The HR Holiday Survival Kit

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And for a lot of us out there in the HR world it can be the craziest! But have no fear, PurelyHR is here with some of the top tips for HR professionals on how to survive the Holidays!

#1) Manage PTO and Office Hours

Okay, so here at PurelyHR time away from the office is kind of our thing. We believe that in order for you to do your best work, you need to be your best self and that can require some recharging from time to time. The holidays are NO different, however – every business, is. Some businesses have blackout periods during the holidays because of high demand from their customers so you’re going to want to make sure that your employees are heavily aware of this even before the holiday season starts so they can make their festive plans accordingly.

Other businesses have an unlimited vacation policy and if there’s ever a time for this to get out of hand it’s about now, so you’re going to want to have lots of communication back and forth with your departments to make sure you’re managing who’s going to be out of the office and when.

We also have a lot of clients who just simply close their offices for a few days. Make sure that you’re communicating with your customers as well so they know where you are and when you’ll be back. Making sure your employees are setting vacation responses to their email is a great way to manage this!

#2) Company Festivities (Christmas Party!)

We’re always down for a good party! But making sure your company holiday party doesn’t end up like a Seth Rogan movie should definitely be the top priority. You’re going to want to make sure you’re getting that HR stamp of approval! We recently wrote a guide to throwing an office Halloween party and a lot of those tips are still relevant to this time of year:

It’s important to remember that not everyone loves the holidays as much as I do. When sending out your initial invites and communications, make sure staff are aware that it is not required for them to attend or participate in any holidays festivities hosted by the company.

Your initial invitations are also a great opportunity for you to remind staff that even though you’ll be letting loose for a few hours with your co-workers, it’s still very much an office party and so standard office party rules will apply. Here are a few quick pieces you might want to bring to their attention:

Dress code: Many businesses have a set standard of dress in the office and the office holiday party should be no different.

Drink responsibly: It’s fairly common practice for alcohol to be served at your office holiday parties especially after hours! Don’t feel like you have to shy away from providing booze to your staff or allowing a BYOB policy, but if you do, make sure you’re implementing some sort of buddy system, encourage carpooling, have a key jar for employees who are planning on leaving their cars overnight, etc.

Harassment policies: With a mix of alcohol and lack of dress code implementation you may find yourself with an abundance of harassment complaints. Reiterating your inclusive nature and zero tolerance for harassment beforehand is the best way to set expectations and have the best office party all year!

Implementing just a few of these points in your first communications regarding your stellar office Holiday party will be your recipe for success!

#3) Safety

The inspiration for this post actually came from an email detailing some holiday safety tips! Depending on what part of the world you live in things can get a little… slippery, around the office! Make sure you remember to salt your entry and walkways to reduce any risk of falls outside the office. At PurelyHR we encourage comfy socks and slippers inside so not to spread snow and mud through the building creating an environment free of slippery, hazardous falls. You might also want to check for potential falling snow and ice opportunities around your building and put up proper signage as deemed necessary.

The holiday season isn’t all singing carols and exchanging gifts. It introduces a lot of illness, like the common cold or the flu. The last thing you want is a sick employee sneezing in your office, spreading germs to the entire workplace. Leading to more sick days and higher levels of absenteeism.

Tip: To prevent germs from spreading, promote a policy to discourage sick staff from coming to the office. Share the three R’s of beating a holiday season illness — rest, relax, and repeat.

Also, create and distribute a “Hygiene Handbook” to teach your staff proper hygiene. Host “hygiene huddles” to review tips on how to stay healthy and prevent spreading germs during the holiday season. An educated workforce is a healthier workforce. Keep in mind that most of this information will be redundant and can even be considered condescending to some employees. However, it’s still very necessary to deliver this information in a funny/creative way!

Putting up decorations around the office? Fun! Just make sure to use a proper step stool or safety ladder and be sure to have a spot buddy just in case!

One of the major benefits of this time of year is the abundance of food usually brought to the office. Just make sure your staff is aware of allergies in the office.

#4) Inclusion

No one likes to feel left out. And it’s important to recognize that different cultures represent different festivities. If your team is really diverse, this is something you definitely want to take into consideration. Notice how we refer to this as a Holiday guide and not a Christmas guide? Other holidays taking place around the same time include Hanukah and Kwanza!

And there you have it! A few tips and tricks to help you and your team navigate the stresses the holiday season can bring. Just remember to be attentive and respectful, while also having fun! And you’ll be sure to glide on through to the new year!

On behalf of the PurelyHR team, we wish you and yours the happiest of holidays!