For some businesses, this time of year may represent a winding down period, whereas for others the constant rush and hive of activity fails to show signs of settling down. Regardless of what category your business falls into, one thing is for certain managers and employees alike look to Christmas as a time to relax and rejuvenate ready for the New Year ahead.

But whilst this is the intended desire for this holiday season, does it really reflect what occurs in reality. As with other key times of year including summer holidays, it becomes easy to fall into the trap of allowing work to creep into our personal lives and not taking the time we need to restore our batteries. As employers, however, we should be the ones encouraging employees to take time away from work, for both the good of their health and to maintain levels of productivity at work.

The first step of prevention, is to diarise projects and work schedules in order to address what projects need to be completed before the Christmas break and which projects can tasked for the New Year. Don’t be overly ambitious in trying to get things done, as not only could it result in employee burnout, but it could also lead to a sub-par finished product, which could reflect poorly on your company’s reputation.

Emails are another problem area which cause havoc for management and their employees. Whilst the odd email over the holiday period cannot always be avoided, any communication should be kept to a minimum, used only for crucial work-related matters. Annual leave at Christmas and during other times of the year shouldn’t be an extension of the workplace, so don’t make it that way by sending employees countless emails regarding topics that could probably be held off for a least few days.

Think of the Christmas holiday as a tool to develop fresh and innovative ways of thinking. Taking time away from the office can serve as a cooling down period, allowing both employers and their employees to become inspired for forthcoming projects or to come with their own ideas to pitch moving forward to help develop the business or improve upon existing operations. Even a short break will help employees and management to see things in a different light.

Whilst no business ever comes to a complete stop, understanding the importance of enabling your employees and even the management team to have a much needed break will help reduce the risk of stress levels increasing, health from depleting and as a consequence the business suffering from low productivity.