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Guiding Teams Through Work on Christmas and New Year’s

The holiday season, with its festive spirit, often brings a unique set of challenges for those working through these special days. At Healthscreen, we recognise the dedication of employees and the complexities faced by managers during this period. Balancing business needs with the wellbeing and morale of teams working on holidays like Christmas and New Year’s is crucial.

In this blog, we’ll explore practical strategies for supporting and managing teams during these significant holidays. From offering incentives to fostering a festive work environment, our focus is on ensuring that working these days is both manageable and rewarding.

Recognising the Sacrifice

The holidays are a time when many look forward to unwinding with loved ones, yet some of our team members spend these cherished moments at work. Recognising the commitment of these employees is the first step in creating a supportive work environment during the holiday season. Their willingness to work, often beyond regular responsibilities, is a testament to their dedication and should not go unnoticed.

It’s essential to not only acknowledge but also genuinely appreciate their sacrifice. This recognition can be conveyed through verbal appreciation, thoughtful gestures, or specific acknowledgments in team meetings. By showing that their contributions are valued, we foster a culture of respect and gratitude, reinforcing their integral role in our organisation’s success. This recognition goes a long way in boosting morale and instilling a sense of pride and belonging among team members working during the holidays.

Offering Incentives

Working during the holidays is a significant commitment, and offering tangible incentives is a powerful way to acknowledge this. Incentives can vary, but the goal is to make employees feel valued and compensated for their time away from family and festivities. Financial bonuses are a straightforward and appreciated gesture. However, alternatives like extra paid time off, special holiday pay rates, or even gift vouchers can be equally effective.

These incentives serve a dual purpose: they not only reward employees for their holiday work but also help in boosting morale and motivation. It’s important that these incentives are meaningful and tailored to the preferences of your team. Sometimes, even small tokens of appreciation or personalised gifts can make a big difference. Ultimately, the right incentives can turn the necessity of holiday work into an opportunity that employees appreciate and value.

Ensuring Adequate Staffing

A key challenge during the holiday season is ensuring adequate staffing without overburdening your team. Striking this balance requires strategic planning and consideration of employee preferences.

  • Rotating Shifts: Implementing a rotating shift system can be an effective way to distribute the workload evenly. This ensures that the same employees are not consistently working on major holidays, promoting fairness, and reducing burnout.
  • Volunteer-Based Scheduling: Encourage a volunteer-based approach for holiday shifts. Some employees may prefer to work during these times for various reasons, such as earning extra pay or accommodating personal preferences. This approach respects individual choices and helps build a collaborative scheduling process.
  • Temporary Hires: Bringing in temporary staff for the holiday season can alleviate the workload on your regular team. This strategy not only provides additional support but also offers an opportunity for seasonal workers looking for short-term employment.
  • Communication and Planning: Early and clear communication about scheduling is crucial. Allow employees to express their availability and preferences well in advance. This transparency in planning helps in creating schedules that are considerate of employee needs while ensuring business continuity.


Supporting Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

Working during the holidays can be challenging, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally. It is crucial to support the mental and emotional wellbeing of employees during this period.

  • Regular Check-Ins: Implementing short, regular check-ins can be a proactive way to gauge employee wellbeing. These check-ins, whether in person or virtual, offer a platform for employees to voice concerns, share feelings, or simply feel heard. It’s important that these interactions are empathetic and genuine, creating a safe space for open dialogue.
  • Access to Mental Health Resources: Providing employees with access to mental health resources is another vital aspect of support. This could include services like employee assistance programs (EAPs), counselling sessions, or mindfulness and stress management workshops. Ensuring that employees are aware of and can easily access these resources is key.
  • Encouraging Breaks: Encourage employees to take regular breaks to decompress and rejuvenate. This could be as simple as a quiet space away from the work area or scheduled downtime.


Communication and Transparency

Effective communication is the cornerstone of successfully managing teams during the holiday season. Clarity in conveying business needs and setting employee expectations is essential.

  • Transparent Scheduling: Transparency in scheduling processes is crucial. It’s important to communicate schedules as early as possible and allow room for feedback and adjustments. This approach helps employees plan their personal commitments and reduces uncertainty and anxiety.
  • Setting Clear Expectations: Clearly outlining what is expected from employees during the holiday shifts is vital. This includes work hours, tasks, and any specific goals or targets. Clear expectations prevent misunderstandings and ensure that employees feel secure in what they are supposed to do.
  • Open Dialogue: Encourage an open dialogue where employees feel comfortable discussing their concerns or suggestions. This can be facilitated through regular team meetings, suggestion boxes, or one-on-one sessions.
  • Acknowledging Feedback: Actively listen to and acknowledge employee feedback. This not only helps in adjusting strategies as needed but also demonstrates respect and consideration for employee input.


As we navigate the unique challenges of the holiday season, it’s essential to remember the importance of balancing business needs with the well-being of our teams. By recognising their sacrifices, offering meaningful incentives, ensuring adequate staffing, supporting mental and emotional wellbeing, and maintaining clear communication and transparency, we can create a positive and productive work environment during this festive period.

As the holidays approach, remember that it’s not too late to optimise your occupational health strategies. Whether it’s implementing new policies or seeking advice on employee wellbeing, Healthscreen is here to assist. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for your occupational health needs and ensure a smooth, supportive holiday season for your team.

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