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7 Ways to Make Busy Season More Fun

MassageAlthough it can be a daunting and stressful time, busy season is also an extremely lucrative and productive one for tax practices, one that can be just as rewarding for them as the holidays are for retailers. What may be overlooked, however, is that it can also be a great time to build a sense of camaraderie and team spirit because a shared challenge can bring people together. That’s especially true if you add in some enjoyable activities that help maintain your team’s positive outlook and demonstrate your concern for their well-being.

To find out how CPAs are keeping the season upbeat—and even adding some fun to it—the AICPA recently engaged our social media audience and asked two questions: "How does your firm show appreciation for staff during busy season?” and “You get three wishes: What are the best ways to show staff appreciation during busy season?” We then put together the tips below based on their responses and what we’ve heard from other practitioners.

Be nice. This is the easiest and least expensive stress reliever available, so be sure to make the most of it by expressing appreciation for hard work and complimenting or publicly acknowledging outstanding efforts.

Feed us. Food was one of the most popular perks mentioned by our commenters. Some practices offered periodic free dinners for those burning the midnight oil, while others might have hot catered lunches and salad bars. Speaking of salads, while it’s nice to indulge in pizza or wings, at least one respondent noted that firms should remember to include healthy offerings when they do provide meals.

Don’t forget snacks! If sponsoring a meal isn’t feasible, offering an array of free snacks gives people a chance to reduce stress by getting away from their desks for a few minutes and to socialize or trade war stories with their colleagues. Commenters appreciated the chance to grab a cup of tea, coffee or a bottle of water, plus maybe some chocolate, cookies or a granola bar. Another idea is to surprise staff with random deliveries of coffee, donuts or smoothies. One firm charges a minimal fee for the food it serves and donates what it collects to a local charity, which can help everyone feel good about being part of a team that gives back even during a hectic time.

Keep them in shape. Keeping fit, especially during demanding times, can help employees recharge their energy and give them a more positive perspective on the challenges they face. Some employers bring in exercise bikes or other equipment for staffers to use in a break room or offer temporary memberships at local gyms.

Roll out the massage chairs. Your entire team has bent over laptops for hours and your shoulders and back are aching. What’s the perfect solution? Bringing in masseuses with massage chairs sounds like just the right answer. Massages can refresh tired workers and go a long way toward raising morale. Firms can also rent or purchase electronic massage chairs that can be made available throughout busy season.

Play games. A little friendly competition can make the long hours go faster. Ideas include holding trivia challenges during break times, with staff working in teams or individually. The topics can come from pop culture or be based on interesting details from the lives of team members. Other fun games can include golf putting contests, ping-pong games or bean bag tosses.  

Go out with a bang. Once the season is over, a happy hour or dinner can commemorate all the work that’s been done and congratulate your team for coming through with flying colors. If feasible, staff members will also value a day off at the end of the season and additional time off during the slower months as a reward for all their efforts.

Have any of these approaches been a success for you? Are there others that have made your busy season fun? Please let us know by commenting below.


Massage image courtesy of Shutterstock


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