There’s a lot going on in the office every December. Most companies decorate their offices with lights, reefs and colorful ornaments during the holidays because of the known positive psychological effects it has on workers.
Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told British entertainment outlet UNILAD that people associate Christmas decor with happiness and nostalgia. Psychologist Deborah Serani told the Today Show that Christmas decorations spike dopamine in the brain. A 1989 study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that observers of holiday-decorated homes automatically assume that the people inside are festive and friendly.
It's not just seasonal decorations that keep our minds wandering in December. Secret Santa events and Christmas parties are standard operating procedure at many companies. The office likely feels empty as many workers take several days and even several weeks off in December and January. There's also your own holiday preparations to worry about. The thought of having to spend several days with your rival siblings or evil mother other-in-law could also interfere with focus.
Granted production isn't affected as much as it used to be during the holidays. A 2017 analysis by file-sharing firm Egnyte found that productivity slips only about 5% in December. But that's because technology keeps workers connected to the office. Some companies have important end-of-year projects that must be done to ensure a smooth 2020 transition. Others, particularly in the retail, shipping and transportation industries, are experiencing high-volumes of customers and transactions. It's the busiest time of year for many companies and focus is imperative to maximize profits and keep customers happy.
Here are three tips for staying focus during the holidays.
All the holiday decorations in the world won't stop anxiety. A 2018 OnePoll survey found that 88% of Americans actually feel stressed during the holidays. Some of the most common causes of stress during the holidays are arguments with family, fighting over who cleans up, and fighting over who is cooking the big meal.
The stress is inevitable once you leave work and return to your family. Think of the office as a sanctuary away from the arguments with your older brother who you haven't seen in years. Do not take phone calls from family at work. Make them text you and only return the call during work hours if it's an emergency.
This is easy to say, but sometimes hard to execute. Christmas songs playing in the background, flashing lights, and people being holiday festive can easily derail your train of thought. Earbuds or headphones are your new best friend for this problem.
Some people listen to hard rock or hip-hop to concentrate. But its best to search "rainstorm" on Youtube and listen to ambient sounds that drown out everything else. Listening to people with soothing voices also keeps you focused (see painter Bob Ross). But beware. Ambient sounds and soothing voices can also make you tired. Have an additional cup of coffee if you're doing this for the first time and not accustomed to the effects.
Several of your colleagues won't be back in the office until January. Important vendors and contractors have irregular schedules all month. Some projects simply will not get done until after January 1.
The fastest way to put yourself in bad spirits is not meeting expectations. But those expectations were likely unrealistic to begin with. Ambitious workers must accept the fact that normal production is not possible. Lower expectations a bit, have an extra glass of eggnog, and take an extra break during the day to talk to someone in a different department.
Eco Office understands that our Bay Area clients have high expectations every month of the year. Whether your office is located in San Jose, San Francisco, or Oakland, we'll make sure your office redesign, office furniture upgrades and/or space planning is completed on-time and within your budget. Give us a call today at 408-437-1700. We can have your new office ready by the New Year!