December has arrived, everyone is beginning to feel festive, the worries and panic of last-minute shopping are imminent - and the last thing on most people’s mind is work! But, with time ticking away how do you make sure you keep employees concentrated on their workload and workplace productivity high?

It has been stated that December can be the most challenging month of the year within a business, with fewer man hours to do the same amount of work, and the evident dip in motivation with employees more focused on out of work activities. But how can you try to combat this within your business?

We’ve combined a list of top tips to help keep your workforce motivated this festive period…

Flexible working

Flexible working or ‘flexitime’, is an option that lots of businesses are now working throughout the whole year. It’s a great way of giving employees the control of their own working day enabling them to alleviate other out of work commitments - which is particularly useful during the festive period.

For example, starting work earlier can mean leaving earlier to finish last-minute Christmas shopping, or building up a few extra hours on Monday or Tuesday, can lead to a shorter overall day towards the end of the week.

Another way to boost motivation, in between Christmas and New Year, is to shorten days and if possible, close the office entirely. This will motivate staff to work harder in the run-up to Christmas, knowing that they will have a longer break.

If your company operates internationally, it may not be possible to close for the whole period between Christmas and New Year. In this case, can you cope with a reduced workforce? Ask your staff to work together and arrange holidays around one another, under the supervision of their line manager.

Create a fun atmosphere

Creating a fun and friendly environment doesn’t always result in a reduction in efficiency, especially at this time of year! Decorating the office, playing Christmas music and encouraging employees to bring in festive treats will lift morale - especially for those wishing they were at home!

Whilst the festive period will always cause some distractions, showing your employees you’re fair (and would rather be enjoying the festive period too), helps to keep distractions to key times such as lunch breaks.

The festive period is always stressful, with the same monthly workload over a shorter working period, make your employees aware of the expectation that all work will be completed before their Christmas break, but reward them with a more relaxed working environment.

Christmas party

Almost everyone looks forward to the annual company Christmas party, but it’s not just a great day or night out - it can help to keep your employees' productivity high! The key is to opt for something to please the majority of your workforce and keep the date as close to your company closing date as possible to ensure fewer post-party ‘lulls’ in motivation.

If your company party is going to take place on a weekday, ensure all employees understand what is expected of them the following day, it’s best to establish early starts ahead of the festivities.

Company bonuses

Does your company offer annual bonus incentives? Christmas is the time for giving, and many employers correlate annual bonuses with the festive period with the idea of giving employees an extra boost at Christmas, when their finances may be more stretched than usual.

The key here, as with any bonus, is to be fair but firm and ensure all staff are aware they’re not ‘entitled’ to a bonus, and that this must be earned. This gesture helps staff to feel valued for the work they do all year round when it really matters!