Six things to do in the office between Christmas and New Year

Struggling to find ways to fill your working days between Christmas and New Year? Here are six jobs to tick off your list

By Ernest Richardson

Ah, the dreaded in-between time. Christmas is finished and you’re slowly digesting your mammoth servings of turkey and trifle before gearing up for the rigours of seeing in the New Year.

But, thanks to workplace politics and the vagaries of annual leave arrangements, you find yourself in the office for three whole days. And let’s be honest, with so many businesses shut down or running a skeleton staff, there’s not an awful lot to do.

    ...let’s be honest, with so many businesses shut down or running a skeleton staff, there’s not an awful lot to do.  

Don’t waste these valuable days. Use them wisely and you can get ahead of the New Year before it’s even begun. That way, when your colleagues return to work on 2 January, you’ll be sitting pretty with an empty in-tray and a stress-free start to the year.

To help you make the most of your in-between days, here are six things to get done.

1. Tidy your inbox

Show me a person with a clean email inbox and I’ll show you, well, no one. Because, let’s be honest, all of us hang on to emails that needed deleting ages ago.

And some of us even have emails that need a response, but which we just haven’t got round to sorting.

Use these days when it’s a bit quieter to tidy your inbox. Be ruthless: delete anything you know you don’t really need any more. Respond to anything that needs dealing with. Then enjoy the feeling of a clean, crisp and lightweight inbox. It’ll soon fill up again.

2. Deal with the jobs you’ve been putting off

You know that report you promised your boss sometime in November? Or the staff survey that you’ve been putting off completing?

Now’s the time to get these jobs ticked off your list. They may not be the most exciting way to spend your post-Christmas working days, but they will stop you getting bored. And think how much brighter you’ll feel with a completely clear to-do list.

3. Sort your filing

What’s the one job that everyone hates? It’s got to be filing, right?

In many businesses, Friday afternoon was traditionally the time to catch up on filing. But modern working practices don’t seem to follow the same ebb and flow. Friday’s either don’t tail off, or tail off to such an extent that everyone goes home because they work flexi-time.

Chances are, then, that you have a stack of paperwork to sort, and this is the perfect opportunity to do it. You’ll probably find most of it can be filed in the bin. But wherever it ends up, imagine how much happier you’ll feel when you can see your desk again.

    Give yourself some thinking space during the post-Christmas lull.  

4. Do an expenses claim

It’s crazy when you think about it: your employer owes you money for costs you’ve borne on their behalf. But you need to file an expenses claim to access it. And that’s a job that can easily be put to the bottom of your priority list when more time-sensitive demands start pressing.

So (you know where I’m going with this): get it done during the in-between time. Not only will it be a weight off your mind. It’ll also be a bit of additional bunce to see you through the New Year.

5. Take time to think

Modern life can be rubbish – or exceedingly stressful, at least. In the daily rub of office life, there is precious little time to let your creative or intellectual juices flow.

But we all know that this is when the good stuff happens. It’s why 3M lets employees spend 15 per cent of their time engaged in non-business-critical projects. It was in this 15 per cent that innovations like reflective number plates and Post-It notes were invented, which just goes to show what happens when your mind roams free.

Give yourself some thinking space during the post-Christmas lull. Take time to surf the net, following flights of fancy and diving into rabbit holes. Read that article you’ve had bookmarked for ages. Hang out on the Just Recruitment website and engage with the dizzying variety of content there.

However you do it, use this precious time when it’s quiet just to… think. Everyone benefits when you take a breath or two.

    Without going overboard, use your quiet time to fire off a few words of thanks to deserving recipients.  

6. Send some thank you notes

After Christmas is the season for thank-you notes. But the ones you should be sending from the office aren’t to Great Aunt Agatha expressing gratitude for your new train set.

These ones are for colleagues: those who have gone the extra mile over the past 12 months. The people who have made your life easier, either by being ultra-efficient or extra helpful, or perhaps just because they’re great to be around.

A little bit of gratitude and encouragement can be a great motivator. It makes people feel valued, noticed, admired.

Without going overboard, use your quiet time to fire off a few words of thanks to deserving recipients. It’s sure to bring them cheer… especially if, like you, they’re stuck in the office while the rest of the world gorges Quality Street and watches reruns of old Bond movies.

© Just Recruitment Group Ltd

Published: 27 December 2019

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