Monthly Archives: December 2018

Do We Know It’s Christmas?

Do THEY know it’s Christmas? Or do YOU? So early? Once again?? When it comes to duty planning, these surprising reactions seem to be the same every year. And this year in particular.

From Jens Kügler

Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are on a Monday this year. Sure, you’ve known that for a long time. But let’s be honest: When did you actually realize it? Have you suddenly been confronted with the fact that all employees in your team want to take the complete the days off from Christmas Eve to first and second holidays, New Year’s Eve and Day inclusive? … and you are suddenly faced with the emergency situation that on the working days in between you might miss them—or you would have to “bind” someone against his will, which certainly leads to dissatisfaction?

Have you ever thought about the fact that it might be unpleasant to have the employees take duty for a few hours on Monday morning / Christmas Eve, which, strictly speaking, is not a holiday at all? And the same at New Year’s Eve?

Not only that may be unpleasant for the employees. We all know that not only the private but also the the business days before Christmas are among the most stressful of the year. All customers want their orders to be completed in the old year before they escape on their own ski holidays. And everything is to be booked for 2018. Everyone is looking forward to the well-deserved rest, which usually starts around December 20 and lasts until mid-January. This year is different. And there seems to be no time at all to buy presents. I wonder what will be going on in the department stores and pedestrian zones this Saturday.

Flashback. In September there were high summer temperatures. Nobody—really nobody—thought about Christmas and New Year’s Eve, shift times and holidays. Really nobody? I am sure that those entrepreneurs and team leaders, who were already looking for honest and open discussions with their employees at this very time, will now have the most satisfied employees when it comes down to it. Or at least: they’ll have the least dissatisfied. We know that satisfied employees work more productively.

Anyone who has volunteered for these unpleasant days in honest and open discussions reaps the good will and thanks of colleagues and superiors. And he will be the beneficiary next time. Next year will not be easier to plan—with Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve on a Tuesday and completely torn holiday weeks.

By the way: A special gift can be another incentive. No colleague will be jealous that the one who works on Christmas and New Year’s Eve will be served something special—be it a restaurant or event voucher or a package of fine delicacies. This is not just a question of appreciation. Rather, everyone’s willingness to step in the next time increases.

In short: planning for Christmas starts in September at the latest, if frustration is not to be added to the frost. This can also be a good resolution for the new year. I wish you all a happy holiday season and a good hand for planning!

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Engelberg Reloaded or: Teambuilding Event Christmas Party

When the advent candle lights are already burning, it is actually much too late to think about the company’s X-mas celebration. But nobody wants to read something like this already in July. So take it as a suggestion for next year.

From Jens Kügler

Once upon a time in the Swiss winter sports paradise of Engelberg. A Munich company had reserved a little hotel for its employees. A bus hired journey—Christmas night in the decorated hotel lobby—first overnight stay—ski day from morning onwards, organized as a team Olympics—followed by après-ski hut evening with mulled wine, live music and party atmosphere—then a torchlight sleigh ride under the starry sky down from the piste to the hotel—”Olympics” medal winner’s ceremony in the lobby—long disco dance night in the lobby—second overnight stay—breakfast—journey home. Almost 20 years ago. But those who were there still talk about it today. The company did something similar every year, so to speak: Engelberg reloaded, and was regarded as a popular employer.

“We can’t afford that,” I hear some SME bosses moan. Let’s make a counter calculation: Can you afford to NOT offer your employees something of comparable quality once a year—or at least once in a while—in times of a shortage of skilled workers and the struggle to acquire and keep the best?

Recently I read an interview with happiness researcher Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Ruckriegel. He said that Christmas parties can make an important contribution to a good corporate culture. Beyond the stressful pre-Christmas time, colleagues can meet to talk about private matters and get to know each other better. And especially at an event like the Christmas party, an entrepreneur can show what his employees are worth to him, the professor continued. Because openly shown appreciation by the company contributes to the fact that one likes to go to work, feels better and is all the more committed to work more and harder.

For Christmas celebrations, the happiness researcher suggests changing the location and offering an interesting place. In addition, more should be offered than the boss’s usual speech and the always same, boring rituals. The employees should be able to look forward to a highlight. They should take a message or a gift home with them. Something that, as he says, stays in their minds and strengthens the bond to the company. In this way, the Christmas party becomes a freestyle instead of a fulfillment of duty. Or as Professor Ruckriegel calls it, an investment in a good working atmosphere.

By the way: an unforgettable celebration doesn’t have to be expensive. Last year, a small publishing house, for which the author works as a freelance editor, invited its team to its traditional Christmas dinner. That annual celebration is the only opportunity in the year where the small team from all over Germany meets. Last year, the location was a newly opened ice cream manufactory that was reserved on a countertrade basis in the publisher’s small hometown. For the introduction and at the end there was the divinely good, handmade ice cream made from creative recipe ideas including a production introduction for do-it-yourself ice making. Then: a fish platter—wonderfully fresh and varied, from the local fishing club, cooked by their best professional. And a poultry platter from one of the town’s local award-winning master butcher. I am already looking forward to this year’s celebration. Wherever it may take place.

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