Holiday season can be a relaxing time for some and a very stressful time for others! When it comes to the event, travelling and incentive industry, December in the Southern Hemisphere means summer and summer means an incredible influx of clients. “To-do lists” get longer, time off work gets shorter which can leave your employees feeling drained and demotivated. Here are some easy ways to keep your employees motivated and uplift their moods this holiday season!




It is easy to pin point when an employee does something wrong, missed a deadline or has been forgetful and often we take the good things and their extra effort for granted. Signs of fatigue, nervousness or forgetfulness should be a red alert that your employee is overworked. Sometimes, a simple tap on the shoulder, a little gesture, a special note is enough to give your employee the strength to go on! We are all humans at the end of the day so do not be shy to thank your employees! They will love you for it. You will see that a little gesture can go a long way and you will harvest the fruits of your kindness and understanding. This could be a simple thank you note on their desk for handing-in a report on time, a chocolate or letting them go an hour early on a Friday.




As a manager your working days might be different all the time. One minute you have a lunch meeting, then you catch on employee assessment, look at planning, brainstorming and more. Some employees do the same task day after day and could really use a fun day or an outing to break their routine. A good idea is to treat your employees to a pampering day of massages or manicures at the office. This is always a winner, especially when employees are stressed due to high amounts of work. You could take your employees out for a relaxing dinner or organise a team building activity somewhere nice. With any of these ideas, you will make sure that your employees feel valued and you end up creating memories they will never forget.





There are many different factors that motivate employees and individuals. These include financial reasons, power, achievement, opportunity for advancement, the ability to contribute etc. Another major factor is the power of recognition. Employees who feel good about their abilities and their contribution to a company or team are more likely to be happy, content and motivated. They also feel that is something they can take away with them if they were to leave the company, all of this combined will fuel their desire to excel. An award can take shape in the form of a present, a certificate, a mini trophy. You are free to interpret it as you wish and however it fits best with the ethos of your company.





This one pretty much speaks for itself! Let’s be real, who does not like free food? Why not buy a large platter of healthy treats and let employees help themselves throughout the day? During peak season, sometimes employees rush out of their house without having breakfast, are rushed by time and end up eating lunch at their desk, which often leaves them feeling like they had a pretty crappy day. Employees need to eat healthily during peak season in order for their brain to be sharp and be able to sustain longer hours. Make them feel special by providing quality treats that everyone can enjoy. Don’t forget to take into consideration people dietary requirements (allergies, religious beliefs) – we recommend a good old vegetarian platter and an halaal selection just to be safe and avoid disappointment. Free food is a crowd pleaser and uplifts anyone’s mood. If Christmas is around the corner, think about getting Christmas related foods to keep the festive spirit up at the office.


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During holiday season in South Africa, the sun is shining and the world is buzzing with excitement and sunshine. Let your most trusted employees have more flexible hours to make them feel like they are in charge. They will appreciate it and feel like they have gained your trust and are now rewarded for it. Holiday season is not only busy at work but it can be an intense time at home, in their children’s lives etc. Offer them flexi-hour arrangement, if they usually work from at 8:00 a.m to 4:00, you can offer them to work from 10:00 to 6:00 if need be. This way they can get to see relatives, shop for the holidays, plan their private lives a little better or simply catch on a little bit of rest. Some of your employees could also work from home. It is not because your employees are at home that they cannot get their duties done on time. You’d be surprised how creative or effective one can be when working in new environments like home, coffee shops, terraces and others. Keep tract of their activities and ask for continual report of their activities to know they are still monitored. This way they get to feel like they also get to enjoy the holiday season with their families and friends and get a better work-life balance.




Do not underestimate the power of music. There’s nothing like the power of music to plumb – and elicit – the depths of human emotion. And there’s nothing quite like the holidays to do the same thing, especially since the season comes with a playlist. Make the office feel like home, it will feel warmer and people will get to associate work and coziness together, making them prone to stay longer at the office and looking a little less at the clock. Christmas songs might seem cliché for some, but inside, most people cheer up at the sound of it. Try and incorporate instrumentals rather than songs with lyrics not to distract your employees from their task.





 Not everyone is into Christmas decoration, we get it. But changing one’s environment in subtle manners can really do wonders. Christmas decoration can be subtle and very chic if done correctly. Adding holiday decoration at the office will make the workplace a fun and pleasant environment for your employees to work. Some of your employees might be attached to the ideas and rituals associated with holidays and might feel like the company is missing out on a magical time of the year. Add some fairy lights, a couple of decoration around the office and you will see that the mood around the office will shift from bleak to promising and the overall mood will be one of positivity and productivity.

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Nothing like a good old Christmas party to let the joy of the holiday float in the air! Your employee will look forward to it and you can remind them that the company is not just about work but also about fun when the opportunity comes! It’s a pleasant way of rewarding them after a full day at work. The Christmas party is often looked forward to as it celebrates the end of the year and all the work that went in it! It’s a great opportunity to relax and get to converse with your employees, find out about their plans for next year, and congratulate them on their achievements.





As professionals in the incentive industry, we plan other companies’ incentive trips all year around. It would be a great idea to make your employee experience all of the activities they plan for others! They would be incredibly grateful for it. Nothing like a day of pure fun and activities in your own city with the entire team. This way, they will feel highly appreciated and will also get to know the activities first hand and no just through the website or phone calls but actually experience it for real.


by Sébastien Charrieras