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While the holidays are an exciting time in the office, they also bring their share of potential HR challenges and complaints. As you navigate productivity, time off, holiday parties, and gifts or bonuses, work with human resources and take steps to ensure that everyone in the office has a happy holiday.

These are some of the most common HR challenges to expect this time of year:

1. Low Productivity

If you don’t operate in a commission-driven sales environment, you may notice tardiness and absenteeism levels go up and productivity levels go down around mid-December. Employees might spend company time shopping online in anticipation of Christmas eve and this kind of behavior can be hard to track in an era of remote work.

Where relevant, incentives such as flexible hours could allow employees to sort out personal obligations without encroaching on work time. Holiday and overtime pay can also encourage workers to take festive season shifts. FLSA and FMLA policies apply here.

Reserve season-long activities such as communal potlucks for lunch breaks, and you’ll encourage attendance and engagement.

2. Inappropriate Gifting

Presents can be lovely, but they do present some problems in the workplace. Corporate gift-giving and gift-receiving must be culturally sensitive and comply with local laws. Gifts and entertainment for employees and clients are business expenses, and thus should be recorded in company registers. Finally, gift exchanges between friendly coworkers should be within the bounds of propriety.

3. Lack of Inclusivity

Another common HR challenge around this holidays involves lack of inclusivity. Be sure not to alienate any specific denomination or form of celebration, and follow these tips for success:

Don’t Close Shop

You can accommodate employees who would rather not take forced time off by keeping your business open over Christmas. And while currently thin on the ground, flexible public holidays are growing in popularity. This practice allows employees to swap a day off on Christmas for a holiday of their choice.

Don’t Forget to Cover Your Bases

When it comes to the office holiday party, you need to cater to staff members with varying dietary and religious requirements and limit alcohol to prevent misconduct and liability of any sort.

Be sure not to make after-hours attendance mandatory without good reason, and compensate as per FLSA requirements.

Don’t Marginalize

It’s worth noting that if you display religious Christmas decorations, you should extend the same courtesy to members of other faiths. Refusing to allow employees to visibly and suitably celebrate their special occasions is in contravention of the law.

Prepare for Success in South Carolina and Beyond

Avoid HR challenges this time of year by making company policies regarding absenteeism, gift-giving, and inclusivity clear. Valued employees will take heed, and you should be able to get through the end-of-year period in high spirits.

At Palmetto Payroll in Columbia, SC, we assist with payroll, taxes, HR, and timekeeping solutions so our clients can focus on their core competencies. Get in touch to find out how we can help your business during the festive season and every season.