Christmas is a time when we all look forward to some much-needed rest and recuperation, as well as the inevitable overindulgence. For employers, Christmas can bring a lot of additional headaches that aren’t usually present throughout the year. These are some of the most common Christmas issues in the workplace faced by employers, and how you can avoid them.
It is common for the festive period to be the most problematic time of the year in terms of holidays. Most people want to be off work during the Christmas holidays, and this might be an issue if your business doesn’t stop. For instance, if you are in the retail sector. You can try to compromise with your employees or offer holidays on a ‘first come first served’ basis. If all else fails, it might be better to put the names in a hat and select that way, so you can deal with Christmas issues in the workplace efficiently.
Socialising is much more prevalent throughout December, with people catching up with each other and getting into the festive spirit. This means more hangovers for employees to suffer, and for employers to deal with the fallout. It is a good idea to communicate with your employees and advise them to take holidays the next day if they plan on a big night out. That way you can plan ahead, instead of leaving yourself short-staffed if they call in sick.
Productivity levels are often at an all-time low in the lead up to Christmas, as people start to kick back and look forward to their breaks. However, the world of work must go on and this ‘relaxed’ attitude can cause Christmas issues in the workplace for employers. A good way to combat this is to offer incentives. For instance, early finishes in the lead up to Christmas when targets are achieved. That way, employees will be more motivated, and will get extra time to relax but will still be doing the necessary work.
Employers often forget that not everyone celebrates Christmas, or they celebrate it at different times. Jews and Muslims for instance, do not celebrate Christmas but have their own celebration, Eid and Hanukkah. When you have different cultures in your organisation, you should learn what they celebrate and when. Employees often feel that they must take part in Christmas related events, even though it may not be part of their beliefs. Always take this into consideration or it could lead to Christmas issues in the workplace.
When alcohol is flowing and colleagues get together, things can often get out of hand. If you’re organising a Christmas party, make sure you inform your employees of your expectations. HR can be extremely busy with complaints and allegations following from Christmas parties. Loose lips sink ships as they say! Always ensure you make it known to employees that you still expect them to act professionally and to be a good representative for the company.
The Christmas period often leads to changes in public transport, which can be disruptive to your business, if you have employees based in the office. You may want to consider allowing employees to work from home where possible in the lead up to Christmas or at least have a plan b in place, if employees are struggling to get to work. Car shares or taxis are alternative options.
Although we do not hasten to mention Covid, as we are all sick and tired of hearing about it, we can’t ignore it. Covid can cause staff to isolate and can lead to shortages. You may even have employees that don’t feel comfortable coming to work. The virus is unpredictable, so it is difficult to prepare but you may want to consider having a temporary recruitment agency on hand, in case you need staff at the last minute. Always do your best to protect your employees and to make the office as safe as possible for them, otherwise, you could end up with more than Christmas issues in the workplace!
If you are having issues with employees in the run-up to Christmas, or you’d like to share any other concerns or have any other issues requiring expert HR advice and guidance, you can contact us , and we will be happy to offer advice and assistance