27 December 2023

The Merry Gap: Maximising Fun and Productivity at the Office Between Christmas and New Year

As the festive cheer of Christmas fades and the excitement for the New Year builds, there’s a unique period in offices across the UK – the week between Christmas and New Year. Surprisingly, a significant number of professionals find themselves working during this time. According to recent statistics, approximately 4 to 6 million people in the UK continue their professional duties during this festive gap.

Praise be to those who didn’t have or get a break and now find themselves managing this weird, “I don’t know what day it is” period.

For employers, keeping staff motivated is going to be one of the hardest things and you’re not in school – we can’t just roll out a tv with a video player and stick on a Christmas film… We need to adult properly. So, how can you make this time both enjoyable and productive? Here are some fun and effective ways to navigate this merry gap:

1. Reflective Meetings with a Twist

Holding a meeting right now would be as welcome as a bout of office sickness bug. Don’t do that.

Instead, hold reflective sessions where teams share their highlights of the year. It’s not just about work achievements, but personal triumphs too. It’s a bit like a LinkedIn bio session which sounds like a living hell but if done properly and limited to time, then it’s actually a really good laugh.

2. Goal-Setting Workshops

Think “new year, new me” but corporate. Make it not just about the business though…

The end of the year is perfect for setting goals for the upcoming one. Organise workshops where employees can set professional and personal goals for 2023. This can be made fun with creative vision boards and team brainstorming sessions.

3. Festive Team-Building Activities

You don’t have to go into a forest and play “catch a co-worker” which is about trust and not some Hunger Games spin off…

Engaging in team-building activities is actually about building for the year. How about a festive scavenger hunt around the office or a Christmas movie trivia contest? Do a pub quiz or even a works Mr & Mrs… These activities are not just fun but also great for team bonding.

4. Charity and Community Work

One thing Christmas and New Year aren’t shy of are things to do in the community.

Many companies encourage volunteering during this time. Teams can participate in community service or charity work, which is not only fulfilling but also reinforces the company’s commitment to social responsibility.

Productivity at work

5. Flexible Working Hours

Given the season, businesses often adopt more flexible working hours. Look, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge should teach us what making people work during this time can lead to…

Employees appreciate the opportunity to balance work with personal commitments. Spending a bit more time with family and friends, doing things they love to do also leads to increased satisfaction and productivity in the long run.

6. Informal Learning Sessions

The likelihood of a ground-breaking idea happening right now is slim to none. People are still processing their pigs in blankets. However, giving people something mentally and soulfully stimulating could be the way forward.

Host informal learning sessions where team members can teach each other something new, be it a professional skill or a fun hobby. This can range from a coding workshop to a session on baking the best Christmas cookies.

7. Office Decoration and Clean-up

In shared offices this is actually a pretty much non-negotiable. It’s one of the biggest gripes we’ve heard over the years.

Encourage teams to declutter and reorganise their workspace while adding festive decorations. This not only brightens up the office but also prepares the environment for a fresh start in the New Year.

8. Productivity Reports and Fun Challenges

Recent productivity reports suggest a dip in office productivity during this period. Watching James Bond and The Great Escape for two days and eating your bodyweight in snacks and big feasts aren’t necessarily to blame.

The whole Christmas period can affect people from early December but between Christmas and New Year this can be as much as 62% of workplaces showing a dip in productivity.

Improving productivity in this period can be tricky. Make it fun is the key. Turn necessary activities into something more attainable and easier, offer an extra day off in the new year or some prizes if tasks are completed.

In conclusion, the week between Christmas and New Year doesn’t have to be a productivity slump or a dreary countdown to January. With a mix of fun, reflection, and forward planning, it can be a period that employees look forward to, contributing positively to both their personal and professional lives. Let’s embrace this merry gap with enthusiasm and make the most of it!