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Bosses should take these 7 steps to get teams through the holiday slump and motivated for the new year

Dec 12, 2022
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In order to combat this general slowdown you have to be able to spot the signs first.

Something happens to teams after the Thanksgiving break. Maybe it’s the lingering effects of that turkey tryptophan, or the sudden urge to hibernate as temps drop. But most bosses recognize it as a holiday slump.

“Everything slows down and hurries up at the same time,” says Joe Mull, host of the Boss Better Now podcast. “People are distracted and we get a little bit of senioritis at the end of the year, right as the holidays come upon us.”

To compound that general malaise, the flu, RSV, and COVID continue to plague the workforce and many are calling out sick, adding to their team’s workload in the final countdown to the holidays.

But there is a way to transform the malaise into greater workplace productivity.

These experts offer advice on how to reenergize your team in the days leading up to the new year and once everyone has regrouped in January.

Spot burnout

In order to combat this general slowdown you have to be able to spot the signs first.

Deb Muller, the CEO of HR Acuity, a 2021 Fortune Best Small Workplaces, says it manifests on her team as irritability, sudden tardiness to meetings, or an influx of sick requests. Employees might appear disengaged or become more sensitive to feedback.

Muller’s team is remote, and spotting burnout when you don’t work together in person is a bit different.

“People start not showing on video, or they look disheveled or they’re late,” she says. “Maybe they aren’t showing to meetings or are keeping to themselves.”

Plus, unlike other holidays your team might look forward to, the winter holidays are family-oriented and likely fraught with tension for many employees. Others might not have anyone to celebrate with this time of year.

“The holidays are not always happy for a lot of people, whether it’s a mental health issue or people don’t have friends or family around them and they’re isolated,” Muller says. In these situations, Muller reminds employees of available support hotlines.