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Planning tips to hit the ground running in January

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Having spent a week celebrating the end of the year, returning to work once the festive season is over is rarely without a struggle for most of us. No matter how much you love your job, it’s not always easy to stroll back in with a smile and a positive attitude. Once Christmas comes to a close, Employers will be forced to contend with the January blues that can take hold of the workforce and make for a rocky start to the new year. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

In truth, it’s usually the most burned-out Employees who are the most eager to get away and the same workers who are the most apprehensive about returning. Likewise, if you fail to plan in advance and run yourself into the ground before the holidays, it will be hard to start the year on a high after only a week’s repose. If you want to ensure both you and your workforce hit the ground running when the Christmas break comes to an end, there are a few steps you can take to prevent a false start to 2019:

Improve work/life balance

Between Christmas shopping budgets, family gatherings and potential travel plans, most Employees have a lot on their plate during the festive season. The sooner you accept this, the earlier you can put measures in place to keep your staff from burning out before the holidays have even arrived.

This isn’t about giving free holiday for staff to browse through the market stalls while they’re in town – it’s about working more flexibility into their schedule in the long-term to promote engagement and Employee wellbeing. Similarly, adjusting your own schedule to ensure a strong work/life balance is vital in staying energised and starting the year with a spring in your step instead of a slump of your shoulders.

Set clearly defined goals

While a fast-changing business landscape and volatile economy can throw curveballs with little warning, you should still have a set of clear objectives for the year ahead in place long before the break. Not only is this essential in staying competitive, it can be beneficial to your own mental health during the Christmas holidays to know there is a well-crafted strategy in place rather than a vague idea.

Whether the business is expanding and will need to start recruiting in the New Year or a digital transformation project is on the horizon, involving Employees in conversations surrounding future plans is the key to keeping them engaged before they leave and excited to return.

Go Out of Office

For most of us, the holiday season is a chance to reap the rewards of the hard work we have achieved in the year and recharge our batteries for the next one. However, it’s hard to relax when you’re checking your work email at festive family gatherings for “that client email”. Take the opportunity that Christmas provides to truly disconnect from work for a few days and tell Employees to do the same: if the matter is important enough that it must be dealt with on Christmas day and no later, you’ll get a call.

Taking a breather from your responsibilities is the difference between starting the New Year with a bang and feeling as though you never left. For Employees, the same logic applies: if their email auto-response reads ‘out of office’, they shouldn’t have to take calls on Boxing Day about a minor issue that could wait another day.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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