As employees all over the country start to look forward to the Christmas break and related festivities, there’s one group of people who aren’t usually as excited about the whole thing. Although the bah-humbug isn’t inevitable…

HRs and office managers are normally the ones who have to organise all the fun stuff for everyone else and usually have to do a bunch of additional work as a result.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way! Here’s my five tips to make sure you can win (and enjoy) this Christmas:

1 – The Christmas party

If you’ve not booked it by now, you’re probably too late to do much in the way of an actual party – unless you are planning to order in a few bottles of wine and have a dance around the photocopier. There are some alternatives to consider though, and one of my favourites is a group outing that requires minimal effort on your part. Here’s a few ideas in that vein:

  • Go outdoor ice-skating. Feels very festive and there’s usually a bar nearby selling Gluhwein and hot chocolate. Britain’s best outdoor ice-rinks
  • Visit a Christmas market. German-style Christmas markets ooze Winter cheer. Wrap up warm to sip and munch your way around the stalls. Christmas markets around the UK.
  • Join a pub quiz (or host your own). Book a few tables at your local for their quiz, or if there’s more of you, bring in a professional quiz host, like Question One or The Pub Quiz Company.
  • Go on a  Christmas treasure hunt. Good for big and small groups. Hire a professional like The Treasure Hunt Company or run your own with a pack from Hunt Fun.

2 – Holiday planning

It’s the end of the year, your people have lots of holiday left to take and you’re in danger of December being like a ghost town. Get ahead of the game by looking at booked holidays and untaken days now, with whole teams on one calendar. You can do this manually or use bob’s Time Off system to do it for you. With visual calendars and detailed reports, it’s all there.

3 Secret Santa

A good Secret Santa is an admin nightmare. However, there are now some great apps that organise it for you. Elfster is ideal. Just put in your people’s emails, and Elfster gets them to log in to match with their recipient. Then all they need to do is check out their lucky team-mate in bob to see what that person is into, and they can pick the ideal gift!

4 – Early payroll

Like most UK businesses, you probably pay December salaries by Christmas Eve. This often means a last minute rush, so plan now when you need to get your payroll report to the right person to be in good time to get everyone paid before the big day. bob’s smart reports make this much easier, and you can set it up now to run automatically on the right day.

5 – Christmas lunch

Sorting out and pre-booking the team Christmas lunch menu is a thankless task and very VERY annoying. Why won’t Pete just tell you what he wants to eat!? Automate it by adding the menu to bob Docs and requesting a read receipt (so you are sure they’ve all seen it), remind them through the bob Message Board, and then get them to select their choices with an online poll. Tools like Survey Monkey make it super-easy.

One of our clients is even using the Announcements feature in bob to drop daily hints about their company Christmas plans so that the team gets excited and stays engaged.

If you can do these 5 things, you’ll have that bit more time available in the run up to Christmas, and maybe even get the chance to enjoy the festive season yourself!


5 ways to win this Christmas - tamsin-1.jpg

From Tamsin Fox-Davies

Tamsin Fox-Davies is the Small Business Evangelist at bob (, and spends her time sharing ideas & best practice around SME HR & HRTech. You can find her on Twitter (@tamsinfd), at her desk, or curled up on the sofa with one of her four dogs and a mug of hot chocolate.