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7 Ways To Help Employees De-Stress During the Holidays

7 Ways To Help Employees De-Stress During the Holidays

The holidays, stretching from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, can be a fun and joyous period full of parties, presents, feasts, and festivities. However, feeling stressed because of the added responsibilities, obligations, and personal tasks can affect work performance. Distracted, stressed-out employees struggle more to maintain their productivity and mental health… to say nothing of keeping up the holiday spirit! Thankfully, employers can help their team members to reduce and manage their stress.

1. Give employees a break

This might be a good time of year to relax normally stringent rules. Consider online shopping in the workplace. Randy Wolf, regional VP of Robert Half, told The Chicago Tribune, “Employers are finding that employees are not abusing the usage and are more productive because they are able to accomplish something online versus running out and spending an hour or two outside of the office.” Or employers can even go the extra mile by hiring a personal shopper for their team.

With a shopping list and cash from employees, the personal shopper will take that burdensome task off their to-do list. Either way, make sure that employees have the time they need to take care of personal obligations during this busy season, reducing the burden of long hours and feeling stressed.

2. Maintain Open Lines of Communication

During the holiday season, maintaining open lines of communication is crucial for your employees to remain engaged, motivated, and stress-free. Here are some key strategies to keep the channels of communication open, ensuring that employees can talk about stress and anxiety:

Create a Supportive Work Environment

A supportive work environment is crucial for any business, especially during the holiday season. Ensure that employees feel valued and heard. Encourage employees to have open dialogue and create a culture where employees can express their concerns without retaliation. Address their concerns promptly and constructively which can help reduce stressful situations in the workplace.

Address Employee Concerns and Stressors

Recognize that the holiday season can be a challenging time for many employees, and experience stress due to both personal and work-related issues. Be empathetic to their personal and work-related stressors. If possible, provide additional support, such as counseling services, flexible scheduling, or remote work, to help employees manage their stress effectively.

Provide Regular Check-Ins and Feedback

Regular check-ins with employees are an excellent way to gauge their well-being and address any issues, including feeling overwhelmed. Use these sessions to discuss workload, upcoming projects, and individual concerns. Constructive feedback helps employees understand their performance and areas for improvement, reducing stress in the workplace.

3. Keep employees healthy and energized

Physical exercise can help alleviate stress and let employees blow off steam. Give employees enough time to attend a lunchtime yoga session, for example, or encourage breaks that get employees up from their desks and moving around. Similarly, avoid overdoing it with sugar and junk foods.

The holidays are prime time for delicious sweets and treats. However, these foods can ultimately sap a person’s energy and wellness. This is a great time of year to make sure healthful snacks – fresh water, fruits, nuts, and other whole foods – are readily available.

4. Add temporary workers

Some industries, like retail, must add staff during the holidays in order to meet demand. But other offices just make do with the same team as the rest of the year. But as everyone is being pulled in many different directions, and many workers are taking time off, it might relieve everyone’s workload to bring on a temporary worker or two to help deal with administrative tasks.

5. Keep everyone safe

Holiday decorations and events can impose unexpected health hazards, from potluck dishes sitting at room temperature for too long to stringy decorations creating tripping risks. For any special holiday activities, always think through any health and safety implications and take appropriate steps to protect your workers.

Moreover, consider providing safety guidelines and reminders to employees. Encourage them to be cautious when decorating the office space, reminding them to secure decorations to prevent accidents. Additionally, educate your team about the potential risks associated with holiday potlucks and emphasize the importance of food safety and hygiene. Promoting a culture of safety during the holiday season can ensure that everyone enjoys the festivities without compromising their well-being.

6. Allow extra leeway on deadlines

It’s always a good idea to plan ahead, but during the holidays it’s mandatory. If you or your team will have any work-related deadlines during the holiday season, do as much as you can to plan in advance and possibly push those deadlines back. Difficult work deadlines on top of holiday stress will make for a frazzled workforce.

Additionally, proactively manage deadlines by encouraging project managers and team leaders to initiate early planning discussions with their teams. Identify obstacles and challenges that could come up during the holiday season. Discuss whether it's possible to extend project deadlines to make things easier for your team. Being flexible can help your team balance work and personal life more easily and stay productive.

7. Plan for a Smooth Transition Back

As the holiday season comes to an end, it's essential to plan for a smooth transition back to regular work routines. Here are some key steps to ensure a seamless return to work:

Post Holiday Workload Management

After the holidays, employees may return to work with a backlog of tasks and emails. To manage this workload effectively, consider the following:

  • Prioritize tasks and projects based on urgency and importance
  • Provide employees with a clear plan for catching up on work
  • Encourage time management techniques to help employees stay organized and focused.

Review and Evaluate 

Take the time to assess the effectiveness of any holiday-related initiative and policies. Analyze the aspects that worked well and identify areas for improvement in terms of employee well-being and stress relief during the holidays. This assessment will help you improve your approach for next year.

Set New Year Goals for Employee Well-Being

As the new year begins, it's an ideal time to set goals for employee well-being. Consider wellness programs, stress management workshops, or flexible work arrangements. Discuss these goals with your team, gather input, and create a plan to implement them throughout the year.

CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.