The holidays are a stressful time of year. Some companies get a lot busier around the holidays. On top of work stress, employees have family obligations, Thanksgiving dinners to make, travel to plan, gifts to buy, and more. It’s no wonder that stress skyrockets during the holiday season.
But stressed-out employees aren’t the healthiest or the most productive. So how can you help reduce the stress your employees feel during the holidays?
Offer your employees flexible schedules in the weeks leading up to the holidays. Being able to take some time in the middle of the workday to run errands or get a head start on their holiday shopping can make all the difference. If you’re able to give them some extra personal time, they can even use it just to relax and spend time with their families. If employees have time off left, encourage them to take it at this time, if possible.
Even though most people in the U.S. celebrate Christmas, not everyone does. Those who don’t celebrate the holiday should still be made to feel a part of the group. You should make sure that they feel welcome at any holiday events that are planned. Any office-sponsored celebrations should focus more on the secular aspects of the holiday instead of the religious ones in order to not ostracize any employees who don’t celebrate it.
As fun as office celebrations are, it might be best to keep them to a minimum. Office parties and dinners take away from time employees could be spending to finish up a project or, if they’re after hours, to run errands or spend time with their families. Make sure that it’s clear to all employees that any celebrations are optional and that there will be no repercussions, socially, professionally or otherwise, for choosing not to participate for any reason.
If your company is busier during the holidays, hiring seasonal help could lighten the workload of your full-time staff. This will not only ensure that work is done faster and on time, but it will also mean that your employees don’t have to work overtime in order to do it. The more overtime your staff works, the less productive they’ll be during that time and the more stressed they will get, further compounding the issue.
Managers should keep an eye on their employees during the holiday season. They should look in particular for signs of stress. This can include behavior changes or even missed deadlines. You can’t help your staff if you don’t know that they need it. If work is starting to be poorer in quality or late, that’s a sign your employees need help.
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