This wonderful time of the year can also prove to be the least productive time for employees. They may be planning trips to see family, trying to squeeze in shopping, caring for children on break or dealing with a variety of other issues that arise.

Your employees may find it difficult to focus on their jobs with all the holiday distractions, so here are ways to maximize employee productivity as we enter into the 2017 holiday season:

Be present.

Show your face. Regardless of how packed your schedule is, find time to be present with your employees outside of the usual company meetings. There may be circumstances (such as having business locations in multiple cities) that make it difficult to visit with all employees regularly, but be creative. Perhaps send a Friday email to all employees highlighting a recent visit to one location or have photos posted to your company Facebook page. A recent Gallup study revealed that engaged leaders are 59% more likely to have engaged teams.

Set up friendly competitions that encourage teamwork.

Contests and competitions work.

Break goals down into smaller units. Set weekly goals to make sure everyone is on track, and make sure to celebrate when the goals are met. When people are able to tackle large projects in chunks and feel satisfied along the way, they will be less stressed and the tasks are easier to absorb.

Post a leader board. Have a quick team meeting focusing on goals and positive reinforcement, or a quick daily rundown to serve as a real-time reminder that what your employees are doing is making an impact. It will motivate the entire group and can encourage focus – especially during a time of year when distraction is more common.

Focus on brand pride.

Choose to evangelize. Remind your employees of why they should be proud of the brand they are representing. What does your company do differently? What are great things happening in the organization? If you give employees good reasons to brag instead of complain, you are on the right track.

Recognize and reward.

Remember to continue to recognize and reward employees who deliver outstanding customer experiences, surpass goals or perform quality work. Be specific in your recognition. Don’t just pat them on the back and tell them they did a good job.

Take your employee engagement task seriously and in turn your employees will shine.

Create a festive atmosphere

The holidays are inevitable and even if you don’t look forward to carols and tinsel it would be beneficial to get in the holiday mood. Show employees that you care about their enjoyment by:

  • Throwing or encouraging holiday parties
  • Decking the office with festive decorations
  • Supplying food perks such as coffee, cocoa and holiday cookies