The holiday season has only just begun, but before you can say “Auld Lang Syne,” it will be time to pack away the decorations and hang up the festive cocktail attire for another year. While time off should make you and your team feel relaxed and rejuvenated, coming back to a bare office devoid of twinkling lights or a calendar full of holiday-themed events can be a bit depressing.
Here are a few tried-and-true tips that help leaders like you prepare now to ensure employees don’t fall into a slump after the holidays have ended.
1. Require Blackout Days Around the Holidays
We’re all guilty of sneaking in work during times we’re supposed to be enjoying experiences with friends and family. It’s a bad habit everyone should consider giving up in 2017. To help employees break this impulse, require a few work blackout days during the holidays. This means no emailing, no phone calls, no instant messages or business communications of any kind. Unless there is a true emergency (such as a security breach), work can wait.
2. Schedule a Team-Building Event in January
Whether it’s a group excursion to a theme park, a company-sponsored happy hour, a sports game or a volunteer day, there’s no disputing team-building events are good for morale. And what better time to plan one than during a month when everyone’s social calendars are suddenly bare? This gives everyone something to look forward to and overcome the winter blues.
3. Schedule Big Changes for After the First of the Year
Planning an office overhaul? Preparing to implement exciting new workplace technology? If you have big changes on the horizon, try to schedule them during the beginning of Q1. This way, your team will be more eager to return after their time off and those first few boring weeks of the new year won’t seem so bleak.
4. Kick Off an Employee Fitness Initiative
If you’re ever had a gym membership after the holidays, you know it’s a lot harder to find an available treadmill in January than June. After plenty of indulgences and imbibing throughout the holiday season, everyone kicks off the new year eager to get back in shape.
To help your team stick to their fitness resolutions, make it a group activity. Split your company into teams and award points for reaching certain goals—like pounds lost, miles run, calories burnt and so forth. Set a deadline, and reward the winning team with something they’ll all appreciate, like a free day of PTO.
5. Encourage Proactive Behaviors
There are fewer feelings worse than coming back from a fun holiday with loved ones to a stack of unfinished projects. This makes adjusting from vacation mode to work mode much more daunting. To prevent this experience, encourage employees to be proactive and productive. Ask team members what deadlines they have for the beginning of the year to help keep those projects top-of-mind before the holidays and ensure they’re taking the proper preparations to avoid a stressful January. Most importantly, heed your own advice.
The post-holiday slump can threaten motivation and quell productivity. But by taking measures ahead of time, you can help employees jump into the new year feet first and make 2017 everyone’s best year yet.
Editor's Note: This post was previously published on Inc.com and has been republished here with permission.