Project management in holiday mode

Tips for effective work on projects during the holidays

Project management in holiday mode

December is characterised by a festive atmosphere, the holidays and the end of the past year. Between cheerful get-togethers and festive preparations, project management faces the challenge of finding a balance between productive work and contemplative celebrations at this time of year. The festive season often involves an increased workload with numerous private commitments and stress, as well as the desire of team members for flexibility or holidays. In this article, we explore useful tips and strategies on how project teams can work effectively during the festive season. From optimising remote working to flexible schedules and dealing with potential project delays with confidence, let’s find ways together to make project management as productive as possible during the festive period.

What are the challenges of this special time in project management?

The festive season entails several special challenges for project management:

  • Limited availability: During the festive period, many team members take their holidays or prefer to work more flexible hours to accommodate personal commitments, enjoy the festive period, or simply because the remainder of their annual leave still needs to be taken. This can lead to limited availability of employees, which in turn affects the planning and execution of tasks.
  • Distributed teams and remote working: To address these challenges, many organisations are turning to distributed teams and remote working, which in turn can make coordination and communication more difficult during the festive period. Even though we are now used to work remotely, the efficiency of work can be affected, so appropriate virtual communication tools need to be utilised.
  • Project delays: Due to holiday periods and other festive commitments or distractions, projects can be delayed. For projects on which work is also to be carried out during this period, it is therefore important to plan realistically right from the start, bearing in mind that fewer staff are likely to be available during the holidays. Milestones and deadlines should therefore be adjusted before the project begins.
  • Motivation and commitment: Even if this is not the case, the festive mood can lead to a drop in motivation and commitment. One reason for this is that team members may be distracted by the festive atmosphere and less able to concentrate on their tasks. In addition, the added stress of buying presents and planning family gatherings that often occurs during the festive season can make team members less productive.
  • Communication: Communication can become more difficult during the festive season due to different work and holiday schedules. However, clear and effective communication is crucial to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Balancing work and festivities: A very trivial challenge is to find a balance between work and festive celebrations. On the one hand, team members should have the opportunity to enjoy the holidays and thus also the festivities within their company. At the same time, this should not lead to a significant loss of productivity.

By understanding these challenges, project managers can develop targeted strategies to successfully address these aspects and ensure a harmonious festive season in project management.

Work remotely during the festive season

Remote working is not only a challenge during the festive season. However, it is often increasingly used during the festive period to allow employees more flexibility. To collaborate effectively during the festive period, it is therefore crucial to create clear guidelines and support structures for remote working.

  • Communicate clearly: You should ensure in advance that the communication channels are clearly defined so that team members can interact with each other easily. Therefore, use video conferencing tools or chat platforms for communication. Project management software with integrated communication functions will also help you to ensure effective virtual communication.
  • Set expectations: Also clarify what are the expectations regarding tasks, working hours, and availability. Everyone on the team should know exactly who is responsible for certain tasks, as well as when and how they can be contacted. Such transparent communication will help you to avoid misunderstandings and improve team coordination.
  • Use project management tools: Rely on powerful project management tools that support remote collaboration. These enable tasks to be clearly structured, progress to be tracked, and collaboration to take place in real-time. On the one hand, everyone knows which tasks need to be completed during the festive period. On the other hand, you can check the current status of tasks at any time and intervene if difficulties arise.
  • Flexibility in work schedules: Flexible work schedules allow your team members to plan their tasks around their individual festive commitments. If you encourage your team to use flexible working hours, the team will benefit from a good work-life balance. It will also motivate your team to enjoy completing tasks during this special time.
  • Festive virtual meetings: To ensure that the team spirit is maintained despite physical distance, we recommend that you organise festive virtual meetings. These can strengthen social cohesion and boost team motivation.

