For many organisations, this week will see the final few days of work for their employees for this year, and as the business world winds down, and everyone sets about forgetting the pressures of work and enjoying a well-earned rest, it can be tempting to ignore the looming NEW YEAR that is upon us.  But, not to frighten or panic anyone, the New Year is a mere couple of weeks away, and while everyone certainly deserves the chance to enjoy a break over the holidays, it’s important not to let yourself or your workforce lose sight of the fact that a brand new year, with new challenges and adventures, is around the corner. But how to gently remind everyone of this, and help set the New Year up right, without piling extra pressure and expectations on people, can be a very tricky balancing act.

How to Set Up For the Year Ahead

Look back to move forward

One of the most important things you can do to set up for the year ahead is to remind people of what they’ve already achieved. A lot of organisations will do this with a formal end-of-year round-up, where time is taken to highlight the successes and challenges of the preceding year, and discuss how the company has performed. Presented in the right way this can be a very empowering motivator for employees whether the business has done well or not. If it’s been a successful year, it reminds them of what they have helped to achieve and if it hasn’t been successful, it’s important to take time to thank people for their efforts and outline the steps needed in the coming year to achieve success.

Give thanks

It is also vital that you take time to show your genuine appreciation for the efforts of your workforce. Your employees are likely to be exhausted, having pushed themselves to the limit to achieve last minute targets, and if they don’t feel appreciated for that, then they will be extremely reluctant to put that effort in again. If you want them energised and excited for the new year, not overwhelmed and dejected, then take some time to say thanks. Gratitude can be shown in a number of ways; you may elect to implement an employee recognition scheme, host a Christmas party, offer end of year bonuses of simply say ‘thank you’ to each one of your employees for their hard work.

The future is bright

Another important part of setting up for the year ahead is to inform your staff of what changes, challenges and opportunities are upcoming in the new year. By being open, clear and communicative about what the coming year holds, it drastically helps reduce anxiety, and increase engagement and enthusiasm as people feel more involved in the process. Also take the time to listen to your employees about any improvements they can suggest in making your business more successful. The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to trial these things, and it has the added benefit of being a great way of getting your staff engaged.

Let your employees enjoy the break

People definitely need a rest at this time of year, and not just because of work, so whatever you do, don’t start piling on new things for people to worry about in the run up to the break unless it is truly urgent (which it probably won’t be). Preliminary discussions about the coming year and getting people excited are one thing, but giving them a last minute project that adds nothing but stress is almost always unnecessary, and if you’re a manager, don’t interrupt your employees’ holiday by getting in touch about work matters. If they have signed off for the year, then whatever it is can probably wait until they get back.

Having some ideas about how you will tackle the new year will definitely help make coming back in January much less stressful, but once the time comes, leave the office and work behind, and take time to relax and re-energise, ready to take on whatever next year throws at you.

From all of us here at Underscore, we hope you enjoy the festive season.

Have a happy New Year, and we’ll see you in 2022.

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