Many of us will have let out a festive cheer at the announcement that COVID-19 vaccines are on the way. The recently announced Oxford, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are a cause for celebration ‘ but sadly they won’t save the traditional Christmas party for our staff.
So, with the usual Christmas socialising brought to a halt, what can companies do to bring a little joy to their employees? It might sound frivolous, but the annual Christmas party gives employees a chance to bond, strengthen relationships, and feel good about their work.
So, what can companies do to boost their employee wellbeing in other ways? There are a few steps small businesses can take to make sure their staff feel appreciated this Christmas.
Listen to employees
First of all, prioritise your employees’ voices. Being listened to makes us happier and promotes a more collegiate environment between managers and staff, which in turn boosts employee wellbeing.
Give your employees a voice and ask for feedback on what changes they think would enhance their working environment in the current circumstances ‘ both individually and collectively. With many people still working from home, this is a great way to keep your company culture strong.
Now that we are having less social contact, we need to involve team members as much as possible in company decisions. This could include strategy planning and goal setting for the forthcoming year ‘ or it could just be as simple as planning for a remote Christmas party. This inclusive action can produce incredible results ‘ not just for your employees but also your company. Employees are often ‘closest to the line’ and many will have useful insights in terms of how well the company is working and what employees need from a social point of view.
Take a break
As we approach Christmas, encourage your employees to take ample rest and use up their annual leave to make the most of time with family and friends. It is important for managers to act as role models and follow up sensitively with staff who continue to show signs of presenteeism. Don’t be afraid to reiterate why it’s important to take downtime.
It should also be noted that staff may be fearful of taking leave due to the prospect of redundancy or find this difficult due to high workloads in the context of COVID-19, but it is important that they feel refreshed after the Christmas break.
Don’t get left behind
While prioritising employee wellbeing at this time is important, do not forget yourself as a business leader. Make sure you get all the support you need.
Consider brushing up on your skills by joining leadership development initiatives such as the Small Business Leadership Programme and equipping yourself with the skills to confidently lead your workforce into the next year.
The Small Business Leadership Programme is being offered free to small and medium sized businesses across England as part of a package of Government support. It is being delivered by leading business schools accredited by the Small Business Charter. The short online course will help businesses to build business resilience and develop their potential for future growth.
More than ever, celebrate employees and your business’s achievements, however small they may be. With no Christmas party or social events this year, your staff will be looking for ways to stay motivated and feel like their hard work is being rewarded.
Organise virtual ways for them to feel valued for their hard work. This could be through gift vouchers or treats delivered to their house. If budgets are tight, be sure to highlight individual and collective achievements through internal communications and meetings.
The festive season might be a little different, but by following a few of these tips, you may be able to bring some Christmas cheer to your employees when they need it most. And that means you and your workforce will be refreshed and ready to start the new year on a high.
Sign up for the Small Business Leadership Programme at: https://smallbusinesscharter.org/sblp-registration/