As the holidays approach and Q4 comes to a close, the pressure of chaotic work obligations, deadlines, and family and holiday shopping can cause tensions to run high at the office. If you’d like to keep morale high this season, here are some great suggestions to bring some holiday cheer to your team.

Recognize employees

This one may seem obvious, but it’s worth emphasizing. Employee recognition is directly linked to employee motivation. 86 percent of employees say that being recognized motivates them in their job. According to a survey published by employee recognition company Globoforce, a thank you that is paired with an associated gift or reward is the most powerful and lasting form of recognition. Whether it’s a gift card, a small bonus, or an extra day or two off, saying thank you and demonstrating it in a meaningful way can make the holidays truly festive for your employees.

Get creative with holiday activities

Making time to celebrate the holidays throughout the season can help make the workday not just another day at the office. “One great way to keep employees motivated during the holiday season is to turn the month of December into 31 days full of celebrations,” says Dana Case, Director of Operations at “Here at MyCorporation, we do ’31 Days of Magic at MyCorp’ where each day we have a different activity that celebrates the season from a gingerbread house competition to carols and hot chocolate. It engages the whole team, is relatively inexpensive, gets everyone excited, plus it’s fun to share via social media!”

Give free food

Tasty food and drink are vividly associated with the holidays, so why not coordinate a sit-down meal for your employees? Food is a budget-friendly option that any employer can afford. Festive ideas include inviting employees to partake in a collective potluck, catering a company-sponsored brunch, or taking employees out for a dinner. Letting loose and providing an array of delicious food is a great way to give thanks. Plus, a 2015 workplace survey conducted by Seamless indicates that a well-fed employee is a happy employee.

Don’t overwork your staff

Burnout is notorious during the holiday season. Take a step back and consider whether you can lessen the stress of your employees. For instance, Dan Bell, a Recruiter at NerdHire, suggests “Allow for some work from home flexibility and offer holiday foods and beverages to help relieve stress, like eggnog, hot cocoa, pie, etc.” Carolina Quintero, the Human Resources Leader for Optime Consulting, suggests “Encourage a break by inviting organic juice companies to do a surprise visit during peak downtime to keep good morale and a quick energy boost. Also, offer weekly surprise treats, from healthy green snack options, lunch on us, popcorn hours, and monthly wrap the day early.”

Be respectful to your employees’ need for time off

During the holidays, many professionals have family commitments. Be courteous to your employees by keeping the office closed on major holidays, and set reasonable office hours for working the days before and after. If you can’t close the office entirely, try to keep employees on call on an as-needed basis, and allow them to work remotely if possible. If employees request additional time off, try and accommodate their needs. The holidays only rolls around once a year!

When employees are bogged down by the constant pressure of work, it can be hard to feel the same sense of joy and wonderment that used to define this special time of year. However, with a little planning, you can reward and recognize your employees and bring the holidays back to life.

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