It’s that time of the year when thoughts turn to Christmas; and depending on your frame of mind, it can cause either panic or jubilation!
We all love the downtime that Christmas can bring but getting there can be a hectic blur of last-minute jobs and social events.
For some, you’ll be gearing up for your busiest time year and employing more staff to cope with the workload. If that’s the case, then you need to continue your proper employment practices even though you may be tempted to take shortcuts.
Ensure you provide new staff members with their Fair Work Information Statement and put a written Casual Employment Agreement in place. Tell your new employee the procedures for calling in late or sick, explain workplace safety, mobile phone use, who they should talk to if they have any workplace issues. Providing written information (e.g., Workplace Policy) reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings and ensures you are adhering to workplace regulations.
Resist the temptation to throw them into the deep end – time spent on orientation will increase the chances that your recruit will do a good job. See more here.
At the other end of the spectrum are those businesses that shut down over Christmas – think construction, manufacturing, consultants and so forth.
Did you know that the Fair Work legislation requires that employers provide their staff with written notice of a planned shutdown? How much notice you need to provide depends on their award.
You can direct staff to take leave at this time if their award allows it, or if they are not covered by an award, but in either case, the request must be reasonable. See this article for more information.
Then there’s the staff party.
Employers owe a certain duty of care regarding the wellbeing and safety of staff, and this includes the Christmas party where the risks can skyrocket along with good cheer and alcohol consumption. This article outlines some great advice for managing employees at this time, including the steps to take beforehand (training around expected behaviour), what to do if someone makes an idiot of themselves at the celebration, and ensuring your staff arrive home safely.
Once you have the major business issues sorted – what about your personal preparations for Christmas? How do you have a festive break without breaking the bank, overindulging and exhausting yourself?
One way to approach our hyper-commercialised version of Christmas is to manage your expectations and question what is important to you.
We are under a great deal of pressure to provide a “perfect” celebration. The food, decorations, presents, clothes, etc. all have to perfect. Everybody has to be happy, and it has to be the most joyous day ever. This is an impossible benchmark and one that sets us up for feeling a raft of unhappy emotions if we don’t think we’ve measured up.
I usually shop for my groceries online and rarely go into shopping malls; I don’t get junk mail and avoid commercial TV. I know that if I set foot in a mall at Christmas time, I am overwhelmed with the feeling that I haven’t bought enough stuff whether it is food, presents or Santa hats. Logically I know this is incorrect, but I am sucked into the message that more is better.
Being consciously aware of the pressure allows you to question what is going on and choose the actions you will take. It can make the difference between blowing the budget on plastic crap that will just get thrown out and sticking to your plan.
I think the best way to thrive during the silly season is to be kind to yourself and others.
Take care of your wellbeing – that is, get enough sleep, don’t overextend yourself (physically, emotionally or financially), don’t drink and / or eat too much and don’t expect too much from yourself and others. Let go of the expectations to provide a “perfect” Christmas and celebrate the way you want to, not the way you feel you should.