Christmas is a busy time for businesses owners who are planning ahead for next year and often dealing with reduced staffing levels due to sickness and last minute end of year holiday requests. How can they keep their teams motivated in the run up to Christmas and spread some Christmas cheer?

Whilst this is a fun time of year, it can also be stressful for managers and HR professionals who may be struggling to keep their teams engaged. People are often distracted by the festive fun or last minute shopping they need to do.

Our advice to employers is embrace the Christmas celebrations and make work a fun place to be, but also ensure they are clear about how the festive period will be covered – who will be working over the Christmas period and what’s expected, as well as ensuring everyone understands the company’s absence policies.

Here are our top tips to help companies survive the festive season in the run up to Christmas:

• Make the office a fun place to be. Let staff decorate the office to help get them in the Christmas spirit – it can boost employee motivation and engagement

• It’s the little things that count. Let your staff know they are valued through simple gestures such as saying thank you or through small gestures such as buying some Christmas treats for the office

• Set the ground rules ahead of the Christmas party so everyone knows what kind of behaviour is expected and can enjoy it without any repercussions

• If you have a Christmas meal, make sure food choices are inclusive for all staff members

• Restrict annual leave during the busiest periods so you aren’t short staffed and remind staff about your absence policies to ensure attendance doesn’t slide in December

• Check company driver licences haven’t expired and remind all staff about drink driving

• Encourage everyone to bring nibbles in if they have to work over Christmas and New Year

• Consider granting flexible working if people want time off for deliveries, or allow deliveries at work

• Set smart goals for staff performance in December and give small prizes for meeting them

• Set fun plans for the New Year so people come back feeling motivated and inspired