The year is speeding to an end, which means your hectic holiday juggling act is reaching its fever pitch. December is often a month where you feel more stressed than relaxed and your calendar is more full of commitments than holiday cheer.
While you may have a long holiday to-do list to manage in your personal life, you also have to demonstrate continued professionalism in the workplace and keep your work affairs running smoothly. This can be challenging when you and your employees feel that you are being pulled in many different directions, so take some time now to plan how to deal with any challenges that arise.
3 Tips for Maintaining Professionalism in December
1. Make a master calendar.
It’s likely that many of your employees will want to take some time off over the holidays to spend time with family. Do you know yet who is planning to be gone when? Do you know what vacation time you will need for your own plans? Are there days when the entire office will be shut down for the holidays? Touch base with the employees you manage now and create a calendar of deadlines, absences and other important dates. If there are conflicting plans, you will still have time to smooth out the problems before the end of the month.
2. Set expectations.
Be clear with your employees about what needs to be accomplished before January 1 and the importance of professionalism during that time. If December is a huge sales push for your company and you need everyone to be fully focused, emphasize that hard work now will pay off in the new year. If December tends to be a quieter month for your organization and you want to use that lull to set goals for the next year, set aside time for employees to work on organizational and professional development objectives.
3. Look for flexible alternatives.
Even with the best planning, there are inevitably last-minute changes or glitches out of your control. Your sales manager is supposed to be back in the office December 26, but her flight gets canceled due to snowstorms. Your executive assistant has to leave early on a busy day because his daughter’s school play is that night. Come up with back-up plans that can help you get out of sticky situations and allow people to maintain their work-life balance — for example, employees working from home, making up hours at another time, sharing responsibilities, etc.
What are your tips for maintaining professionalism during the holidays?