December – It’s Fine, I’m Fine, We’re Fine!
I don’t know about everyone else, but those ten plus inches of snow on Small Business Saturday really put a damper on the launch of the Holly Jolly season. Casey and I were talking about what a good topic would be for the newsletter this week and I thought we could get real for a moment and talk about finding ways to get into a good head space for the next few weeks.
The Christmas Season is great, but it can be an extremely stressful time for so many – especially our small business owners. The Fourth Quarter is the Super Bowl (yay sports) for retailers, restaurants, and entertainment venues. So how can we make it through the Christmas season without totally relying on Jack Daniels?
Do something for yourself. Easier said than done right? But regardless, carve out something for YOU during the week. You probably live and breathe by some sort of calendar or schedule- a little downtime can go a long way. Go get yourself a cup of coffee and sit in silence for 5 minutes (or turn the volume way up on the radio), take a walk during your lunch break and soak up the sunshine, do some yoga, have a glass of wine – whatever it is that fills your cup. These things are small but can have a big impact and leave you feeling refreshed to start your workday.
Getting into the Christmas Spirit. Sometimes this can be a challenge when you and your staff are working, and everyone is spending time with family and friends. People get into the holiday spirit differently and you might need to try a few things for you and your staff to feel a little cheerful. Appealing to the senses can be a great way to start. Things like playing Holiday music, burning seasonal candles, or something as simple as having peppermint scented soap in the bathroom are all little things to get into the Holiday Spirit (and customers can enjoy them too). Talk to your staff about what is their favorite thing about the Holidays? And remember to be inclusive, the “Holidays” mean different things to different people. Maybe your staff have something to share that can bring a little joy and tradition to the office.
Food. Everybody likes a Holiday Treat in the breakroom or while you shop. We have some great local businesses that can provide these treats or maybe baking is your thing. Pull out your favorite recipe and make a batch of cookies to share with staff or friends.
Keep your employees engaged.
a. Recognize Success: Don’t simply recognize company achievements but shine light on those “unsung heroes” within your business. These are the employees who go the extra mile and may not always get the recognition they deserve. Recognition might be as simple as a Thank You or something more elaborate like a bonus (but not to a jelly of the month club). Also, I want make a quick comment about apologizing. This is a stressful time, people get upset. If you get upset with your staff, tell them you are sorry. Remember you are only human and you make mistakes too! They will probably relate to you more if you can be real with them.
b. Giving Back: If you can offer your employees a way to give back, this can be incredibly rewarding and build camaraderie among your staff. Have a toy drive within your business or donate to a local shelter; there are tons of organizations looking for help this time of year.
c. Communicate: Communication is critical to boosting motivation and engagement. Communicate with enthusiasm for past successes, current plans and what is on the horizon. Seeing light at the end of the tunnel sparks renewed focus. Employees get frustrated when they don’t know what is going on.
d. Promote Health (mental and physical). Sometimes all you need is to be able to step into the walk-in cooler and scream a bad word at the top of your lungs to relieve some stress (IYKYK), but sometimes employees need more. There are many ways to promote mental and physical health like providing yoga classes, offering therapy sessions, and launching walking clubs. Although it can be challenging to continue operations if too many employees request time off during the holiday season, encourage time off throughout the year so that everyone may rejuvenate and recover.
e. Make it Fun!!!! We are all in this together. Be able to laugh with your staff and let it go at the end of the day.
Show yourself some grace and embrace the chaos. Take one day at a time. It is easy to get overwhelmed by your business or job during the Holiday Season. At times you might even feel guilty about all the hours you are putting in. Sometimes “adjusting” means coming up with new ways of celebrating or spending time with your loved ones. And that’s okay!
Remember that if you’re stressed and anxious, it’s going to bring down the holiday mood both in and out of your business. Your customers and your staff will feel it – and that can result in lost sales and turnover. Just know there are only a few more weeks and there is light at the end of the tunnel! We got this!