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How To Manage Holiday Expectations in the WorkplaceThe holiday season is here! The next couple of weeks will bring lots of opportunities to celebrate, as we all anticipate taking some much needed time to rest, recuperate and reconnect with loved ones (for ideas on successfully negotiating holiday work celebrations, click here).

While this time of year can be pretty wonderful, navigating holiday expectations in the workplace can also bring the potential for miscommunication. Do your employees know what to expect from your organization during the holidays?

Here’s how to make sure everyone in your workplace is on the same page this season:

Keep them in the loop. Let employees know early how you plan to handle the holidays. Will you be remaining open over the holidays? Are you planning to host a work celebration? Do your employees have their schedules well in advance? What is your position on holiday bonuses? Anticipate employee requests and have answers ready. If you can reasonably do so, accommodate employee requests for time off, even if they’re last minute: your team works hard and deserves it! Plus, nothing improves engagement more than feeling appreciated and accommodated by your employer.

Plan for the final push. We all know how it works. The holiday season is crunch time for many organizations trying to close out the year on a high note. It might be too late to plan for it this year, but avoid putting unrealistic expectations on employees. Keep goals within reach and build in extra wrap-up time during the planning stage if you know a project will be due around the holidays. That way, employees start their holiday feeling good about work, rather than feeling stressed, under-appreciated, and dreading having to return.

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‘Tis the season for appreciation. The holiday season is the perfect time to recommit to creating a culture of recognition and appreciation. Refocus your attention on your greatest asset – your employees! There are lots of small ways to show employees their efforts are appreciated during the holidays, and they don’t have to be expensive. Here’s a list of ideas to get you started. Maintain momentum and keep morale high by incorporating the holiday spirit into work activities. It doesn’t have to be complicated: bring out some holiday decorations, organize an ugly sweater contest, or supply hot chocolate for employees during the month of December.

Disconnect. Everyone needs the opportunity to reconnect and be fully present with loved ones over the holidays. Keep this in mind when planning your organization’s holiday schedule. If at all possible, encourage employees to disconnect (really!) from work-related phone and email for at least a few days. Give employees time to plan for disconnecting, by letting them know that you’d like them to step away from their emails ahead of time. That way, they can tell people they won’t be available, set an email out-of-office message and create a contingency plan for urgent situations.

Your Engaged HR Assignment

Set expectations for your employees by modelling what you want them to do. Show them what disconnecting looks like by making the commitment to disconnect yourself over the holidays.

While it may not be feasible to totally disengage from everything work-related, keep email-checking to only once a day, and hold yourself to it – you deserve a holiday, too!

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