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MANAGING STAFF

Holiday season dos and don’ts for the medical office

The holiday season is an ideal time of year to show goodwill toward all, including your staff.

Here are some dos and don’ts to help make your workplace holiday friendly.

Do

Try to be flexible when it comes to time off during the holiday season. Yes, employees should have saved their vacation time. And yes, maybe seniority should prevail when it comes to the days off everyone wants. Nevertheless, at this time of year it’s worthwhile to try and accommodate personal circumstances when possible. For example, you might want to juggle the work schedule if it means an employee can travel to spend time with family. Your staff works hard. The holidays are an ideal time to show your appreciation.

Plan a practice-wide celebration or allow the office to hold a party. The holidays are all about celebrating, and people like a party. From a work standpoint, a holiday party shows staff the practice cares and it offers an opportunity for team building. In other words, a party is not only good for morale; it can lead to better worker relationships and improved productivity.

Think about whether to hold a party during the workday or after hours. Sure, an evening gala sounds like great fun. But does it work for your workforce? If most of your staff members have young children, childcare arrangements may be an issue—and an expense. Keep in mind too that it’s a busy time of year and people may have other plans.

Consider whether to invite spouses and significant others to a holiday event. Workplace gatherings that include partners place added stress on your single employees. Most people don’t want to bring just anyone to a party that includes their boss and coworkers. Employees with partners may also feel uncomfortable mixing the personal and professional.

Weigh the decision to serve alcohol at work-related events. A drink or two rarely poses a problem. Unfortunately, there seems to be at least one in every crowd who uses any party as a chance for excessive celebration.

Encourage employees to avoid any obligatory gift exchange, even grab bags. Not everyone has the financial resources to participate. Twenty dollars for a grab bag gift might seem like no big deal, but it could be someone’s lunch money. Or, the money could better go toward a gift for an employee’s family member.

Don’t

Forget to be inclusive when celebrating. Today’s workforce embraces a variety of beliefs and customs. Attention to this diversity should extend to workplace holiday celebrations.

Make after-hour party attendance mandatory. Staff members have lives outside of work, and those lives are often complicated. Childcare, eldercare, partners working different shifts—these and other situations impact employees’ ability to socialize.

Lose sight of your managerial responsibilities. As the office manager, you wear various hats; while event-planner/maker of merriment may not be your true calling, it’s a tough job and somebody’s got to do it. Tip: If party planning truly isn’t your thing, enlist the help of a willing staff member.

Forget to enjoy yourself. The holidays are a time for you as a manager to show your softer side. So, by all means, smile, laugh, and participate in the festivities.


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