Make sure staff switch off over Christmas

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As with all annual leave, it's important employees are given the time and space to relax and come back rejuvenated

For some businesses this time of year may represent a winding down period, whereas for others the constant rush of activity fails to show signs of settling down. Regardless of what category your business falls into one thing is for certain: managers and employees alike look to Christmas as a time to relax and rejuvenate.

But while this is the intention, does it really reflect what occurs in reality? As with other times of year it's easy to fall into the trap of allowing work to creep into our personal lives and not taking the time we need to recharge our batteries. As employers, however, we should be the ones encouraging employees to take time away from work, for both the good of their health and to maintain productivity.

The first step is to diarise projects and work schedules to address what needs to be completed before the Christmas break and which projects can wait until the New Year. Don’t be overly ambitious in trying to get things done, as not only could it result in employee burnout it could also lead to a sub-par finished product.

Emails are another problem area. While the odd email over the holiday period cannot always be avoided, communication should be kept to a minimum and used only for crucial work-related matters. Annual leave shouldn’t be an extension of the workplace, so don’t make it that way by sending employees countless emails that could probably be held off for a few days.

Think of the Christmas holiday as a tool to develop fresh and innovative ways of thinking. Taking time away from the office can serve as a cooling down period; allowing people to get inspired for forthcoming projects or come up with their own ideas to help develop the business. Even a short break will help employees and management see things in a different light.

While no business ever comes to a complete stop, understanding the importance of enabling your employees and management team to have a much-needed break will help reduce the risk of stress levels increasing, health depleting, and the business suffering low productivity as a result.

David Price is group director at Health Assured

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