Easter is once again in March this year and as a business, it’s ominous as most companies have just managed to recover from the dreaded January and are finally getting productivity back on track. With all of the public holidays in March, it is important to keep that momentum going and not to get caught in the trap of holiday headspace so early in the year.
Unfortunately, work productivity tends to suffer during this period. Although it’s impossible to avoid the holidays altogether, as a business leader, there are some proven methods to keeping staff on track and focused, without ignoring their need for time off. Here are some tips to make sure that your March is productive:
The key to this strategy is figuring out which tasks and projects are most important to you during the month of March. See if you can key in on your 4 or 5 most critical items and focus your energy on the areas where it will have the most impact. Decide on what is important and what really needs to get done as well as working out some realistic holiday timelines.
- Plan ahead… Not everyone needs to take leave
Many employees save up their vacation time, hoping to make the most of all the public holidays and to spend one or more weeks at home with their families, or traveling to meet with loved ones. This is their prerogative; after all, they have the leave time for a reason. Still, a business leader has no obligation to allow all of his or her employees to leave during the week after Easter en masse, turning the office into a ghost town.
Before any holiday season gets into full swing, make it clear that you expect a certain number of team members to be present each day that your office is open. This sets up expectations upfront and alerts everyone that they will have to make decisions on how and when to use their holiday time more efficiently. The key is to let everyone get a little time off without the company suffering.
- Give some staff work from home options
If you feel that your workers are well-versed in successful work-from-home techniques—perhaps they have shown their mettle in this area before—you may wish to grant limited work-from-home opportunities. These can be doled out on a case-by-case basis. Just make sure all work-from-home individuals are monitored for productivity. They still need to get their daily tasks accomplished, be available to their colleagues during working hours, and so on. This allows them to have the time away from the office without productivity being fully compromised.
- Don’t launch any major initiatives during this time
Holiday times can be a bad time to launch any new initiatives unless they are related to the holiday season. Most employees can only focus with half their brains because of all their other familial and personal commitments, not to mention that all of your customers are probably also unfocused themselves, meaning your initiative will be difficult to get off the ground.
However, brainstorming during the holidays can be a fun activity to do with other staff that are still in the office. Gather your thought leaders together for a discussion of what you can do in the coming months to grow sales and improve your revenue stream. This technique will also work to create more buy-in from employees who are still in the office.
- Manage Client Expectations
Clients can be a huge source of stress during holiday times, but only if their expectations haven’t been managed. Never promise—or allow your team members to promise services or products that absolutely cannot be delivered due to the craziness of March and April. Remember that the adage of “under-promise, over-deliver” has stood the test of time.
Although your customer base may grumble, they cannot argue if you have set up their anticipated delivery dates from the beginning. By being realistic, you will ensure that clientele will still get a high level of service from your company.
- One last note
Make sure to take time for yourself, too. As you focus on your business, you may start to forget you have responsibilities at home and within your social community as well. Take pleasure in the holiday, and don’t be tempted to become a martyr so that everyone else can enjoy the Easter festivities.
These are just a few tips to make sure that this month remains productive. As a manager or a business owner, these times can be stressful, but with a little planning and thought, any real impact can be averted and productivity can be preserved.