How to Ensure “Happy Holidays” in the Workplace Are Actually Happy

Amongst the average workforce, there tends to be two trains of thought that rapidly take over when early to mid December comes along. The first is a happy, holiday mindset full of cheer and excitement for spending time with the family, buying and receiving gifts, and eating seasonal food. The other is a stress and depression brought on by the demands of the holiday season, money problems, and (sometimes) excessive work hours. In this blog post, we’re going to go over some ways you can put as many of your employees as possible in the first category, and still keep your business afloat during this busy time of year.

General Office/Workplace Spirit

When it comes to spreading holiday cheer, many HR representatives employ seasonally-exclusive tactics. During this time, many businesses ask their employees to go the extra mile, so why not set an example and go the extra mile for your workers? You could try bringing in lunch once a week for everyone in December, or having hot coffee and donuts available in the morning. How about baking and bringing in holiday cookies or other treats to keep people going during those nights they might have to stick around and work past dinner. You could even bring in a convenient dinner for employees having to work late. It’s not all about food, however, you can also spice things up with decorations, holiday outfits, etc. – just make sure these endeavors are respectful to employees not celebrating Christmas.

Of course, there’s always the classic holiday party. In a healthy workplace, employees are friends as well as co-workers, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t foster these friendships in a festive setting! Having a theme, such as “ugly sweaters,” can also be a great way to bring out the fun side.

Managing Workload

Another issue that often arises, depending on the industry you’re in, during this time of year is higher demand. This means you are often left to overworking your employees. While some employees want or need the overtime, others would rather be home with their families and will be down about having to continuously work late. When things start to pick up, it can be useful to ask employees one by one if they would prefer to have the extra hours or not – do this privately so no one is embarrassed or worried about being judged for their answer. For the workers who want extra hours, give them the option first. Once you’ve done this, if you still think you’ll need more work hours, consider hiring seasonal employees who could use the money before tapping into those who expressed an interest in staying home. Often times, you can use this quick, easy technique to make (just about) everyone happy.

For Those That Are Struggling

For some, the holidays can just be a tough time all around, be it just this year or every year. For workers who need extra support, you should remind them that it’s available to them. If your own HR department isn’t large enough to have employee assistance, counseling, or income help programs, consider compiling a list of services that help families during the holidays and posting it in a couple places around the work space. While you should let your employees know that you are there personally to hear them out if any issues or extenuating circumstances arise, the lists/posters are important for those that would like help but prefer anonymity.

Parting Words

In the end, remember that employees will follow your example, so be sure to set a good one. Be balanced: Keep your chin up, do special things for your workers, and still remain goal-driven right up until you get to take that day or two off for yourself.


Tony– Good stuff!

The holiday season is one of the toughest times of year to keep employees’ happy and the workplace productive. Finding a balance is tough, but good leadership will always seek out creative ways to inspire their staff to work hard throughout the season and have some fun along the way. Another way to keep spirits up might be to play Christmas music during certain times of the day throughout the facility. However, I would avoid playing it nonstop to keep it interesting and fun.

Have another idea? What does your workplace do during the holidays? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

-Kyle Holland, fellow blogger at Creative Safety Supply.

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