OPINION: Avoid the end-of-year slump
JOHANNESBURG - As 2019 draws to a close, it’s not uncommon for productivity levels within your business to begin dwindling as people surrender to the end-of-year slump.
While staying motivated and keeping a team’s energy levels up during the countdown to the New Year can be a challenge, it is a crucial time for that final push to meet your annual business goals and finish the year on a high note.
Here are some tips for keeping up business efficiency over the last couple of weeks of the year:
Boost team morale
As a business owner, your team will look to you for direction, so make sure to maintain an upbeat and positive attitude. Celebrate milestones, point out outstanding employee performance, and hint at exciting things in the pipeline that could be achieved through keeping up business momentum. It also helps to regularly communicate the long-term business vision, to give everyone something bigger to aspire to and work towards.
Manage time carefully
With limited workdays left, it’s important that everyone makes the most of their time, to ensure that productivity is at an optimum and key business deadlines are met before employees – or clients – go on leave. Help your team avoid the temptation of procrastination, by keeping them on track with priority tasks and making use of time management tools like digital calendars.
After a long year of hard work, the clutter would have piled up; be it physical – such as papers that might need recycling – or digital, such as the filing on your shared server. Now is an ideal time to band together for a team office clean-up, and even look to reconfigure office layout or plan renovations such as painting the walls or fixing any broken office equipment. This may seem like unnecessary admin now, but you’ll be grateful to come back to a better organised office in 2020.
Catch year-end goals
Look back at the business goals you made at the beginning of the year and take stock of what you’ve managed to achieve. Are you able to push through any last minute professional developments or achievements? This is the perfect time to meet with staff regarding their annual progress and highlight performance areas that may still need attention. Clear goals can help with motivation; especially when broken up into weekly or daily action steps.
Incentivise through end-of-year rewards
Look to motivate staff with year-end bonuses or promotions, clearly communicating what business achievements would make it a successful year from which everyone could benefit. Even promises of a great year-end party, if certain goals are met, could be just what is needed to help get everyone out of the slump and create an uptick in output.
Be strategic about staff output
Depending on the type of business you run, you might be expecting a busy upcoming season, or perhaps you will be experiencing a lull - either way, make sure to prepare ahead of time, for example by finalising team leave and communicating office closure dates with clients in advance. You could even look to incentivise higher productivity for the skeleton team that are set to work over Christmas and New Year, by introducing a sense of competition and making it fun.
Ben Bierman is a managing director at Business Partners Limited.