Keeping up productivity at Christmas

Ah, the last week at work before the Christmas holidays. It is all too easy for employees to slip into the December lull, with their morale at an all-time high and productivity at an all-time low. 57% of workers admit to mentally signing out of work for the last week of Christmas [1], but this needn’t be an unproductive time.

It can be difficult for employers to change this feeling – by insisting that employees knuckle down, you risk being seen as Scrooge-like and you could bear resentment in your workforce.

Instead, use their procrastination to your advantage. Your employees won’t want to be seen as lazy, but may struggle to get their heads deep into spreadsheets and figures. Instead, use the inevitable dip to focus their energies on their personal development. Think of it as a good time to regroup as a team, gather feedback on the progress you have made during the year, and plan how you will continue in January [1].

How can I engage my learners during the festive lull?

New Call-to-actionGameful design can be an ideal way to encourage learning in a laidback manner that will motivate festive employees to use their last week at work productively. Think festive games; mini competitions; fun ‘extras’. These can all be used effectively to aid their learning and development at work, whilst remaining fun and productive.

More importantly, using gameful design will ensure the retention of information is enhanced; you want your workforce to return in January fondly remembering their e-learning courses thanks to your relatable content. If they remember your learning content with positivity, it will aid their engagement with future e-learning courses – even if there are no festivities come January.

To truly enhance your employee’s engagement and productivity at Christmas, consider researching bespoke e-learning. Whilst it's too late into the year to create bespoke content for this Christmas, consider how you can use bespoke content for next year's festive period.

Whilst off the shelf content is useful in its own right – having been tried and tested, and having access to a whole library of content available at your fingers – bespoke content can add a real touch of personalisation and relatability. This said, your content provider may be able to provide some off the shelf content for your e-learning platform at just a moment's notice!

Christmas uniforms? Have your e-learning characters wear your actual staffs’ uniforms.

Branded decorations? Check, put that in your e-learning content.


Whilst festive gameful design can seem gimmicky, remember that well-thought-out design can change behaviours for the long-term success of your learning strategy. Think like a game designer, and think what your learners want at that moment in time; in December, they are unlikely to want difficult learning content, but instead content that is truly engaging and effective.

By finding the fun in learning and designing around this concept, you can ensure that productivity at Christmas remains high – even if directed at your staffs’ personal development, rather than the obvious goals of the business.

If your workforce is engaged and building to develop a greater skillset, you can be assured that your employees will work towards your organisational shared goals – even if an online-snowball-fight is a method of reaching this.

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[1] HR Grapevine, ‘Christmas slack: are workers ‘too excited’ by festivities to work?’, 11 December 2017

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