It’s that time of year again where everyone is preparing to wind down for the silly season. But let’s be real … no-one is actually ‘winding down’.

The seasons don’t stop turning in the horticulture and agriculture industries; the building trades are working like mad to get people’s homes and renos ready for the pending family invasion; manufacturers are speeding up production to meet customer demand during the shutdown period; and in professional services, heads are spinning as we attempt to meet project deadlines which, for some reason, we always set as ‘we must get this done before Christmas’!

It is in this environment of haste and high pressure, coupled with the financial and emotional pressure people may experience at Christmas time, that individuals can reach breaking point and reactions can boil over.

So we thought it was timely, only a few weeks out from the big day, to give some hints on how to keep it all together in your workplaces and keep everyone safe.

  1. Acknowledge that it can be a crazy time of year and watch those around you carefully for any signs of cracks. If you notice someone struggling, check in with them, see if they are OK and be supportive.
  2. Be understanding and tolerant but firm in handling any misbehaviour. When people are under pressure they are more likely to step out of line.  When this happens, talk to them, acknowledge if there is added pressure and the impact this is having, but still maintain the expectations around behaviours in the workplace.
  3. Try doing something proactive to break the cycle if you see things spiralling. If you notice your team working hard to try to get things done and see people getting frayed around the edges, look for a circuit breaker – it might be a casual BBQ, or perhaps little thank-you notes, or maybe even a small care package. Something that says, ‘I see you and the effort you are putting in – and I appreciate it’.
  4. In preparing for whatever Christmas or end of year celebration you might have don’t forget to make sure everyone is clear on the standards of behaviour expected at social events. Remind them that the policies relating to behaviours continue to apply, be clear about the start and finish time of an event, make sure there is food and not just beverages catered for, and offer safe passage home if there is a risk they are not able to drive.

For most of us, this is the season of family, friends and fun.  And in the workplace, we can all do our part to make sure that this is exactly what happens. If there is anything you would like assistance dealing with in this regard, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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