Flexible schedules for the festive season

With so many personal commitments during the festive season, flexibility in working hours becomes crucial to meet the individual needs of team members. Here are some best practices for creating flexible schedules that take the festive spirit into account:

  • Individual arrangements: Encourage your team to make individual arrangements between team members to allow for more flexible working hours. This could mean that some team members start work early in the morning but finish early, while others may start later and then work longer.
  • Planning ahead: Especially when projects extend beyond the holidays, important milestones need to be reached on time or a project has to be completed this year, you should ask your team members to plan early on. This way, festive commitments can be taken into account in advance.
  • Clear communication about availability: With flexible working hours, you should ensure that team members communicate their availability. This way, everyone involved knows when someone is available and when they are not. This prevents misunderstandings and promotes transparency within the team. A shared calendar can help to maintain an overview at all times, especially in larger teams.
  • Flexible breaks and free time: Allow space for flexible breaks and free time to allow team members to enjoy the festive atmosphere. This helps to reduce stress and maintain motivation.
  • Team coordination: Encourage team coordination to ensure that more flexible working hours do not lead to disagreements or arguments. A coordinated schedule allows the team to continue to work together efficiently.

Dealing with project delays and deadlines

Despite all the measurements mentioned so far, the festive season holds great potential for unforeseen challenges that can lead to project delays. Smart strategies and transparent communication are essential to proactively tackle these situations and still achieve milestones:

  • Realistic planning: The festive season comes out of the blue for some people every year. But they are very easy to plan for. You should therefore take the festive season into account as early as possible when planning your project to plan for potential delays. If you set realistic goals for this time of year from the outset, you can avoid disappointment and still work productively.
  • Prioritise tasks: Identify critical tasks and milestones that absolutely must be achieved during the festive period. You should prioritise these to ensure the team focuses its resources on the essentials.
  • Transparent communication: This is another area where transparent communication is of the utmost importance. Communicate possible delays early and openly to your team and all stakeholders. This will allow you to look for solutions together and develop alternative strategies. At the same time, you can hope for the understanding of your stakeholders if a deadline cannot be met.
  • Adjusting deadlines: If necessary, you should adjust deadlines to take account of the changed working conditions. These adjustments should be made in consultation with the team and stakeholders to ensure a common understanding. Even with the best planning, you may be forced to make adjustments, for example if the festive season not only means that fewer team members are available, but also that others are absent due to illness.
  • Flexibility in goal setting: Especially around the turn of the year, sticking to rigid targets can lead to frustration, while a little flexibility makes it easier to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. Encourage your team to set flexible targets which leave room for adjustments.

Promoting team motivation and cohesion

Amid festive joy and a reflective atmosphere, it is crucial to maintain team spirit and motivation. Team cohesion plays a key role in staying productive during the festive season. At the same time, the festive atmosphere and the turn of the year provide a good opportunity to celebrate past successes and strengthen team cohesion.

  • Festive team activities: Organise festive team activities, whether virtual or on-site, to create a positive atmosphere. A Christmas dinner together or a visit to a Christmas market will strengthen team spirit and promote mutual understanding. Virtual games, cooking together or exchanging gifts can also strengthen team spirit and create a festive atmosphere.
  • Recognition and appreciation: Show appreciation for the efforts of each team member, especially during the festive season. Personal recognition and small tokens of appreciation can have a big impact, increase commitment and ensure that your team enjoys working during this time too.
  • Flexibility in working hours: When possible, allow some flexibility in work hours to accommodate individual commitments. This gesture shows understanding of the needs of team members and promotes a positive work environment.
  • Clear communication of goals: Communicate the team’s shared goals for the festive period. A shared understanding of priorities facilitates collaboration and gives the team a clear direction.


Especially during the festive season, project management faces unique challenges that require careful planning and flexible strategies. With a balance of flexibility, transparent communication and understanding of your team members’ individual commitments, you can remain productive during this time. By paying attention not only to the progress of your projects but also to the well-being and cohesion of the team, you can create a positive and motivated atmosphere and enjoy the festive spirit. So this time is not only an opportunity to work effectively but also to strengthen team spirit and end the year on a positive note.

The use of project management software such as myPARM is recommended for the smooth implementation of these recommendations. The software’s functions not only support you with communication and coordination but also provide clear structures for planning and tracking tasks. This makes project management efficient and successful even during this time. With this in mind, Parm Ltd wishes you a happy and productive festive season!

Learn more about the project and portfolio management software myPARM:

Would you like to get to know myPARM in a demo presentation? Then make an appointment with us right away!

Your registration could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription was successful. Please check your mailbox and confirm your registration.
Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and stay informed about Parm AG products, news, trends in project management as well as offers and events.