Minus the weekends, holidays, and two weeks for vacation, most people work about 240 days a year. But each year someone has to work on New Year’s Eve, which is a terrible time to have to work. Let’s be honest: if you work on Thanksgiving or Christmas, a small part of you may welcome a little break from the family. December 31st, however, is the last working day of the year and quite possibly the worst day to be at work because you’re thinking about all of the parties and fun you’re missing out on.
We have a lot of nationally recognized holidays in America and some “unofficial” holidays, like the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and NFL Super Bowl, both of which cost the U.S. economy billions in lost productivity. The difference is that we pretend to work during those events and we don’t for New Year’s Eve since most businesses are closed. But for millions of public servants, police and fire department personnel, city workers (Someone has to clean up all that confetti!), security specialists, entertainers, bartenders, servers, and others – it’s business as usual.
Although many people receive extra pay for working on holidays like New Year’s Eve, it doesn’t usually make up for the extra effort they’re putting in. So as we approach the last working day of the year, I want to offer some suggestions to make it a bit more tolerable for your employees.
Sometimes when we’re creating holiday schedules we forget to provide full coverage and security because we are so busy trying to accommodate everyone’s time-off requests. First, ask for volunteers, and see who wants to work on that day – you may be surprised. Next, try to schedule shorter shifts if possible. Finally, be sure to have both men and women on duty, for safety and fairness. Speaking of safety, there should be holiday operating procedures in place. For instance, you should have some guidelines to make sure that everyone is accountable for one another and understands what to do in case of an emergency. Don’t skimp on your security staff just because it’s a holiday – crime doesn’t take the day off and neither should safety.
Although you’ve just had the Thanksgiving potluck and the Christmas party, and you probably bought food all week long for the team, if you have people working on New Year’s Eve, you really should feed them. A great way to ease the pain of working on the last day of the year is with food. Since BBQ is a New Year’s tradition in this country, have something catered by your local barbeque joint.
Nothing says New Year’s Eve like a glass of bubbly. Most companies have a policy against drinking on the job, so it’s a good thing there are a variety of non-alcoholic beverages available on the market today. If you don’t like non-alcoholic drinks, then try some sparkling ciders or fruit juices – you can get the fuzz without the buzz.
If you really want to make a lasting impression and make employees feel appreciated, do this: stop by and thank them for working. I once worked for a director who stopped by the call center to thank everyone on New Year’s Eve, and we appreciated it very much. He served us lunch (see above), he had a drink with us (see above), and he surprised us! Talk about making a lasting impression. The positive vibes you’ll generate will last well into the new year. Cheers!