By Stefan Lewinger, co-founder and CEO of Sock Fancy, LLC. 

Running a small business can be chaotic near the holidays, but it's important to know how to manage it. Holiday parties and time off for vacations are important to help relieve that holiday stress, but they can easily leave employees distracted and zoned out until the New Year. At my company, we make a point to keep our employees engaged during the holiday season. Here are a few tips that we use to keep the momentum going throughout the season and finish out the year strong.

  1. Recognize your employees in their everyday work. The perfect time to recognize your employees is near the holidays. A simple thank-you card, words of encouragement or any gesture that recognizes the work that your employee does day-to-day will go a long way. It will help them feel more motivated to keep producing great results at the end of the year. Genuine recognition costs nothing and can significantly lift an employee's mood.
  2. Add up your successes. The end of the year is the perfect time to make a list of positive things your company has accomplished the past 12 months. This will encourage employees to continue working toward excellence. It is important that your employees know what they did well, what they can do better and what areas they can improve upon for next year.
  3. Set new goals. As critical projects that were established at the beginning of the year are completed, employees are waiting to move on to next year's goals. We work with our employees to set new goals before the New Year, which helps them become more involved in the company. Employees don't have to wait until next year to start working on important projects. Start setting goals now to keep your employees committed, focused and productive throughout the year.
  4. Offer a flexible schedule. At this time of year, we know that people need personal time to travel, visit family or prepare their holiday plans. We offer a little more flexibility with employees' schedules when the holidays are approaching. With this tactic, we've seen that employees are more productive when they come back to the office. It's important to let your employees have the time they need to refresh and recharge. That allows them to come back to work renewed and with positive energy and ready to take on the world.
  5. Find a means of stress relief. With holiday preparations, the end of the year is often a stressful time. There are many ways you and your team can come together as a group to blow off some steam and relax. Find ways to help employees to manage stress and build morale. We suggest hosting events to help your team relax and unwind such as bowling nights, buying them rounds at the bar or even hiring a yoga instructor to maximize their production. Team-building activities like working to get out of an escape room or holding a scavenger hunt with a prize for the winning team not only gets the competitive juices flowing but builds camaraderie among your team.

During the holidays, employees can get a little bit distracted. Keeping the productivity of employees at a high level can be challenging. The adrenaline and stress of the holidays can create a lull in overall work productivity. As owners and managers, we should be proactive in keeping them motivated to do the job they need to do. Caring, motivating and keeping your employees engaged will, in turn, help them continue to work hard throughout the year.

Stefan Lewinger is a marketer, entrepreneur and co-founder and CEO for Sock Fancy, LLC.