Tip 1: Plan Ahead
Often, Project Managers have no idea who is taking leave until the week before Christmas. So they suddenly become short of resource and unplanned delays occur. You need to plan ahead.
Find out right now, who in your team wants to take leave over the Christmas period (December and January) and for how long. Then negotiate with them as to when that leave is taken. Try and schedule the leave for a timeframe that fits with your project plan. For instance, if you’re in the design phase over Christmas, try and convince your construction workers to take their leave over this period.
Tip 2: Make it fun
It’s fair to say that most people don’t want to “slog it out” between Christmas and the New Year. They really want easy, interesting work that is fun to do. They don’t want to do anything repetitive, anything stressful or anything too big, while others are on holiday. So get the most out of their performance by giving them work that fits their needs.
Every project plan is full of “fun” tasks and “mundane” tasks. Try and give your team members that stay behind and work over Christmas, some of the fun tasks to do. Whether it’s researching a new solution, designing a concept, creating a marketing plan or creating prototypes, as long as the work is fun then your staff are more likely to maintain a high level of productivity.
Also, by giving them shorter tasks to complete over this period, it makes them feel like they’re achieving more.
Tip 3: Don’t burn-out on the run-up
Project Managers often try and finish as many deliverables before Christmas as possible, so that they can show that they have delivered more within the current year. So teams are usually stressed around this time.
It’s fine to increase the work slightly before Christmas, but remember; only a percentage of your team will be taking a holiday and will be able to wind-down afterwards. So be careful not to overload the guys that will be staying around over the Christmas period, or they might burn out early in the new year. Remember: overloading only works if it is short term and is followed by a period of complete rest.
Tip 4: Regroup
Post Christmas day, many staff quickly become de-motivated. The Christmas cheer has finished, the office may feel empty and the telephone never rings! Now is the perfect time to regroup by taking your team out to lunch and revisiting your work goals for the next few weeks. Get your team together frequently over this period, so that they feel like a team within a team, while the others are away.
Tip 5: Reward and Recognize
And finally, make a special effort to reward achievement over this period, as you normally would when everyone else is there. A valued team will always be more productive!
By taking these 5 tips, you’ll be able to keep team motivation levels high during the Christmas period and allow your team to gain the time to regroup, refresh and gain new energy for the coming year ahead.