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Not taking leave this year?

25 December 2012, 11:37

During December, the half-empty office can be a downer. Here are some tips to survive,and celebrate, the festive season at work.

Lighten up

As we all know, not everyone can be on holiday; someone has to keep the office fires burning. And when that time is here, it is best to develop a positive attitude – don't moan about being at work. Lighten up and go with the mood. Roshni Pirbhoo-Seetha of the Depression and Anxiety Society says working over the festive season is not all that bad.

"Don't be depressed about it; you are not the only one who's at work. Look around you; even at the shopping malls, restaurants or hotels where you plan to go, people are working," she says.

Dress the part
What you wear says a lot about you and the company you work for, hence most companies enforce a certain dress code.

Professional image consultant, Doris Msibi, says there is nothing wrong with dressing down for work around the festive season, "But make sure you dress down well. Don’t rock up at the office looking like a movie star or in slip-slops or spaghetti-strap tops," she says. "Your dress code should still command respect and stay close to your character. Don't dress to shock; people still need to respect you."

Team up

This is the best time to be a team player and build your relationship with your colleagues. When you all get along, you can do things together, like having lunch as a team.

You can work your hours so that you are all able to have time to attend to your personal errands, like getting a Christmas meal for your family. Your coworkers could help you when you need to pop out of the office quickly. You can also speak to your boss as a team about restructuring your work schedule to suit the festive season.


Because most of the country's workforce is on holiday in December, you could negotiate flexible work hours with your boss. Some people prefer to start early and leave work early.

Go mobile

Thank the Lord for technology; instead of staring at your computer screen waiting for emails, try a mobile office. You can connect your work network to your cellphone, laptop or Blackberry, a wireless application that allows you to receive email on the go.

This way you are always in touch with your office and all your important emails and documents are easily accessible. All you need is a laptop computer or a mobile phone, or Blackberry device, which has Microsoft Windows and other office features. A cellphone service provider can connect you to the Internet at a monthly rate. Setting up a mobile office can be expensive, but some companies will supply you with the equipment and connect you to their network. Find out from your manager if this is available to you. If your cellphone is connected to the 3G network, you can make live video calls to family. While at the office, you can also keep in touch with your children and share special moments.

Be ready for the pressure

If you work in retail shops, working during the December holidays can be very stressful as it is the busiest time of the year. The crowds can be overwhelming, and irritated customers are numerous as well.

Headaches can sometimes be a sign of dehydration, and unhappy customers and a busy work environment can aggravate it. Ensure that you take good care of your health during the holiday season.

Detox your workspace
Author of the book The Great Office Detox (Penguin Books), Dawna Walter says cluttered workspace can create a stressful environment, which can affect your productivity. "Organise the important stuff and clean away the accumulated dust and dirt that lurks in every corner," says Walter. Once done, you will breathe better, gain new perspective and feel more energetic."

Bring in a bunch of flowers; it will help lift up your mood if you're feeling down. When detoxing your office space, especially your desk, you'll be able to see what needs be done more clearly. This will increase your productivity, which might allow you to have some time to share with your family. "There's no easy way to feel dramatically better about working or living in any space than to clear it out from top to bottom," advises Walter.

Allow visitors
As school children are on holiday, it is nice to take your little ones with to your office. This can lighten up the dull office environment, and having visitors pop in during the day can be a joy for everyone. Before you bring your children to work, ask your colleagues how they'll feel about it.

- Women24


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