Avoiding HR Headaches at Christmas

December 4th, 2020

Your HR department will probably be a little busy at the end of the year. Not because they don’t enjoy the festivities, but because there’s a lot to think about when it comes to Christmas. It’s important to consider staff well-being, provide clear guidelines, and be encouraging and motivating to help your team cross the end-of-year finish line on a high.

Christmas policy

Every workplace has different policies when it comes to Christmas working hours, bonuses, holidays, etc. You need to make sure that you’re giving clear and realistic guidelines over the Christmas period.

If you leave it too late, it’s going to have a bad impact on employee morale. People want to plan their Christmas holidays in advance, especially if they’re travelling to see family (well, under normal circumstances anyway). And with the slightly lighter Covid Christmas guidelines, that’s still the plan for a lot of people. 

Try to be realistic – not many people will want to work over the entire Christmas period. Some employees will need a break, especially after what 2020 has thrown at them. Others might be happy working the entire way through. It’s about finding the right balance and communicating with your teams.

Motivate, encourage, include

Everyone’s exhausted by the end of the year. 

You could provide incentives like flexible working. That gives your employees space to plan for Christmas (which will probably be trickier this year) without worrying about falling behind on work.

It’s important to remember that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Make sure you don’t inadvertently discriminate by not including everyone in the festivities. And don’t go the other way by forcing them to join in either. 

It’s worthwhile to consider flexible holidays too. Some workers might prefer to work over Christmas and take the leave at a different time that’s more important to them. It’s just about knowing your staff so that everyone can be comfortable.

Another big one is saying thank you to your team. It’s important that they feel valued and appreciated.


Is it really Christmas without some presents? We all love to rip open the wrapping paper, but it’s worth taking a few things into consideration when it comes to gift-giving at work.

Communicate a clear corporate gifting and entertainment policy that’s relevant to giving and receiving. It helps to avoid accusations of bribery or favouritism. 

Secret Santa is always a fan-favourite. Everyone can be included, and it saves you spending on presents for the whole office!

January Blues 

It’s widely considered that January hosts the most depressing days of the year. With post-Christmas bills, failed New Year resolutions, short days and cold weather, it’s a recipe for discontent. 

According to research conducted by Leetchi.com, the 31st January has been found to be the day most Brits hand in their notice!

Make sure you’re thinking about staff well-being after the holiday season too. January blues are real, and people really appreciate the support.

No Christmas party

One thing you don’t have to think about this year is the office Christmas party.

Often this can make the HR Department a bit nervous. There are no guarantees when drinks are flowing. But this year, with many work-dos happening virtually, or not at all, that’s one you can cross off the list!

Remember, Christmas is about caring and community. So when it comes to HR at Christmas, if you’re starting with these values, it’s hard to go wrong. 

At the Northern Affinity, we love community, caring, and Christmas! And we’re always looking for more people to join the family. If you’re interested in joining us, we’d love to hear from you.

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