Avoiding Compressed Performance and End-of-the-year Stress
The end of the year is coming and with it comes accelerated deadlines. Even if your office is open between the Christmas holiday and New Year’s, your ability to be productive is really tightened by a three-week month. On top of that, people are distracted, stressed and trying to get out the door for vacation. While you might need to wrap up the year performing at your best, your employees might already be drained. So how do you survive holiday performance burnout? First, understand what factors hinder your employees from performing at their highest potential:
· Process shortcuts: When timelines are tight, people might take shortcuts just to get things done. Sacrificing process for the sake of saving time can lead to having to redo projects later. When certain teams take a shortcut, other teams could suffer the consequences. If this becomes a habit, some employees won’t bother making the fix after the fifth mistake.
· Vacation holes: Vacation time can be tough on teams when the departing employee hasn’t ensured that projects can run in their absence. Dropping projects and hoping that teams can handle coverage means more things get dropped. Those left to pick up the pieces will also become frustrated, adding stress to the team dynamic after the New Year.
Next, see how you can address these challenges:
· Adjust timelines appropriately:Even if new business is knocking at your door, set expectations with the customer and your team as to what realistic timelines look like. Maybe you can deliver some elements over a staggered timeline. Then continue to create a dialogue of expectations between the executing team and the customer.
· Fill the vacation gaps:Set up a vacation schedule with your employees so people know who’s coming and who’s going. Then have a departure checklist or plan. Employees should be able to provide the status on a project, any expected next steps that need to happen while they’re out, and who’s going to handle those steps (and the handler should have a heads up). Projects can continue and customers won’t be frustrated because things get behind.