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Motivating Staff over Christmas Project Management Tools

April 21 2008

Staff Motivation over Christmas using Project Management Tools

When Christmas comes round it can be a real worry, to a project manager. You have a backlog of project work to complete, yet many of  your team will be on leave and the remaining team members want to “wind down” over the Christmas period. So how do you keep on track? Read this newsletter to learn tips for…

Christmas Motivation of Project Staff

The Christmas period often results in substantial delays for projects. With staff holidays, reduced productivity and a lack of focus, teams often fall way behind with their deliverables. Besides – when your peers are all away on holiday, who would want to work, right?

It would take a talented Project Manager to keep their project on track over this time of the year and deliver an outstanding result. To help you do this, follow these 5 tips…

Tip 1: Plan Ahead

Most, Project Managers have no idea who is taking leave until the week before Christmas. So they suddenly become short of resource and unplanned delays occur. You need to plan ahead using project management tools.

So you should find out right now, who in your team wants to take leave over the Christmas period (December and January) and for how long. Then negotiate with them as to when that leave is taken. Try and schedule the leave for a timeframe that fits with your project plan. For instance, if you’re in the design phase over Christmas, try and convince your construction workers to take their leave over this period.

Tip 2: Make it fun

Between Christmas and the New Year, it’s fair to say that most people don’t want to “slog it out”. They want, interesting work that is really easy and fun to do. They don’t want to do anything repetitive, anything stressful or anything too big, while others are on holiday. So get the most out of their performance by giving them work that fits their needs.

Every project plan is full of “fun” tasks and “mundane” tasks. Try and give your team members that stay behind and work over Christmas, some of the fun tasks to do. Whether it’s researching a new solution, designing a concept, creating a marketing plan or creating prototypes, as long as the work is fun then your staff are more likely to maintain a high level of productivity.

Also, by giving them shorter tasks to complete over this period, it makes them feel like they’re achieving more.

Tip 3: Don’t burn-out on the run-up

You often find Project Managers trying to finish as many deliverables before Christmas as possible, so that they can show that they have delivered more within the current year. So teams are usually stressed around this time.

It’s fine to increase workloads slightly before Christmas, but remember; only a percentage of your team will be taking a holiday and will be able to wind-down afterwards. That’s why you must be careful not to overload the guys that will be staying around over the Christmas period, or they might burn out early in the new year. Remember: overloading only works if it is short term and is followed by a period of complete rest.

Tip 4: Regroup

Post Christmas day, many staff quickly become de-motivated. When the Christmas cheer has finished, the office may feel empty and the telephone may never ring! Now is the perfect time to regroup by taking your team out to lunch and revisiting your work goals for the next few weeks. Get your team together frequently over this period, so that they feel like a team within a team, while the others are away.

Tip 5: Reward and Recognize

And finally, make a special effort to reward everyones achievements over the Christmas period, as you normally would when everyone else is there. A valued team will always be more productive!

By taking these 5 tips, you’ll be able to keep team motivation levels high during the Christmas period and allow your team to gain the time to regroup, refresh and gain new energy for the coming year ahead.

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