7 steps to motivate your team through the holiday slump and into the new year

by Time Doctor
holiday slump

The holidays, a time for celebration, gratitude, and, for many businesses, overcoming the infamous holiday slump, are quickly arriving. As a manager or team leader, you are certainly already aware of the challenges that come with this period. There could be a decline in motivation, a tired feeling overall in the office, and a drop in productivity. But worry not! You can help your staff get over the holiday slump and get them inspired for the new year by following these seven steps.

1. Spot burnout

The first step in addressing the holiday slump is to recognize burnout among your team members. There are many different ways that burnout might show up, including impatience, missing deadlines, or a noticeable decrease in participation. It may be more difficult to identify in distant teams, but indicators such as overall disorder during video conferences or absence from virtual meetings can be telling.

Remember that the holiday season isn’t joyous for everyone. Some team members might be dealing with personal challenges or feelings of isolation. Be empathetic and offer support where needed, including access to mental health resources if appropriate.

2. Give them a break

During the bustle of the holidays, remember that the people on your team are human. Consider offering them the gift of time off rather than loading on more work or planning complicated team-building exercises. This may include providing unexpected half-days, permitting early office closings, or calling off unnecessary meetings to give everyone a moment to reset.

3. Keep things light

Even though December may be a busy month for some companies, you may still bring some humor into the workplace. Promote positivity by adopting humor and a carefree attitude. Post jokes, memes, or funny stories on your communication channels, and make sure leadership is actively involved in fostering a light work environment.

During the holidays, a little laughter goes a long way toward reducing stress and increasing team spirit.

4. Manage remote relationships

It can be difficult to control burnout and preserve unity in distant teams. It might be a good idea to occasionally postpone meetings and encourage team members to take quick breaks to engage in activities like walking, reading, or simply getting a cup of coffee. If someone is having trouble, offer to talk to them one-on-one over a walk that combines business and leisure.

Always try to establish a connection with remote team members, even if it’s just for a quick conversation, and set an example for these habits to show how important they are.

5. Plan ahead

While you’re navigating the current holiday slump, it’s never too early to start planning for a successful new year. Implement practices that promote a healthier work-life balance, such as offering half-days throughout the year or ensuring employees utilize their vacation time.

By taking the initiative to encourage well-deserved breaks, you’ll set your team up for greater productivity and success in the long run.

6. Show appreciation

One of the most effective ways to reenergize your team during the holiday season is by showing genuine appreciation. Specific and personalized compliments that highlight individuals’ contributions make a significant impact. Avoid generic statements like “Thank you for your hard work” and instead focus on acknowledging the specific habits, routines, and characteristics that set your team members apart.

If possible, consider offering holiday bonuses, rewards, or gifts to show your team that their efforts are valued and appreciated.

7. Capitalize on the new year mindset

As the new year approaches, use this time as an opportunity to set clear goals and plans for the upcoming year. Revisit job descriptions, encourage team members to consider their career growth within the company, and hold regular check-ins to gauge their feelings about their roles.

By providing a sense of direction and purpose, you’ll help your team transition smoothly back into work mode after the holiday break, setting the stage for a productive and motivated start to the year.


The holiday slump doesn’t have to be a stumbling block for your team. By recognizing burnout, offering breaks, maintaining a positive atmosphere, managing remote relationships, planning ahead, showing appreciation, and capitalizing on the new year mindset, you can successfully guide your team through the holiday season and into a motivated and productive new year. Remember, a motivated team is a powerful asset, and your leadership can make all the difference.

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