The weather outside might be delightful right now, but it’ll be frightful soon — which means the holidays also will be coming up before you know it.
The end of the year is such a busy time for your whole company: There are year-end reports to be run, projects to finish, deadlines to meet, all while your employees are trying to wrap up their work and maybe take a little time off to finish their personal end-of-the-year demands.
The solution to this is to try and level-set now, before things get hectic, to make sure your team is ready and able to stay productive and finish the year strong without missing family obligations or trying to score Black Friday deals on company time!
Here are some tips on how to boost productivity and keep your team efficient as the calendar year runs out.
- Encourage your team to schedule their workday. This is good advice for everyone: We lose so much time to little distractions, like checking messages and emails, that we don’t even realize how disruptive it is. Instead of feeling compelled to respond to every notification the moment it pops up, schedule email and message breaks throughout the day, five or 10 minutes at a time every hour or two. You’ll know you have a break coming up to respond when something shows up in your inbox and, with practice, you’ll learn to ignore the impulse to respond immediately. This will keep you focused on the task at hand, instead of having to shift your attention back and forth every few minutes. The same goes for scheduling lunch breaks — if you don’t eat, your body won’t work as well.
- Embrace to-do lists. Here’s another one where managers can lead by example. Talk with your teams about setting goals and priorities and listing each day’s tasks, based on priority, on a to-do list. There’s a wonderful feeling of satisfaction that comes from crossing something off a list! This will ensure the most important projects are getting the attention they need while other, lesser priorities are attended to later.
- Learn to delegate and say no. This is a real challenge for managers, especially those who like to be “hands on.” Not every project assigned to you must be completed by you. If you’re asked to take on a project by upper management, and it’s not an urgent priority, ask if it can be reassigned to someone else or if it can wait until after the holidays are over. If it must be addressed now, determine what other work can be delegated to a member of your team, based on their abilities and their own to-do list at the time. Work together, if needed, to make sure all high-priority tasks will be completed in time and be sure to be supportive in providing advice as needed.
- Utilize the tools available to you. Think of all the times you’ve been in meetings that could, and should, have been emails. As a manager, you can lead the way by making that happen! Before scheduling meetings, consider whether you can effectively share the same information via email or a message shared with your team via Slack, Webex, Teams or the communication platform your company utilizes. Embracing the idea of “work smarter, not harder” means finding tools that help you become more efficient, from management on down, to get more out of your day without compromising quality. Use the tools integrated in calendar programs — Outlook, Google Calendar, etc. — to schedule deadlines, progress reports, meetings that need to be meetings, keep track of client demands, assign projects and more. Using a centralized calendar also helps to keep tabs on your employees and their schedules, so you know who’s working on what and can check in as appropriate to make sure things are running smoothly.
- Encourage the use of PTO. Everyone needs a break sometimes. As the year winds down, your team will be juggling so much. They might begin to show signs of burnout as they try to do so much in a short period of time. Let them know they’re free to utilize their time off as they see fit, but that it would be appreciated if these days off are scheduled in advance to make sure you have adequate coverage. It takes a lot to make the holidays work for families and, as a supportive manager, you want them to be present at home as much as you want them to be effective and productive at work.
As the calendar flips down toward December, take a moment to thank your employees for their hard work this year. We all face challenges and stressful stretches during the year and the holidays should be a time to sit back and enjoy the accomplishments you’ve all achieved together.
If you’d like more time management and productivity tips, or if you’re looking to add to your team in the year ahead to continue building on your success, call Davis Staffing! We’re ready to help you find great new job candidates — we can even provide seasonal, temporary help if needed — to allow your team to maintain their productivity and reduce the strain of being short staffed. If you’re ready to find top-tier candidates, give Davis Staffing a call.