15 Ways to Increase Productivity at Your Business During the Holidays

11/17/2017 08:12 am ET

As the holidays draw near, company productivity levels start to drop. Your staff is consumed with the holiday spirit and is itching to enjoy some time off with family and friends. The end of the year may be your business’s busy time, and you need your employees focused on their responsibilities and not their holiday plans. So, how can you deal effectively with the end-of-year “senioritis” during the holiday season?

A. Ensure Open Communication

Explain to all employees now, especially the tenured ones, that they might be needed at key times over the holidays. Ask them to get their requests in as early as possible, but they should also understand that they are only requests and that business operations do come first. - Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

A. Put an Emphasis on the Numbers

The end of the year is a great time to put extra importance on the company's goals so that everyone works hard to hit year-end numbers. Your company should have metrics in all departments to keep teams engaged. If it's too late to make an impact on 2017's goals, why not make projections for 2018 due a little bit earlier? - Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

A. Focus on Deliverables, but Give Them Their Time Off

It's up to you as the project or company manager to know productivity dips this time of the year and to set expectations accordingly. You need to ensure you have clear deliverables on projects that have to be completed, but tone it down a bit, because you need to allow your team to have fun, too. After all, you want to be a place that people actually want to work at. - Andy Karuza, FenSens

A. Have a Roaming Work-From-Home Day

Around the holidays we encourage employees, if they're able, to take a day to work from home. Often it's the little things that pile up causing stress (incoming family, cleaning, shopping, laundry, etc.). Allowing employees to work from home and take care of some of these small errands during the week frees them up to be that much more productive on the days when they are in the office. - Kim Kaupe, ZinePak

A. Work in Five-Minute Increments

Holiday senioritis hits me hard every year and it is a struggle to do anything. A mental game that I play with myself is to just commit to doing five minutes of work and then taking a 10-minute break. For me, it's usually just the jumpstart that is missing and five minutes are enough for me to start my flow. If it doesn't take the first time, I repeat the process over again until I can get some stuff done. - Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers

A. Get the Team to Recommit to Each Other

Senioritis is natural, but that doesn't mean it's OK. Having the boss say "work harder!" doesn't work. Instead, bring the team together and have everyone acknowledge the feeling of wanting to slack a bit (yes, you as the boss should acknowledge this, too). At that point, ask if everyone can commit to one another to maintain a high standard. You'll be amazed what your team does for their peers. - Aaron Schwartz, Passport

A. Offer Bonuses Based on Results

If you have tangible goals in place throughout the year, it will help motivate employees at the end of the year. Your team will want to meet goals and make sure they get the year's end bonus. As long as goals are realistic and tangible, motivation should remain high, especially the closer they are to receiving the bonus. - Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

A. Plan Time Off in Advance

I plan my time off schedule around my kids’ school calendar, and I make sure my employees know it. Some employees who have a more flexible lifestyle like to be able to travel on a whim. It works out well because everyone knows my plans well before making their own. I try to make it a point to take time off during the holidays because of the strenuous hours I work during the rest of the year. - Daniel Wesley, Quote.com

A. Set End-of-the-Year Goals

Set your end-of-the-year goals. We re-evaluate our year goals during the months of November and December to see what we have left to accomplish, and set any new goals we think we can hit before the end of the year. We take the week between Christmas and New Year's off, so we use this as a final push to help wrap up the year productively. - Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

A. Temporarily Lower Expectations

Lower your expectations about what's really going to get done. There is a good chance you feel the same as your team, so try to not have too many deadlines planned for this time of year. We are human and there's a time where we just need to slow it down. - Drew Hendricks, Buttercup

A. Schedule Appropriately

We work in teams (design, development, content, marketing). Each team must have someone on call during the holiday season, so that our clients have coverage by at least one team member. The trick is making everyone happy and trying to meet demands of their holiday time off. Planning ahead and having clear guidelines/seniority in place will also help. - Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

A. Take More Naps

No, seriously. We are, on average, extremely productive two to three hours after waking up, so if you take more naps, you're bound to treble your productivity. The most you can do when your team contracts a bout of senioritis is guide them through its various stages. You can't force people to care any more than they already do, but any nonchalance shouldn't negatively impact productivity. - Cody McLain, SupportNinja

A. Set a Five-Year On/Off Schedule

Make time off during the holidays a benefit for all your employees, regardless of their seniority. Break up the holiday season equally into five years and get your team to commit to working and taking time off during the next five-year term. Some might commit to working this year and taking off next, so on and so forth. This commits people to the long term and to sacrificing for everyone else. - Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

A. Introduce Some Competition

I like to make a game around the holidays in order to motivate my employees and stave off any holiday-related laziness. This is a fun way to get them interested in being productive, with points being awarded based on how well they accomplish certain goals. Sometimes I divide them into teams and sometimes I just have them compete individually, with prizes like a better parking spot or a gift card. - Bryce Welker, Beat The CPA

A. Give Employees Flexibility

Giving employees flexibility in their schedules is an invaluable way to relieve employee stress as the holidays approach. If staff members meet their goals and deadlines, it shouldn’t matter if they are starting their days later or working from a home office. Businesses that acknowledge these distractions and take steps to help employees handle them won’t see a dip in productivity. - Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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