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December is typically that time of year when people become more focused on their holiday plans than work. And who can blame them! The lights, Christmas trees, and all-around holiday spirit is enough to make anyone forget about their to-do list. But, you can use this holiday spirit to your advantage to make December the most productive month of the year.

Andrew O'Connell, author of Stats & Curiousities From Harvard Business Review, offered a few tips to help organizations make it through the holiday season without losing productivity. It, he says, is all about sensory effects.


The smell of peppermint has been shown to improve engagement, attention, memory, alertness and overall mood. Hand out some candy canes in the office or burn a few peppermint candles to get everyone ramped up.


O'Connell mentions studies in which staring at the color green helped people find more uses for a tin can than those who did not look at the color. They weren't able to establish why green had people thinking so creatively, but it seems to work. Decorate the office in garlands, Christmas trees and holiday wreaths to have employees thinking outside the box.

Just Smile

It's the holiday season and we all have a lot to smile about! Studies have shown that smiling can reduce stress by dropping heart rates by about 7%. Things tend to get stressful around the Christmas season, so spread some holiday cheer to your team by flashing a smile now and then.

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