How To: Successfully Unplug for the Holidays

December 21st, 2016 Allison Benson O' Brien

The holidays are officially here! For many… likely most… work is going to come to a temporary halt.

Inevitably some people are prematurely tuning out, while others are trying to capitalize on every last second they’ve got in the office. But no one person’s response to the season is right or wrong. In fact, this time of year is one of our favorites to take a look around the workplace. We’re so clearly reminded that we can’t expect one behavior from a group of individuals. But we do believe we should encourage one.


Unless you’re in retail or an emergency medical field, the holidays are an opportunity to unplug, relax, and regroup.

This season is also an opportunity to gain perspective. Which is important for everyone to consider – but most particularly for those of us in management roles.

FACT: With the holiday season comes one of the most dramatic spikes in traffic on job seeker sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed.

While people reflect on what they achieved over the last year, how they were treated, and what lies ahead in the New Year, they are inclined to ask themselves whether they’re fulfilled. We ask ourselves “Am I happy? Or am I settling?”

So here’s our advice to those of you that have great employees you’d like to hold onto…long after the bonus checks have been signed and deposited. Encourage your employees to enjoy this time of year with their friends and family. And mean it. Today, time is one of the most precious commodities you can attain. And take it from us, it doesn’t go unnoticed when it’s given to someone.

Especially during a time of year when it’s particularly scarce.

But how do you send your folks home for the holidays feeling fulfilled and cared for? Well, you’ll have to give it a little thought and figure out what’s right for your folks. Here’s what we did to encourage our team to come back in the New Year ready to make great things happen.

  • Lay The Groundwork – Here at 14 West we wanted to get ahead of the game a little and help people manage the stress that can come along with the holiday hustle and bustle long before they clear their desks. Our strategy? We brought in one of the most reputable chiropractors in town and three massage therapists to come in and offer free on-site adjustments and massages. But there are dozens of ways you can send this message. The earlier you can help people keep things in perspective, the better.
  • Make Travel Easy – Travel is beneficial for the germination of new ideas. Getting out of our work environment and instead spending some time around new scenery can stimulate creativity. But it can also be a huge pain in the ass, and even require some additional days off. Be a human about this. Make it easy for them to take this time off.
  • No Loose Ends – Meet with your team to ensure that they’re not flying into a frenzy over tying up loose ends that don’t REALLY need to be tied right now. Give your team healthy, human perspective. And show them you trust them to get the work done that truly needs to be done before leaving the office. When people are told to let something wait, they will pick it back up when the time is right with stronger focus and dedication than if they’re held to an unnecessary deadline. So in the end, you’re actually getting a better product too. It’s a win-win.


Allison Benson O' Brien

Director of Communications at 14 West

“Ask “why?” when told “no.” Always learn something. And stand behind the ideas you believe in.”

My job allows me a lot of creative freedom. And that can be a lot of fun, but there’s also some self-inflicted pressure that comes along with the role. Fortunately, my team includes some brilliant people and a few clowns; so we not only get the job done – we laugh every day. And I think our work is stronger because of that. We take the positivity, the humor and the passion we have in our office and find a way to share it with the workplaces we support. Whether it’s through an event, a marketing piece, a partnership, a post… even a piece of swag. And it works.
My team and I have watched the companies we support to go on to become recognized as top workplaces by their communities and local media. It feels good to know that this is in part due to our efforts.

What is your favorite company event of the year? Hands down… decorating day. We pull the holiday decorations out of the basement, get together after work with some pizza, wine, and music, and decorate the gorgeous 19th Century mansion we work in. A dream for a Christmas geek like myself.