People are planning Thanksgiving meals, Christmas shopping is in full swing, and neighborhoods are lit up in anticipation of holiday festivities.
All that drawn-out cheer takes a toll on workplace productivity, especially when more teams than ever are globally dispersed and remote.
As the holidays are near, the typical remote employee’s engagement starts to wane as they think about upcoming time off.
Here are some tactics you can use as the manager of a remote team to keep everyone locked in and productive as 2022 winds down (without being labeled a Scrooge).
Managers are not immune to the lure of the holidays.
You’ll also feel the itch to duck out early or add to your Amazon wish list when you should be preparing for a meeting.
But as the leader, you set the example and motivate your team.
Sustain your commitment to productivity and hold yourself accountable. Let your team know about the benchmarks you set for yourself and hit them. Be honest about setbacks.
You’ll motivate your team by showing vulnerability rather than pretending you’re unaffected by life.
Again, this is an opportunity to build connections with your team.
It’s a given that remote workers will be distracted by the holiday season, so aim to minimize as many workplace distractions as possible.
Limit the number of messages, dings, and notifications employees get during the day.
Internal communication is important, but it shouldn’t be overwhelming.
For instance, this might be the best time to try business texting or set up an email client to help your teams manage unwieldy inboxes and avoid a dreaded case of email anxiety.
When your team’s day is less cluttered, they can focus more on successful pitches and landing sales.
This focus keeps more potential customers in the pipeline and current customers happy.
Halloween is over, but your employees will start to look like zombies if they’re stuck doing mindless, repetitive tasks.
Keep your team invested in interesting projects around the holidays so they’ll stay in high gear through the end of 2022.
Give them the gift of more engaging work by automating workflows.
You can now leverage products that streamline processes like invoicing and data entry, sparing your team the drain of printing, scanning, filing, bookkeeping, and other menial jobs.
That frees your team to focus on meaningful work while saving the company money.
Too often, meetings become a simple checklist of updates, with little room for engagement.
Expect your remote teams to zone out if there’s little interaction in team meetings.
Instead, make it a point to always listen to your employees and invite their feedback before, during, and after meetings.
Focus meetings on what matters to your team and the problems that interest them.
You’ll keep them more charged over the holidays by giving them autonomy in addressing work they find engaging.
You should come to a remote meeting with a clear agenda you share with your team.
Give them lead time to think of ways to contribute.
Then, be mindful of the agenda and stick to it.
When you show your team that you respect their time, they’ll be more motivated to use it wisely.
The holidays are stressful for many reasons.
Remote teams may spend more time indoors due to bad weather, leading to increased restlessness and less focus.
Managers must keep in mind remote workers’ unique health and wellness needs.
Encourage your employees to take frequent breaks, even if it’s just to stretch or do a few laps around the hallway.
Since remote teams spend so much time in front of their screens, they must rest their eyes and maintain good posture.
They should take a short break every 20 minutes to keep their eyes fresh and their neck, shoulders, and arms limber.
These breaks are key to avoiding both physical and mental burnout.
One of the perks of remote work is flexibility, which increases motivation and employee engagement.
The holidays are a time to extend that flexibility a little further.
Employees are traveling, hosting parties, or simply taking more time to relax.
Keep them motivated to work hard during work hours by offering flexibility when they do request time off.
Set up a scheduling calendar ahead of time to balance requests for time off with the need for coverage.
That level of forethought and transparency will ward off potential last-minute problems.
If your remote team doesn’t feel appreciated, you may lose top talent or have employees who “quiet quit.”
Management should be proactive, keep things positive, and make employees feel valued.
This proactivity is important all year, particularly during the holidays when remote workers experience a heightened sense of loneliness and isolation.
Don’t forget to express appreciation for your employees and incentivize their work.
That will keep them energized.
Bonuses and monetary incentives are particularly welcome over the holidays when everyone spends more than usual.
Don’t forget that even a simple thank you will improve employee performance.
Appreciation should be sincere and acknowledge something specific about an employee’s contribution.
It’s harder for someone to slack off when they know you see their work and value it.
You can have fun, enjoy the holidays as a team, and still hit your productivity goals.
Schedule holiday-themed events and let loose on occasion.
Employees can look forward to them each year if you establish successful holiday traditions.
For example, consider holding a Zoom holiday party with conversation and games, such as a virtual white elephant party or karaoke.
Your employees will appreciate that the holiday spirit doesn’t end when they log in for work, and they will be more productive because of it.
Build a company culture that requires hard work, but also celebrates the wins and good times!
The holidays don’t need to mean lost productivity.
Use these tactics to motivate employees to hit goals into the new year while also enjoying the holidays.
Your remote team won’t miss a beat as they ramp up for a successful 2023.
John is an experienced digital marketing professional with over 7 years of experience. He spends most of his time testing different strategies and in his spare time, argues his findings with his dog. Zeus. You can follow him @J_PMarquez.