For many businesses, 2020 has been a wild ride. Small businesses nationwide were forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Large companies had to furlough employees in a time of uncertainty. For now, the ship has been righted, but as the country faces more virus spikes, the threat of another shutdown looms large.
In a holiday season with more work-related stress linked to it than ever before, it’s essential for thriving companies to make their employees feel important. Job security is impossible to guarantee right now; no one can predict the future, so while you might be able to reassure employees of their positions, it might not be wise to do so during a pandemic. You can, however, give them reassurances of your appreciation. Remember: a little gratitude can go a long way.
Over the next few weeks, try “giving back” to your employees a little every day to lighten their hearts during a difficult time.
Send a Morning Greeting
If you’re operating on an online communication channel, send a simple “good morning” greeting to your peers when you start your day.
The message doesn’t have to be longer than a paragraph, but it should offer good vibes and support if they become overwhelmed. It will only take you a minute or two to write, and your employees will be flattered by your dedication to show them your support.
Dismiss People Early, Especially on a Holiday.
This year, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day fall on a Thursday/Friday. The same goes for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. If your company does not usually give employees off on holidays, consider changing your plans this season. If you do, consider giving your workers a little holiday treat and dismiss them early on December 23.
Everyone loves free time off, and when times are tough, a little thing like an extra hour or two away from the office could mean the world to people. You won’t lose much business, but you will gain a substantial amount of employee appreciation.
Have a Game Day
Holiday lunches and weekend parties will be taking a hiatus this year, but that doesn’t mean your company can’t still have fun in December!
Host a weekly meeting with your team for the next month to talk about things other than work. If you think an open forum for discussion might feel forced and awkward over a platform like Zoom or Skype, try spicing things up by playing a game. It can be Christmas related or something different entirely (Bingo, perhaps?), but the point is you’ll have a chance to laugh and hang out with co-workers as you used to in-office. The break from a stressful workday will be a fun reprieve for everyone!
Send Out Some Personal Messages
The holidays are a busy time, and it’s really difficult to block off a few hours for conversation if you’re in a leadership role. But if you can manage it, your employees will remember it.
This year, find a day in the month of December where you don’t intend to be overly busy. Block off 2-3 hours and send out personal greetings or holiday wishes to all of your employees. This should not be in a general communication channel but rather in a one-on-one setting. If it sparks a short conversation, great — that’s what the blocked off time is for! Even if it doesn’t, your employees will remember the time you took it upon yourself to ask them how they were doing.
If you know your team members on a more intimate level (their families, hobbies, goals, etc.) inquire about them. Make it light. In short, treat it like you would a conversation with a friend. You’ll show your team how much they mean to you during a crisis, and that might be the best gift you can give in 2020.
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