How to keep your project up and running during the holiday season?
Let’s be realistic – the holiday season does throw a wrench into the works. Some offices are closed during this time, while others continue to work with every ounce of strength. The season also presents plenty of challenges for your remote employees. With lots of festive responsibilities to take care of, it’s tempting to shrink priorities in favor of managing festive errands.
While you can’t expect everyone to be fully involved during the holiday week, it’s still possible to keep your project on track. Here are some ideas to help your remote employees maintain the work-life balance this week and finalize critical tasks.
1. Plan the week wisely
A clear plan tailored to the holiday week is a way to kill two birds with one stone. It eliminates the risk of productivity drops and allows your remote workers enjoy the flexibility and make plans for their free time in advance.
The first step towards making an actionable plan is to divide all tasks into those that require assistance of other coworkers and those that can be done independently. Ask your employees to finalize everything that needs external help before the holiday week. This way, your team will be able to zero in on tasks which don’t involve correspondence with coworkers, which makes sense given that many people are offline during that time.
As an added bonus, your employees will appreciate the fact that you care about their time and want them to have a stress-free holiday.
2. Use group calendar
Calendars help you put your plan into action, so include all virtual meetings, deadlines, and milestones into a shared calendar. It will let your employees have an idea of everyone’s deadlines, tasks, and time off. Essentially, ask them to fill out the calendar with details like their availability to participate in meetings and their “away time” schedule.
3. Estimate the time needed for each task
With the productivity levels dropping around the year’s end, it’s essential to know how many hours a task is going to take. This way you can plan an employee’s workload down to hours and expect a predictable output. It’s much harder to reach goals this time of year when you only have a to-do list and zero idea about the timing.
4. Say no to multitasking
It’s always tempting to deal with certain tasks after the holidays. Working on one task at a time helps to resist that desire, so if possible, assign (or advise your employees to focus on) one day to one task or break down big tasks into several easily accomplished goals. Take your time to talk to each team member about their holiday workload and create a priority list.
5. Avoid new starts
The holiday week is certainly not the time for the big day of product launch. If any mishap takes place and key people are offline, you risk losing everything your team has worked so hard for. In fact, it’s better to avoid launching any long-term initiatives and reschedule the start for the post-holiday time. You certainly don’t want your employees to have your project on the back burner while they are busy managing personal errands.
6. Collaborate proactively
Sometimes you need all hands on deck, but many people take time off during the holidays. That’s why it is important to make sure your employees are trained to perform different tasks and are able to take over a part of someone else’s workload if necessary. Speak to everyone about who can take over their tasks or step in as an expert if any questions arise.
7. Schedule personalized check-ins
Holidays are for fun and family time, so it’s hard to tuck in your employees into an established communication schedule. What you can do is to settle on an hour during the day when everyone is online to answer questions. Arrange additional check-ins around each employee’s preferences. Be sure to ask your employees to set up calendar notifications and indicate when they won’t be available to respond.
Your Productive Holiday Week Recipe
Before the holiday week:
- Divide tasks into those that require assistance and those that can be performed independently. The first ones will be your priority before the holiday week.
- Leave tasks that can be completed independently for the holiday week.
- Estimate the number of hours needed for each task. Create an actionable plan based on the timing.
- Ask employees to put their “away” time into the group calendar and to specify when they are going to be back online and a person who can step in if necessary.
During the holiday week:
- Don’t launch big and long-term projects.
- Avoid planning activities that require all team members to be available.
- Advise your employees to focus on one task at a time.
When the work is done, it’s time to celebrate and get into the spirit of the season. Our team at NCube wishes you lots of new achievements, professional growth, success and prosperity in the upcoming year. Happy Holidays!