New Year Blues - getting back to normal after the holiday period

Peninsula Team

January 05 2016

It’s often said that ‘a change is as good as a rest’, but nothing beats a bit of downtime – especially over the Christmas period, which many employees will have saved up their annual leave for. While some employees feel energised and raring to go after a period of relaxation, for others it can be challenging to switch from holiday mode back to the working mind-set. On arriving back to the office, workers have a lot of catching up to do: the list of emails to read and tasks to complete may appear impossibly long, and consequently, it may seem to both the employer and worker like productivity has almost ground to a halt. Although workers may need a little time to get back up to speed after a long break, ultimately they’re there to work, and you shouldn’t be expected to make any notable allowance for any apathy or distraction that rears its head after the Christmas period. Increased absenteeism While some may just groan and grumble, other employees may be tempted to take extra time off work after getting used to it over Christmas, which means that many businesses experience an increase in absenteeism during the early months of 2016. If this happens, you should fall back on your existing sickness absence policy. This should include:
  • Advising employees what time they should notify you if they’re going to be absent
  • A robust notification procedure
  • Who they should contact
  • Contact during their absence
  • A return to work interview
This should apply to all absences, regardless of duration. Absence for genuine reasons should not be treated any differently – you should still apply the same procedures. Boosting morale If morale levels are floundering after the Christmas break, there are a few ways you can motivate staff to re-engage with their role. Try setting your workforce specific targets in order to kick start productivity – these could be daily or weekly, depending on the nature of the employees’ roles. Targets can also be reinforced with certain incentives, such as wine or chocolates left over from any Christmas celebrations, or perhaps even the option to leave half an hour early. Targets and incentives should help to ward off any New Year blues, keeping members of staff focused, motivated and productive.    

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