration, subconsciously, you prioritise completing work for your client, rather than communicating your progress to them.
Communicating the small things to your client can prevent further frustration between you and them during the manic period. Also, as mentioned above, a vast majority of your clients will be celebrating in a similar way too. Likelihood is that if you pre-warn them of any delays, they will be more accepting of any minor delays in delivery.
Keeping your clients in the loop of how you are going to manage their projects will automatically put their minds at ease, creating a positive work relationship right from the beginning of the project.
Due to how demanding the Christmas period can be, and depending on the nature of your industry, additional work may even be mandatory around this time of year. Festive marketing or advertising campaigns, or holiday opening hours may all require additional or temporary staff to keep up with the demand. Temporary staff can be invaluable, so try not to get frustrated with their lack of knowledge of the business or the specific project you may need them to help out with. They can be wondrous for picking up the slack that comes with inconsistent working hours in the week, they can also help you keep up with the additional work which may come in the festive period. Often they are on a lower wage than permanent staff, and have obviously had less experience than you and the rest of the team with the work at hand. Try and be patient to continue the positive working environment required for a healthy and happy holiday working period.
Schedule Website Content & Social Media in Advance
This is the period where you need to automate as much as humanly possible in order to free up as much time for the things computers cannot do. Keeping your social media accounts as updated as possible could shave off some valuable time where you would be answering enquiries over the phone. If you have any last minute changes to your opening hours, or how clients can contact you directly, put it online, to avoid/eliminate any potential confusion.
Christmas Spirit + Stay motivated
As project manager, it is up to you to keep morale high during this hectic period. When staff are feeling frustrated about missing out on Christmas shopping time, or stressful families over Christmas, you want to make their workplace as less of a burden as possible. A little can go a long way, so granting slightly longer lunch breaks or implementing a flex-time system can really make all the difference to morale.
Your staff will repay you for it I’m sure.