by Matt Alderton | December 03, 2018
As a manager, it's your job to reduce waste and increase productivity. This time of year, however, it's more challenging than usual to keep employees on task, according to Fast Company contributor Mark Lukens.

"The approach of the holiday season is something many managers greet with quiet dread. From Thanksgiving onward, a steadily rising wave of excitement and distraction can threaten to get in the way of focused work," Lukens reports.

In the face of so many diversions, managers typically have two choices: tighten the reins, or look the other way. Believe it or not, the latter may be the best choice for maintaining a productive workforce.

"Making room for a little festive fun, within limits, can be a great way to bring your team together when they're having trouble staying focused on their own," continues Lukens, who says managers will get the most out of their employees this holiday season by being flexible -- especially with work schedules.

"The holidays can put a lot of pressure on people, especially on their time. They're shopping for gifts, attending their kids' school functions, making travel arrangements, and trying to attend a host of social functions -- all while working. So try to avoid adding to that pressure," Lukens advises. "Shuffle schedules around so people can let off some steam when they need to and take care of the responsibilities in their personal lives that tend to pile up during the season. If you offer flex-time, now's the chance to let employees use it, and simply make up any additional time off in the New Year, once things settle down. They'll feel less stressed, better engaged, and more positive about work -- not to mention their lives outside it."

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