Avoid the Holiday Work Blues

Holiday Work Blues

Are you wondering how to maneuver a full work load, keep productivity high, and still manage to have fun with your team? Don’t worry we got you covered! We’ll review everything from time off to taxable bonuses, to help your holidays run as smooth as possible. We are going to provide you with some strategies to finish the year strong.


It’s so important that you don’t become overwhelmed with time off requests for the holidays. This is when multiple employees will want to take extended periods of time off during the same weeks. Don’t allow a short staff to hinder your company from thriving. If your budget permits, add a few seasonal or part time workers to your roster to alleviate the absence of full timers. This is a great way to observe your future workforce without the long term commitment.  Consider allowing the first employees who express an interest in time off would receive it first (i.e. first come, first served).  Of course, planning is key. Knowing the requested time off in advance is critical. The sooner you’re notified, the easier it will be when planning other schedules. Ask one additional caveat of this timely employee. Require the employee to develop a “While I am out plan.” This plan provides their backup with information, contacts, strategies, and the “how to” while they are on vacation. This is a great way to start or update standard operating procedures.

Stay on top of your staff’s remaining vacation days so that you won’t be caught off guard when long periods of time are wanted. Some businesses implement the “use it or lose it” rule to prevent vacation days from rolling over to the next year. Check with your HR professional and find out if this policy is legal in your state. However, you should have this policy stated in your handbook already. Now is not the time to start new policies. Be sure to remind your employees about the vacation policy early on, so that they can organize their time accordingly. Remember, communication is key.

Workload & Weather

With family/social engagements and the shopping frenzy of holiday decorations and gifts, distractions are sure to happen. Often times you have to decide which is more important: work or family. To help fight the decline of productivity, try creating an action items list to help them stay focused on what’s important and to keep thoughts centralized. Allow the New Year to be a time of fresh ideas and perspectives, so delay the start of new business ventures and undertakings until the beginning of the year. Let your staff concentrate on wrapping up existing programs without overwhelming them with brand new initiatives.

Not only can unfinished projects, money woes, and family affect productivity, but weather contributes greatly to idleness. If you don’t have a company weather plan, develop one now with your leadership team or key contributors. It is almost impossible to not include the use of technology in this plan. Try utilizing free services to help assist your company to prevent revenue loss. Forward calls to your cell phone, create a free conference number for employees to check in, and reach out to an IT professional about making certain files are available offline.

Work can still be completed if simple solutions are implemented to make outages easier to deal with.Keeping your team engaged may take some work, but keeping the motivation and energy up from the top down is always a big help.


We all love celebrating and different type of festivities, but we must be careful not to assume that everyone on our team shares the same religious beliefs we do. Encouraging everyone to bring something that represents them to adorn the workspace creates inclusion for everyone who wants to participate.

These activities should always be fun to engage in:

  • Staff potlucks
  • Gift exchanges
  • Holiday parties
  • Appreciation luncheons
  • Gratitude Brunch
  • Give Back Campaign (Coats, Clothes, Books, Toys, etc.)

All the above promote healthy interactions and allow the team to get to know each other on a more personal level. Although these things can sometimes be overdone, you can always put your own twist to it and personalize it like aligning it with your business mission or stakeholders.


I’m sure you want to reward your hardworking staff for a job well done for the year, but before you begin giving gifts & bonuses, you may want to check if these gifts are taxable or if they can be accounted for as a business expense. The IRS can tell you exactly what you need to know concerning your type of business (i.e. corporation, LLC, etc). Check the IRS Publication 463

With all the hurdles put in place by the holiday season, it’s essential to have plans that will ensure your employees and company thrive to its best ability.

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