The holiday season is the time when everyone is cherishing their free time with their loved ones, taking time off from the daily 9 to 5 grind. However, if you are an entrepreneur and are dealing with a startup, you can use this free time to improve your business while taking a break from work.
Here are some practical tips for making the most of the holiday season to benefit your personal life, your mental health, and ultimately your business.
Recover From the Burnout
“Hustle culture” results in burnout. Hustle culture means the more you work, the more valuable you are as a professional and as a person. Founders often fall into hustle culture to bolster team productivity and maximize outputs, but inevitably realize employee dissatisfaction and team burnout.
Hustle culture lacks sustainability. Expectations are high when you are your own boss, but taking on unmitigated stress will only hinder team performance and prevent you from implementing sustainable processes to manage workflow. This ultimately impacts employee performance, personal relationships, client relationships, and your health.
According to Startups.com, “A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Stress Management showed that 90 percent of those meeting the criteria for burnout met the criteria for depression” (Startups). From a simple business perspective, a depressed team does not perform at its greatest potential.
Take advantage of slower weeks during the holiday season to recover from startup burnout. Rejuvenate lost energy and capacitate your team to perform better once the season ends. Many people spend time in remote areas to recharge themselves, which is especially true within the context of COVID-19.
Focus On the Opportunities
Particularly if your business model slows down during the holiday season, take this opportunity to deep dive annual performance and innovate for the coming year. During the hustle and bustle of the year, founders often place bandaids on chronic business problems. Perhaps insidious inefficiencies exist that we simply did not have the time or breadth to realize. Performing a deep dive and brainstorm with your team can open the door for unprecedented innovation and long-term solutions.
As soon as the new year begins, we often get sucked into mass output of sales, putting out major fires, and growing our teams. Before the end of the year, take this time to focus on reflection and innovation to create true sustainability within your business. You may discover opportunities to save your startup thousands of dollars or establish more effective strategies that promise long-term growth.
Work Smart & Build Your Team
Many retail and e-commerce business models realize exponential growth during the holiday season. These startup founders do not have the luxury to take time off and may find themselves working major holidays to maximize output and put out fires.
As such, we must find creative ways to provide ourselves and our teams with work/life balance during the holiday season. Even while at work, we can take advantage of the extra hours to focus on team building and recognition to bolster performance.
Do maintain your holiday sales spikes, particularly around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Based on volume forecasts, strategize in advance on how to offer your team benefits and/or time-off during slow periods. Most of all, set expectations with your team months ahead if possible, so they have time to make and modify holiday plans with their families. Transparency is paramount when you ask your team to put in extra work for your business.
Focus on comp days and team-building tactics to improve performance. For example, if your team member works a holiday or goes above and beyond to put in the hours for you, ensure you recognize their dedication and plan for additional time off once sales taper off. Ensure you and your team gets the rest you deserve. Providing work/life balance not only promotes employee productivity but also creates loyalty, which ultimately reduces turnover and saves money for your business.
According to a survey by Ernest & Young, “every 10 additional hours of vacation time their employees took, their performance ratings from supervisors improved by 8 percent” (EY). Employees with 50 additional hours of vacation time realized a 40% improvement in performance ratings.
Focus On Building Relationships
Take advantage of the holiday spirit to show appreciation toward the people who keep your business running. Founders can go above and beyond to prove gratitude to your clients and employees through giveaways, gifts, gestures of kindness. Limited by cost? A handwritten note signed by you and your team goes a long way to make clients and investors feel truly appreciated.
Take this time to engage your team personally and get to know them better, whether virtually or at the office this year. Send your team gift cards to Postmates or Doordash and enjoy a virtual holiday meal together. Utilize live sessions on your official social media accounts for holiday engagement with your audience.
No matter what type of business model you run, we hope you can utilize some of these tips to enjoy a healthy Hannukah or a very COVID Christmas. Invest in yourself so you can prioritize your team. Invest in your team and they will pay you back in performance.