Still the ingredients for the Christmas dinner with the best friends buy, the gift for aunt Elisabeth procure, which a mulled wine play over, which was then yesterday nevertheless too much – the so contemplative pre-Christmas time degenerates usually physically and psychologically into stress. And even though at work the last big project has to be completed or the last invoices have to be written, one has long since felt one’s thoughts at Christmas dinner and during the holidays.
This is also shown by a recent study by the Danish company “Peakon” – according to a survey of 12,000 employees aged between 18 and 55 in Germany, Great Britain and the USA, every third person is mentally on holiday one week before Christmas. Extrapolated to Germany, this means that on 1 December about three million employees are on holiday mentally, and on 16 December it will be eight times as many.
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Generation Z switches off earlier
Younger employees switch off even earlier than their older colleagues. Half (51 percent) of those between the ages of 18 and 24 say they will lose their desire on 19 December. On this day, 60 percent of older employees (55+ years) go to work motivated – their attitude changes only on 20 December: Then only 36 percent are motivated.
“The figures show that motivation to work decreases, especially during the Christmas season, probably also because other activities are becoming more important, such as spending time with the family,” says Julian Tesche, who heads the development of “Peakon” in Germany. “Even if employees still come to work regularly in December, an international comparison shows that more than half of the employees’ productivity drops sharply between 17 and 19 December. During this period, employers should not expect their employees to perform the same way as at the beginning of the quarter, for example”. But what can be done to avoid sitting out the last few days completely unfocused and feeling even more stressed and unproductive in the end?
1. Celebrate anticipation in the office
Sounds banal at first, but it’s not. A common Advent calendar, which is opened after the morning meeting, a biscuit plate, a meeting after work at the Christmas market or a classic Christmas party – all these are moments when you can enjoy the pre-Christmas period during your work as well. With the prospect of a cookie or a relaxed evening with colleagues, you can set a deadline for work and stay more focused on your tasks.
2. Setting priorities
Christmas dinners and gnome evenings with friends, a thousand Christmas parties and a visit to grandma – all these appointments in the pre-Christmas period already stress your mind and distract you from working. Therefore, it is best to make a list at the beginning of the week: What is really important, what has to be bought or prepared this week and what can still wait. With this preliminary planning the head is free for other topics.
3. Reflect on the year
The end of the year is always a good time to look back on the last few months – even as a team. In a joint meeting (perhaps with biscuits and mulled wine) you can review the year and respond to the needs of the individual team members. As a manager you have the opportunity to show appreciation and thanks for the employees. As a team colleague, you can address the wishes of others for better cooperation and also talk openly about setbacks. However, it is important to look at successful projects and set new goals for the coming year. This way all team members feel valued and even on stressful days they have at best the feeling that they still have some meaningful work to do for the last outstanding projects.
4. Redistribute working time
Even if it sounds unusual – giving time to online gift shopping at work can lead to a significant relief in the pre-Christmas stress. The prerequisite is, of course, that employees handle their free working hours responsibly. But those who don’t have to do their Christmas shopping in the evening after work, the household and the time with friends or family, or who don’t speed through town during the break, work much more relaxed. It is often a big plus to be able to order parcels for work so that you don’t have to queue up at the full post office after a long day.
5. Planning compensation and reducing claims
Especially for those who have to work over the holidays, it can be helpful to plan their free time after the working days. The head is not already in holiday mode, but the working time is finally working. And in the end it can also help to simply reduce one’s own demands: The apartment is not perfectly decorated? You can’t make it to the Christmas party, can you? Or maybe you just don’t feel like scrap metal and are unproductive at work? May also be! After all, Christmas is the celebration of love and not of pressure and stress.