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Photo credit: Andrii -
Photo credit: Andrii –
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By Stacy Hastick

‘Tis the season for joy, but let’s face it — the holiday work hustle is real. The halls are alive with festive cheer, yet the to-do list is longer than Santa’s naughty and nice scroll. With multiple paid time off (PTO) requests and short-staffed teams, keeping productivity high can feel like trying to catch snowflakes in a blizzard.

This guide is your compass through the holiday chaos, offering practical strategies and tips to keep the workflow smooth and maintain employee engagement. Let’s explore some of these strategies: –

  1. Proactive Communication:

In simple terms, effective communication is crucial. How you express yourself and what you convey will directly affect how well you handle your employees during this time.

  •  Communicate holiday schedules and expectations well in advance.
  • Clearly outline the process for requesting time off during the holidays to minimize last-minute surprises.
  • Remind employees of the importance of timely communication for scheduling purposes.

2. Flexible Work Arrangements:

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Flexible work arrangements can benefit both employees and employers. In this festive season, (and on any other given day) providing flexibility to employees fosters a healthier work-life balance, boosts morale, and enhances overall job satisfaction.

  • Explore the possibility of incorporating flexible work hours or remote work alternatives, including adjusted schedules, remote work, hybrid work (combining office and remote workdays).
    • Encourage employees to coordinate schedules to avoid leaving gaps in coverage.
    • Set guidelines for fair distribution of holiday leave requests.

3. Holiday Bonus or Incentives:

Spreading holiday cheer with festive bonuses or incentives to recognize and reward your dedicated team can be another strategy to manage absenteeism.

  • Inject doses of festive motivation — consider holiday bonuses or recognition incentives.
  • Offer employees meals and a transportation stipend this season, especially if they are working extended hours and finishing work later than usual.

4. Employee Engagement Activities:

You can also try boosting team spirit and connection through engaging holiday activities to foster a joyful and collaborative workplace.

  • Plan festive and inclusive workplace activities to boost morale.
  • Create a sense of community with team-building events and celebrations.
  • Acknowledge and appreciate employees for their hard work throughout the year.

5. Cross-Training and Resource Allocation:

Strengthening team resilience with cross-training and strategic resource allocation for seamless workflow during the holiday season is another prudent approach.

  • Identify critical roles and cross-train employees to handle essential tasks.
  • Develop a contingency plan for unexpected absences, ensuring minimal disruption to operations.
  • Evaluate workload distribution to prevent burnout among team members.

6. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs):

Elevating well-being and mental health through Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) proves valuable year-round, including during the holiday season.

  • Promote awareness of Employee Assistance Programs for those dealing with holiday-related stress or personal challenges.
  •  Communicate the availability of counselling services and support resources.

7.  Health and Wellness Initiatives:

Nurturing a healthy and balanced workplace with impactful health and wellness initiatives for overall employee well-being can prove useful in combating absenteeism.

  • Encourage employees to prioritize self-care during the holiday season.
  •  Promote wellness programs and provide resources for stress management.
  • Additionally, consider organizing events or workshops focused on well-being to encourage a healthy work-life balance.
  • Explore enriching wellness support by considering additional benefits or services, including vouchers and both in-office and off-site retreats.

8. Do a post-mortem by monitoring and analysing trends.

Conduct a post-mortem by monitoring and analysing trends for insightful reflection and improvement.

  • Regularly track attendance patterns during the holiday season.
  •  Analyse data to identify potential areas for improvement in future years.
  •  Use insights to adjust strategies and policies proactively.

Effectively managing absenteeism during the holidays requires a proactive and strategic approach. Implementing these strategies can contribute to a positive work environment, sustain productivity, and support employee well-being.

Should you decide to implement any of these approaches, please don’t hesitate to share your insights on how the season unfolds for your business via [email protected]

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].