As we come closer to the end of the year, with holidays and travel plans approaching, it’s incredibly easy for employees to become less productive and efficient at work.

Many studies show that office productivity drops for over 50% of employees during the month of December. And, simultaneously, 42% of workers find the last month of the year the most stressful. So, companies end up with stressed, tired and inefficient employees.

Many offices close their doors at the end of December, but many others simply can’t. If your company still has work to do and clients to service, shutting down completely isn’t an option.

So how do you keep employees as productive as possible, without stressing them out more or expecting too much from them?

Here are three tips for helping your employees work as efficiently as possible in December.

1. Fair, But Firm

Everyone wants time off around the holidays, but not everyone can have the same days (or you may as well close the whole office). To avoid arguments, or even turnover, make sure you are clear and fair when granting time off.

There are a few possibilities when taking this path. You could give everyone the same day off, like December 24th, to ensure that at least one day is granted to everybody. This will make people happy knowing they don’t need to use a vacation day.

Another option is to start with a well-defined holiday policy that is communicated to all employees early on. Rather take the time to make sure the holiday season is divided fairly than have low morale, or even bitter attitudes, around the office.

2. Flexible Hours

If your firm has the ability to allow employees to engage in flexible hours, the month of December is probably the best time of year to encourage it.

This could mean a number of things, including:

  • Letting employees come in early, so they can leave early to do their holiday shopping
  • They’d prefer to work their required hours over four days instead of five because they’re leaving for a vacation
  • It’s less stressful to work from home because their kids are off from school

Letting employees know that their personal lives matter to you increases employee satisfaction and creates less turnover.

Getting to choose their own schedules at this time of year will end up increasing the efficiency of the office because people know they have to work more productively to get their flexible time.

Many law firms already take advantage of summer hours to increase office productivity. This same principle applies to flex hours during the holidays.

3. Fun Events

It’s quite common for companies to have some kind of holiday party at the end of the year. This is a great way to enhance productivity because it gives employees something to look forward to at the end of the day. They also recognize it as the company’s way of thanking them for their hard work and letting them unwind in a social setting.

Please note that it doesn’t need to be an extravagant party with alcohol and catering. A potluck lunch, drinks after work or an activity are all good ways to help your staff refocus and increase their productivity leading up to said event.

Conclusion

It’s hard for everyone, even law firm partners, to stay completely efficient during December. But it’s about making the situation work for as many employees as possible. The three tips above are a great start to keeping employees productive, without adding to the stresses of the season.

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