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How 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. At the same time, stress caused by the added responsibilities, obligations, and personal tasks can affect work performance. Distracted, stressed-out employees struggle more to maintain their productivity… to say nothing of keeping up the holiday spirit! Thankfully, employers can help their team members to reduce and manage their stress.

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 of 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.