It’s often referred to as “the most wonderful time of the year,” but the holiday season can also cause unfortunate interruptions to your workplace productivity. From mid-November until after the New Year, everyone from entry-level employees to C-suite executives will be out of the office for various holidays and vacations. While everyone deserves a break to relax and enjoy the holiday season, time out of the office can make it difficult to stay on schedule with projects or maintain consistent information exchanges.
Luckily, you can do a few things to avoid communication breakdowns while still giving yourself and your team the time off you deserve.
1. Plan Ahead
It’s easy to let the holiday season sneak up on you if you don’t take the time to plan ahead. Knowing exactly when the office will be closed or when individual employees will be off can help you account for irregularities in your workflow. Planning for schedule interruptions as far in advance as possible allows everyone to stay on the same page.
2. Set Clear Expectations
Make sure everyone in your organization knows what level of communication they are expected to maintain, even during the holidays. By setting clear expectations of specific communication details—such as how often email needs to be checked when vacationing and how continued progress on projects should be tracked during employee absence—before the chaos of the holidays sets in, your office can avoid unnecessary breakdowns.
3. Make it Simple
Streamlining your communication processes all year round can help everything run smoothly during busier or stressful times—like the holidays. Find the communication system or project management software that works best for your business, but keep it simple and consistent.
4. Embrace Remote Capabilities
The flexibility of telecommuting can allow your employees to spend more time with their families during the holidays, while still maintaining productivity. While the degree and timing of remote work will depend on your specific organization’s needs, making it an option can help cut down on holiday slumps.
5. Be Realistic
The holiday season is probably not the best time to make big changes around the office or take on any new big projects—and doing so might just be setting your employees up for failure. Instead, do your best to be realistic about productivity expectations through the holidays, and then plan to hit the ground running with the new year.
Just remember: The most important weapon you have for preventing communication breakdown is effective communication. When in doubt, just talk about it.