It’s Christmas (hooray) but you’re working (not so hooray). Did you know millions of people work over Christmas, with as many as 1 in 17 employees working on Christmas and Boxing Day? There are thousands of us fighting our way through the frost in the mornings to spend the day desperately avoiding Mariah Carey and anyone with the slightest hint of a cold.
It seems so easy to get lost in the depths of Q4 and forget that it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. So here at SAP Concur, we’ve come up with 10 ways to enjoy the festive season while you’re working.
- Decorate your office.
Decorating your office with some of your fellow colleagues gives everyone the chance to take a short break from screen-based activities, exercises some creativity, and helps alleviate the stresses of work life at this often-hectic time of year. Present shopping aside, a lot of people are actually happier and more upbeat over the festive period, so decorating your desk or corner in the office can encourage productivity, engagement, and a lowering of absence rates – which we all need as we approach our end-of-year targets.
- Get involved in a CSR day.
Christmas is about giving, but how about giving further than your family and friends this year. Giving back to your community not only directly helps those in need, but it also helps you in terms of your employability and mental health - a survey by Jobvite found that recruiters rank volunteer participation higher than personal presentation when looking at CV’s. I’ve taken part in several volunteering initiatives this year through SAP Concur’s allocated CSR day per quarter, including amazing charities like Camp Mohawk and Wrap Up London. Every single one has been an incredible experience for myself, and a great help to the organisations I’ve been lucky enough to volunteer for.
Have a search on Neighbourly to find what organisations in your local area could use your help this holiday season.
- Organise a work Christmas evening.
This time of year gives you the perfect excuse to round up your colleagues and get everyone out together. Though spending your free time with your colleagues may not rank number 1 on your ‘to do’ list this month, having friends at work is proven to give you a sense of belonging and positivity that can make for a great work environment. According to psychologists Sigmund Freud, John Donne, and Abraham Maslow, having meaningful friendships at work may actually be a psychological necessity. Friendships decrease workplace stress, increase emotional well-being, and make employees more likely to be engaged in their job. So, maybe that Christmas lunch with your team isn’t such a bad idea after all.
- Remember to separate your work and personal life.
We all know that this is important, but as the end-of-year deadlines start approaching, it’s easy to let the lines blur. Setting boundaries to separate your work and personal life not only increases efficiency at work, but it also reduces stress in your personal life. Try to turn off the notifications on your work phone and computer when you go home for the evening, focus on important rather than urgent tasks, and prioritise your time.
- Think sustainably.
Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year, but it’s also one of the most wasteful. According to phs, the UK creates 30% more waste over the festive period than on an average day. A total of 6 million Christmas trees are said to be discarded every year, as well as 227,000 miles of wrapping paper, and 1 billion cards. Try making the switch to wrapping paper that can be recycled, look into artificial Christmas trees that can be used for many years to come, and remember to search out Christmas cards that have been made from recycled materials . Click here to find out other ways you can reduce your Christmas waste this year.
- Add a seasonal touch to your workwear.
If you’re struggling to retain the festive spirit this holiday season, a subtle touch of Christmas to your day may be just what you need. Whether it’s a colourful sock, a festive tie, or a top with a bit of sparkle, there’s always a way to incorporate the holidays into your workplace.
- Keep track of your expenses.
If last year repeats itself, the busiest day for expense claims will be the third Monday of December. In previous years, more than 560,000 expense reports were processed on the third Monday of December, which is 72% more than an average weekday. To put the volume of expenses on the busiest expense day into perspective, this equates to nearly 6.5 expense reports every second.
Managing business expenses, travel and invoicing processes is important, but there’s no denying it can be a hassle, especially at this time of year. It doesn’t have to be. SAP Concur’s integrated platform can take the pressure off everyone – at every stage of the process.
- Donate unwanted presents or old decorations.
We all get those presents each year that just make you sit back and think ‘why’. Whether it’s a coat that’s two sizes to small, or a book you’ve already read, there are so many charities that will take them off your hands and make sure they’re redistributed to someone who needs them more. I was lucky enough to use my Concur Care Day to volunteer at Wrap Up London recently, which collects people’s unwanted coats and redistributes them to keep London’s most vulnerable people warm in the winter. This is just one of many similar organisations who can take your unwanted items off your hands. Refrain from the temptation of putting those unwanted gifts in the bin - 5 minutes of your time could mean weeks, months, or years of joy for someone less fortunate.
- Make sure you’re getting the right Vitamins.
As the days get shorter, the air gets colder, and our immune systems struggle more and more. Vitamin C is an antioxidant which contributes to cold and flu defence by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system. It also may help prevent or delay certain cancers and heart disease and promote healthy aging. So make sure that your Christmas diet includes plenty of oranges, red peppers and strawberries, as they’re three of the best sources of Vitamin C according to the NHS.
- Purchase some noise cancelling headphones.
Headphones = £70. Not hearing ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ for the 14th time in one day = priceless.