For those lucky enough to have time booked off, the days in between Christmas and the New Year are often spent watching endless hours of Netflix. Many individuals, however, will either be back in the office or at their home-based desks for 3 days this December, attempting to work during the notoriously unproductive ‘Twixmas’ period.
But rather than waiting until 2024 to get back into work mode, there are small, digestible steps you can take advantage of during this quiet working period. Below, Rachael Rothwell, People and Culture Manager at digital PR agency JBH, outlines some of the ways employees can benefit from working over Twixmas, and how to make productive use of the quietest business period of the year:
When it comes to sifting through spam emails, filtering unread or unresponded messages, and keeping tabs on follow-up conversations, keeping on top of a busy email inbox can often feel like a full-time job in itself.
The quiet festive period, when a large portion of emails being sent will no doubt be automated ‘Out Of Office’ replies, offers the perfect opportunity to give your inbox an overhaul and install some new processes that could help to streamline your approach to email comms for January and beyond.
Clear out your desktop and online folders
Make a plan of what you urgently need to organize, and create a system that will work for you, and that you will realistically be able to keep on top of once work starts to ramp up again in the new year.
Everyone will have a different way of storing their files, but the ultimate goal should be to rid yourself of any stray files, and turn your personal or shared drives into a digital file cabinet full of folders and sub-folders where everything you could possibly need in the future is saved for easy access.
Update tools and subscriptions
If part of your responsibilities at work focus on the monitoring or updating of different tools or subscriptions that assist staff in carrying out day-to-day tasks, the end of the year is a great time to undertake a topline audit of what is, or isn’t, working.
Use the quiet period to assess what paid-for systems are still working well, if there are any issues with tools that you can aim to fix or look into alternatives for, and identify if you can make any financial savings by canceling any costly services that are not being used for their intended purpose.
Plan out goals and objectives for the year ahead
Taking time during Twixmas to take a step back and look at what you want to work towards gradually over the next twelve months, is another effective use of the three Twixmas days.
Rather than taking a reactive approach to work and dealing with each urgent problem, task or email as soon as you’re faced with it, being less in demand due to the time of the year should give you some more space to plan out a realistic set of personal career and/or business goals that you’d like to prioritise in 2024. It will also provide you with the time to plan out how you are going to be able to complete them, alongside your other work responsibilities.
Use the time to focus on your workplace wellbeing
Wellbeing within the workplace is a hot topic at present, and it’s worth reminding yourself – especially during the notoriously stressful and overwhelming festive period – that mental health is just as important as physical health, and is not something that should be ignored or addressed in a reactive-only manner.
Bearing this in mind, try using Twixmas to identify any issues of concern where you can take the required steps to improve your wellbeing from a work stance. Perhaps you want to ensure that you are taking more regular breaks, or a full hour for lunch away from your computer screen each day? Maybe you want to reduce how often you check emails and work messages during evenings, weekends, and annual leave?
Take the opportunity to get to know your co-workers better
Gallup research revealed that agreement with the statement “I have a best friend at work” is a strong predictor of whether you are likely to stay in a job long term.
Taking this on board, one productive way to make the most of Twixmas is to build upon existing social bonds with teams and colleagues also working the 3 days. This could be through collaborating together on new projects or ad-hoc tasks during the quieter festive period, spending lunchtime together discussing interests and passions that don’t relate to your place of work, or simply taking the time during a work break to ask them how their Christmas was, and how they plan to spend New Year’s Eve.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.