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After much-needed time off for the holidays, many leaders hope their teams return well-rested and excited for the new year. Unfortunately, real life is a little more complicated.

The holidays–and the traveling, planning, and responsibilities that come with them–can be even more exhausting than our actual jobs. And even if we do return a little less stressed, the transition back to the daily grind can still be challenging.

Thankfully, there are a few ways you can make the transition back to the office (virtual or otherwise) a little smoother for everyone.

Reconnect with employees after the holidays

The holiday season is about reconnecting with the people and things that matter most. Often, the most important thing in someone’s life is not their job. That means clocking back in can feel deflating–especially if your work environment is disconnected or lacks meaningful engagement.


Before you jump back into business, take time to pause and reconnect. That might mean a casual team meeting to celebrate the new year together or a one-on-one call to honestly share challenges and setbacks. What matters is connecting as people first, and as coworkers second.

Provide resources for teammates who struggle during the holidays

What feels like a time of celebration for some can be a draining, difficult period for others. Seasonal affective disorder, grieving for lost loved ones, and managing the ongoing stress and isolation caused by the pandemic make the holidays a tumultuous time for many people.

These are problems you can’t necessarily solve–but you can show you understand and extend resources to help. Providing mental health and wellness services, sharing articles with helpful coping strategies, or even just being honest about your own struggles can make teammates feel seen and supported.

Make employee engagement a year-round priority

The holiday season at many workplaces is packed with year-end celebrations, team happy hours, and thoughtful gifts. While all of that is delightful, employees often come back to their desks knowing they won’t be getting that kind of recognition and engagement until the holidays swing back around.

Instead of waiting to pack in all of the fun until November, start considering how to engage with and appreciate your team now. Getting employees excited and engaged takes investing in a stronger team culture year-round–and thankfully, there’s still plenty of time to make 2022 your team’s best year yet.

Talk to our culture experts.

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