How do you create a positive work environment during the holidays?

The holidays can be especially challenging for business owners and managers who at the very least strive to maintain productivity and a positive work environment.

From taking time off to attending parties and finding time to buy gifts, the end of the year can be a tough time to stay on track and at peak performance.

This year-end slowdown could be extra burdensome for companies that have recently introduced remote working.

Maintaining maximum productivity while working remotely is already a challenge that employees struggle with, so giving them that extra push can be extremely difficult.

But just because you’re nearing the end of the holidays doesn’t mean your business is dealing with high absenteeism rates and a distracted workforce.

Here are some easy ways to create a positive work environment during the holidays, while allowing employees to enjoy the joyful season outside the office too:

Join the celebrations with office gifts

The holidays are a time of joyous occasions and activities, so why not show your employees that you value their time by joining in the celebrations?

Office parties, gifts and other forms of recognition have a symbolic value; they convey the message that employer-employee relationships are not purely transactional.

Finding a gift that will appeal to everyone can seem challenging at first glance, as every employee has their own tastes and preferences.

Fortunately, SnackNation has put together a list of great Christmas gifts that are sure to surprise and delight your employees, colleagues, and customers. And if ever there was a time for it, it’s the holidays.

Leave room for flexibility

No matter how hard you try to maintain the status quo, life can get busy and stressful during the holidays.

Making simple adjustments to take some of that pressure off can make everyone’s life easier and naturally more positive.

For example, announcing the vacation schedule in advance allows everyone to plan and not scramble at the last minute.

Keeping the same schedule flexible—allowing for shorter or modified hours, working from home, or leaving the office a few days early—also allows your employees to create a plan that works for them and stay positive about their work commitments.

Keep everyone on the same page

If you don’t already, make sure everyone is aligned on year-end goals, tasks, and achievements.

This shouldn’t translate into lengthy meetings that take more time, but rather simple efforts to make sure everyone knows what’s going on and how their contribution is vital.

By discussing why and not just what, they can get motivated to support the company mission and make sure everyone stays as a team.

The most important thing is to know what you are communicating and communicate it well.

Giving example

You may be trying to keep everyone working, but if you leave the office early and spend long weekends on a regular basis, you’re sending a message that’s the default. If you want to keep your employees focused and positive in the workplace, you need to set an example first.

That’s not to say you should abstain from constructive criticism during the holiday season, but if your approach is to constantly remind everyone that they’re not getting anything done, it will eventually take a toll on morale.

Instead, maintain a positive attitude, and you’re likely to see a culture of optimism and commitment take over.

Address issues before they escalate

If you find that some of your employees are having trouble staying focused, don’t rely on sheer hope to lift them during the holiday season.

Instead, address the problem before it becomes a significant disruption in the office.

Talk to the employee and explain your concerns. Thoughtful conversation will help them share their thoughts as well, after which both of you can come to a resolution.

You might even consider offering better training programs to prepare your employees for future challenges, including those of the holiday season.

Offer support and appreciation

Showing appreciation to your employees is essential at any time of the year, but it is uniquely important during the holiday season.

If you take the time to create some warmth and let your employees know that their contributions are valued, you can build a positive culture that keeps them motivated even after the holidays are over.

In particular, keep in mind that while some people may be close to their families — and spend their vacations with them — others may not have them.

If you want to bond with your team and share a sense of belonging, you need to understand each unique situation.


The holiday season can be stressful and busy for everyone involved, but it doesn’t have to wreak havoc on the work environment.

If you adopt a few simple practices that address the needs and concerns of your employees, you’ll likely get them — and your company — through the holiday season successfully.

Some of these practices include sending office gifts, providing more flexibility, keeping everyone on the same page, leading by example, addressing issues in a timely manner, and offering support and appreciation.

Remember to plan ahead and always leave room for adjustments.

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