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10th December 2018

The 12 Days of Christmas for Workplace Motivation

The festive season has begun! The office parties are in full swing, Christmas songs are blasting on the radio and the decorations are up. We can all agree it’s an extremely exciting time of the year. With December being one of the shortest working months of the year, people are challenged to do the same amount of work in less time. Ensuring colleagues stay motivated is crucial for an organisation, as it can improve performance, increase morale and lead to greater productivity and financial gain. Ultimately, this can help organisations reach objectives before the break.

Research by Sodexo (2015), on 1,000 employees across different sectors, revealed that 27% of employees are less motivated around Christmas than at any other time of the year. To keep colleagues motivated during this period as they start winding down before the festive break, we share with you our 12 top tips for workplace motivation throughout the Christmas period.

On the first day of Christmas, I motivated colleagues…BY LEARNING WHAT MAKES THEM TICK

Motivation is all about giving people a reason to want to work. To motivate colleagues successfully, you need to identify their individual motivational needs. Pinder (2008) describes work motivation as “a set of energetic forces that originate both within as well as beyond an individual’s being, to initiate work-related behaviour, and to determine its form, direction, intensity, and duration”. There are two main types of motivation:

  • Extrinsic motivation arises from outside the individual. This includes external
    factors that encourage employees to work harder, e.g. rewards such as pay raises,
    time off, bonuses, recognition and praise.
  • Intrinsic motivation arises from within the individual, such as personal satisfaction
    and enjoyment from what they do, e.g. personal gratification from overcoming a
    challenge and producing high-quality work.

According to Maslow’s (1954) theory of motivation, there are five human needs that motivate people to work. These are usually presented in a hierarchical pyramid (we are using a Christmas tree), ranging from basic at the bottom to complex at the top. There are physiological needs (e.g. food, air, water, rest), safety needs (e.g. security, freedom from threat and from pain), social needs (e.g. affection, love, affiliation), esteem needs (e.g. recognition, status, achievement, competence), and self-actualisation needs (e.g. personal growth, realisation of potential, self-fulfilment). If you can see where a colleague is in the hierarchy then you can understand how best to motivate that individual.

The 12 Days of Christmas for Workplace Motivation 1

On the second day of Christmas, I motivated colleagues…BY MANAGING TIME

People may feel a lot of pressure to juggle work with social engagements and family demands. Helping colleagues to manage their time helps them achieve a healthy work-life balance, whilst ensuring that objectives and targets are met before the New Year. Scheduling work in advance allows you to understand what people can realistically achieve with their time and ensures there is enough time for essential tasks. You can help colleagues manage their workload by prioritising tasks with deadlines and identifying the time of the day they are most productive.

On the third day of Christmas, I motivated colleagues…BY SETTING GOALS

In the midst of the Christmas excitement, it is easy for people to get distracted by events that take place outside the workplace. Setting small weekly goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Scaled) is an effective way of keeping people focused and motivated. You could also encourage your team to set New Year Resolutions and write them down.

On the fourth day of Christmas, I motivated colleagues…BY HAVING FUN IN THE OFFICE

In the run up to Christmas, help increase motivation and morale by having some fun in the office! Get your colleagues involved by putting up decorations and hold a best decorated desk competition – bring extra tissues for those employees allergic to the Xmas tree. Hold a festive fancy dress day (Christmas Jumper Day is Friday 14th December 2018) or even develop a moonlighting policy for anyone who wishes to make some extra money as Santa Claus.

On the fifth day of Christmas, I motivated colleagues…BY HOLDING A COMPANY EVENT

Although short-lived, Christmas events can serve as a productivity-booster. They are a great way for colleagues to let their hair down and forget about work stresses, providing a great opportunity for you all to bond. The event could be a simple Christmas dinner, an outing such as an ice-skating trip or an office party, involving Rockin’ around the Christmas tree. This year Impact are going to the theatre to watch Cinderella!

On the sixth day of Christmas, I motivated colleagues…BY BEING FLEXIBLE

Be flexible over Christmas so people feel more content with being at work. For example, provide them with flexible working hours if possible so that they can spend more time with their family, e.g. an early finish to attend a school Christmas play. You could also let people work from home to collect deliveries or allow them to take a longer lunch break to do some Christmas shopping in exchange for working later. This helps staff balance their work and social lives better and time spent away from work can actually make colleagues feel energised to think and perform at their best and more motivated to achieve work goals.

On the seventh day of Christmas, I motivated colleagues…BY SAYING THANK YOU

Making sure colleagues feel valued by thanking them for their hard work and contributions throughout the year will help boost morale and improve motivation. Although Christmas bonuses are a good  reward, there are other benefits that still raise morale. Why not hand out a bottle of fizzy or a tub of Celebrations to those who have received the best feedback or are the most hard-working. It’s the little things that count and they can go a long way!

On the eight day of Christmas, I motivated colleagues…BY GIVING SOMETHING BACK

Why not get your organisation involved in a charity initiative to help spread the festive cheer to those less fortunate? Great ideas range from collecting items for food banks and filling shoe boxes to raising money by carol singing. It’s a great way to appreciate the important things in life. This festive season, Impact have donated to Mind, Manchester.

On the ninth day of Christmas, I motivated colleagues…BY LOOKING AFTER THEIR HEALTH

There are a lot of cold and flu bugs going around in the chilly winter months. Try to encourage colleagues to look after themselves by staying active – this can have lots of health benefits and helps reduce stress.

On the tenth day of Christmas, I motivated colleagues…BY MANAGING THEIR HOLIDAYS

Time away from work can serve as a productivity-booster for when we return. There’s the usual battle each year where we all request the same days off over Christmas. It’s near impossible to please everyone but try and make it as fair as possible for everyone, for example people who weren’t granted leave last year are offered first refusal.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, I motivated colleagues…BY RESPECTING THEIR TIME OFF

The run up to Christmas is a busy time of the year for most people. Try and avoid contacting colleagues out of hours and allow them some down time. This will have its benefits the following day such as increased motivation and focus at work.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, I motivated colleagues…BY LEADING BY EXAMPLE

If you find yourself lagging and feeling negative, then it is likely your colleagues will notice this, and it will impact them too. Remember to smile and keep a positive outlook as it will show everyone that you’re appreciative of their work and this will motivate them to keep their spirits up.

Wishing you all a peaceful and restful festive season!



Pinder, C. C.(2008). Work motivation in organizational behavior (2nd edition). New York: Psychology Press

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological review, 50(4), 370.