One of the busiest times of the year can also be the most unproductive time of the year. Whilst many companies are rushing to place last minute orders to secure a fat commission for December, other companies not in the sales and services game might be experiencing a more relaxed end of the year.

The festive period does provoke a sense of relaxation with everyone. Be it the decorations at the mall or the end of the year celebration in the office, the holiday mood just takes over.

It has become even harder to get work done from home. If your dining room table has been the office since the dawn of work from home, then avoiding the background music from the Christmas movies being watched to putting up the Christmas tree – it makes it impossible to achieve results.

As a manager the pressure to ensure results are being shown in the festive period can be extremely stressful. It is essential to have the conversation around deadlines and expectations before the festive period kicks in. If you haven’t had it already, there still is time to get it done.

But if you have had the talk and you are still struggling to get the results you need to wrap up the year, then here are a few ways to ensure your team has a productive December.

  • You should have a work schedule in place. Ensure that you have knowledge of all staff members who are on leave and those who will be filling in for the ones on leave. Having a plan that is transparent and accessible to all staff members is essential. This way if there is a lot of pressure at work and clients need assistance with queries, then staff know exactly who to turn to in order to assist them.
  • Inform staff working from home about the importance of managing their time. Use this as a chance to have check ins. Get your team members who work from home to clock in and clock out. It is important to maintain an honest relationship and tell them that you understand its December, but deadlines need to be met. But chances are the staff working from home feel the pressure because there is more demand to ensure work is being done.
  • December can also be a good time to check in with your team at the office to measure their performance. Check in with them on how they are handling the work load. This is also a great time to look at doing performance appraisals and performance reviews if you are not busy and haven’t done one yet.
  • Set realistic deadlines. Factor in that in December many businesses stop operations before the first long weekend. This means ensuring you have sufficient stock of consumables and supplies. The last thing you want is your team to be making customers happy without having the stock or items on hand to provide for the deals.
  • Don’t micro manage. Instead of hovering over staff, demanding to see results and wanting to see they are meeting company goals, trust them. The aim of having team members working together it to ease the work load. This means trusting your team to meet the expectation of the business. Work with your team by encouraging them, guiding them and supporting them when they are meeting their deadlines or struggling to meet them. If they finish before time reward them. If they are falling behind find ways to help them.

December can be a challenging month with the festivities and public holidays in play. It is important that the discussion around deadlines and expectation occur early to prevent any miscommunication and disappointments.

Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute, a South African TVET College. He is the author of Racism, Classism, Sexism, And The Other ISMs That Divide Us, AND My Leadership Legacy Journal available from the ICHAF Training Institute.

The ICHAF Training Institute offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.

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