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 to tie up loose ends. . 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- unplugging.


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 team members you’d like to hold onto…long after the bonus checks have been signed and deposited. Encourage them to enjoy this time of year with their friends and family. And mean it. Today, time with loved ones 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 – 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. In the past, we’ve brought in one of the most reputable chiropractors in town and three massage therapists to offer free on-site adjustments and massages. And although you might have to be a bit more creative this year, there are still dozens of ways you can send this message. Whether it’s encouraging your team to take time off, hosting a virtual workout session, or a mediation workshop, 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, even if that just means moving away from the computer screen or going to a local park, 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 putting up their away messages. 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

“Always look for the opportunity to learn something. Ask ‘why?’ when told 'no'. And stand behind the ideas you believe in.”

I am a Baltimore native with an appetite for travel, and a true glutton for good stories. I use language in all mediums to solve problems, make broken things work again, and deliver results that matter.

What is one thing you do every day? Thank the people that make up my small but mighty team.