Photo Source: Steelhouse
It’s that time of year again – eggnog, gifts, turkeys, stuffing, family, Santa, snow, vacations, champagne, the works. The holidays are creeping up on us, and before you know it, the clock is going to strike midnight, and 2012 will be over. Just when you thought you were working your hardest, you’re going to need to start working harder. Holiday brain drain creeps up on even the most motivated startup employees and founders.
As productivity blogger Marissa Brassfield explains in the Ridiculously Efficient blog, “Tis the season for distraction and procrastination.” With holiday weekends around the corner, how do you encourage your startup to finish the year strong? Start by following these seven tips:
1. Create clear product improvement goals
Don’t let your team flounder to find work. Create measurable goals and structure for improving your company’s product. Coordinate concrete dates for releases, and keep the team motivated to reach these hard targets. Especially during the holidays, ambiguity is tough to maneuver, so make sure that clear paths to improvement exist. Ensure that team members know what they’re doing, and encourage a supportive environment to help employees reach hard targets. With solid planning, holiday brain drain won’t stand a chance.
2. Keep employees motivated
It’s hard to stay focused when much-anticipated holiday vacations are around the corner. Not to mention, days are shorter and evenings are colder. It’s tough to stay productive. During the holidays, you need to make sure that morale is a top priority. Remind your employees that their work is more than just a job.
“Everyone wants to feel that his or her work has a higher purpose,” Marcus Erb wrote in an Entrepreneur article. “Sometimes, though, that purpose gets lost in the day-to-day grind.”
The holiday season should never, ever feel like a meaningless grind. Respect your team’s holiday wishes. Put lights up in the office. Drink hot toddy. Do what it takes to make them not only celebrate this time of year, but to also celebrate their achievements at work.
3. Launch seasonal campaigns
The holidays are fun, so get your business into the spirit of the season by kickstarting a couple of festive campaigns. Make sure that you and your team sync up with the right themes and tools for your brand.
“Using the right tools to get the right message to the right audience is critical over the holidays, when businesses and organizations are pulling out all the stops to capture consumers’ attention and dollars,” Constant Contact CEO Gail Goodman wrote in an Entrepreneur article.
Leverage the holiday season to drive substantial results.
4. Focus on philanthropy
Get out there and do something good! Run holiday promotions and let your team pick where to donate the proceeds. Pick a cause or two, get out, rent a bus, and volunteer as a group. The holidays are right around the corner, but there is still plenty of time to plan. Whatever you do, make sure to take lots of pictures so that you can publicize your work to your audience. Shut the office down for the day, organize an optional trip, or pick something to do together – informally—after hours. No matter your interests, there are plenty of causes that could use your help.
5. Bring the celebration to work
Decorate, throw a holiday party, or host a potluck or two – just make sure to put that pent up holiday energy to good use. You don’t need to rent out a fancy hotel or spend a bunch of money on festivities – celebrate in a way that is a good fit with your company’s situation. Your employees deserve something awesome, so make them feel appreciated. Go to a show together. Drink some wine together after a tough day. Organize a couple more happy hours this month. Whatever you do, keep the energy alive.
6. Be respectful of others
Keep in mind that not everyone enjoys the holidays, so don’t expect everyone to be enthusiastic and ready to celebrate.
“For example, a nonprofit supporting women’s rights in the Middle East probably shouldn’t deck out its website exclusively with Christmas lights,” Zachary Sniderman wrote for Mashable. “Instead, find smart ways to incorporate relevant holidays, or better still, find a way to include all relevant holidays and focus on the spirit of giving back rather than locking into a specific tradition.”
People are different, and that’s what makes the holidays even more beautiful. Even if your intentions are good, don’t force your employees and customers into an unwanted mold.
7. Most Importantly: Be True to Your Brand
During the holidays, authenticity is everything, so don’t feel forced into a persona that isn’t the right fit for your brand image. If you’re trying to set up a routine that doesn’t complement your existing operations, your team will burn out fast. Celebrate in your own way. That’s what makes your startup awesome.