Many small businesses can’t close for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Companies in the health care and hospitality sectors remain in operation continuously, and some employees must be on duty during holidays. However, the trend toward working on those holidays continues to expand, with an ever-increasing number of people working on Christmas Day. Small businesses that must stay open on those holidays should develop a plan for sustaining employee morale.
Working on Christmas Eve
Although many businesses close in the early afternoon on Christmas Eve, your firm might find it necessary to remain open for normal working hours. Take advantage of the opportunity to provide last-minute Christmas gifts to your employees and clients. One of your staff members might appreciate the opportunity to deliver the company’s Christmas present to an important client. The privilege of being the company’s representative for this purpose can reinforce the employee’s sense of being appreciated as a valuable team member.
Working on Christmas Day
Develop a system of allowing employees to volunteer for working on Christmas. You may find an adequate number of volunteers on your staff, making it unnecessary to single out personnel for this assignment. If it should become necessary to request staff members to work on Christmas Day, provide them with sufficient advance notice to adjust their plans. If possible, allow those employees to return home earlier than normal working hours.
Consider having a small, in-office Christmas celebration. Give your employees the opportunity to see their co-workers as another family or as an extension of their existing families. A Secret Santa drawing during the days before Christmas would allow staff members to exchange small gifts, with no individual feeling excluded from the event. Each employee randomly selects the name of a co-worker for whom a gift should be purchased.
Working on New Year’s Day
If you experience difficulty finding volunteers among your staff to work on New Year’s Day, emphasize that their friends need designated drivers on New Year’s Eve. Characterize the obligation of working on New Year’s Day as an opportunity to embrace the civic responsibility of serving as a designated driver on a night when many people are intoxicated. Another recruiting tactic for finding volunteers to work on New Year’s could involve repeated admonitions about the number of drunk drivers on the road for New Year’s Eve, making it advisable to remain at home, watching the festivities on television.
Should it become necessary to assign people to work on New Year’s Day, consider small ways to celebrate the event. For example, you could have an office contest for best New Year’s resolution with a modest prize for the winner. Another contest idea might involve employee suggestions for improving the business. A small New Year’s celebration at the close of the business day could boost morale.