Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
I’ve mentioned a few times recently about projects that might be perfect for the end of the year and thought it would be good to expand on the idea.
When I worked in a corporate office, I often worked during the final two weeks of the year. At first, because I had to. Everyone else had more seniority and vacation time. Later in my career, I did it because I wanted to. The final two weeks of the year were quiet. Fewer meetings. Less email. I could be productive, catch up, and cross off a few things on my “to-do” list.
So, if you’re looking at your schedule and are unhappy about having to work while your colleagues are taking time off, let me share a few things you can do to prepare for the upcoming year. In fact, you might want to bookmark this page and use it as an end-of-the-year checklist.
- Clean out your contacts. I’m not talking about unfriending or unfollowing people, although you might want to do that too. I’m referring to professional contacts with outdated information who haven’t stayed in touch. That digital entry is just taking up space. If you want, reach out and try to connect with those individuals via LinkedIn. Then you will always have their most current contact information.
- Update your social media accounts. Speaking of cleaning up contacts, use this quiet time to unfriend, unfollow, unlike, etc. those accounts that don’t bring value. Also take a moment to update your profile, photo, and contact information. The more accurate and up-to-date your profiles are, the more people will want to engage with you.
- Get your planner ready for the New Year. While I have a digital calendar, I still like using a paper planner. There are many different styles available and they can serve multiple functions like planning, goal setting, journaling, etc.. This year I’m using a Hobonichi Techo. Planning is an important and productive activity that helps us stay focused and accomplish our goals. Find a system that works for you.
- Do a mini-HR audit. Pull a half dozen personnel files and make sure they look the way they’re supposed to. You can do the same with Form I-9. It’s better to have some sense of how your files look before an official audit. Need an audit checklist? The SHRM Knowledge Center can help you with that. Members are able to request information for free!
- Organize your reading. I don’t know about you, but I find that during the year, I add sites to my Feedly and then discover they’ve been abandoned, etc. So, it’s good to clean out those electronic newsletters, sites, and blogs to make room for new ones. Hopefully you’ll continue receiving HR Bartender!
- Clean and dust your office. This is another area that I’m guilty of neglecting. Books get dusty. Computer cords get tangled. Take a couple of hours to move stuff and really clean. You’ll be amazed how good it feels (and smells!)
- Delete electronic files that you no longer need. A word of caution here – please check with your legal counsel and/or technology department before doing this. But my guess is the company’s 1986 dress code policy that is still sitting on someone’s computer could be deleted. Organizing your electronic files will make you more productive.
- Talk with employees. I know that much of what we’ve discussed so far is about organizing paper. Remember management by walking around (MBWA)? This is also a great time of year to get out of your office and talk with employees. Find out what’s going on. And if you have team members who will also be working, this could be a great time to schedule an extra one-on-one to wrap up the year and plan for the future.
- Schedule one-on-ones with managers. Speaking of meetings, use the last two weeks of the year to meet with the managers who are also working. Talk with them about how HR can help and provide value. Plan some strategies together. Relationship building is a huge part of HR’s job. Here’s a great opportunity.
- Take a class. Been trying to find a few hours for your own professional development? I know how hard it can be to squeeze time into an already busy schedule. Use the slow time to listen to an online seminar or take a MOOC (massive open online course).
While we’d all like to spend the last couple weeks of the year on a tropical paradise, sometimes it’s simply not possible. So, if your plans involve work, use the time to your advantage. You can start the new year ready to make a huge impact.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby at the 34th Street graffiti wall in Gainesville, FL43