Shaking Off the Holiday Rust and Getting Back to Work

Joe Weinlick
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It's back to work for many people, and everyone's still remembering the food at Christmas and how much they enjoyed being off work for a while. Unfortunately, this doesn't do much for work productivity, and, unlike discretionary time off, it happens across the country at the same time. So how can you shake off the Christmas spirit and get back to work?

The first step is to decide what you need to do in the coming weeks. Some businesses that get extremely busy over the Christmas period need to let go of temporary staff that were hired for the holiday period, so it's best to get that out of the way first. Decide who you'll keep and who you'll get rid of and then let each person know as soon as possible; communicate what each person's last day will be.

The next stage is to talk targets. Management is all about targets and data-led goals, so it's essential to produce measurable targets that help you identify who has the best work productivity. Look at how everyone has performed and how your department or store has done over the holiday period. By setting targets for the new year, you'll ensure your staff knows what it needs to achieve, thereby ensuring work productivity targets are clear.

You'll also need to set goals for yourself, as you're the head of your team. Look at what your department achieved at the same time last year and set goals exceeding that. James Caan, multimillionaire and star of the UK's Dragon's Den, recommends you focus on making your profit margins fat. In addition, make sure you include monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals—you want to set your goal for January, for Q1 2014, and for 2014 total. This gives you a clear roadmap for the year.

In addition, you need to set some personal goals. After all, you don't want to be in the same department forever—eventually you want to move up or at least sideways. What do you want to achieve in 2014 that will put you on course for that? In some cases, it means exceeding last year's work productivity targets by a healthy amount, but in others, it means taking on more responsibility and perhaps even shadowing your boss.

Getting rid of those Christmas cobwebs is usually a case of reassigning and realigning your work productivity goals and ensuring you're all set up for the coming year. When you have good targets and a strong workforce, you'll be ready for almost anything. Don't forget your ultimate goal: Ensure your personal development is not ignored in favor of your department's work productivity goals.



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