The winter holidays are a fun time of year for most of us. They also can be a stressful time of year between family obligations, financial stresses and work obligations. If you let it, the holiday season can become something to be dreaded instead of celebrated. This is the busiest time of year for many businesses, like Roper Insurance, which results in a necessity of additional shifts and overtime at many companies. For working parents, there are also a whole lot of school and other events they need to attend for their children. Don’t forget about the shopping, decorating, special meals, family event, holiday parties and more!
Don’t let it be a stress-fest, just say, “No to stress!” Here are ways to bring that holiday spirit to work and help reduce stress for you and your staff during the holiday season.
Bring Holiday Spirit to Your Workplace
Decorate for the Holidays A little festivity can lighten the mood in any workplace. Whether you work in an office, a retail space, a restaurant or a warehouse, allow employees to decorate for the holidays. Set up a tree, add some colored lights, include some fun holiday artwork and decorations for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s. If you don’t want it to be a mish-mash, invite a couple of employees to coordinate the effort.
Allow Holiday Music Where Appropriate If you’re in an environment that won’t be hampered by music, invite employees to help you put together a holiday music playlist with uplifting employee favorites.
Be Inclusive. Remember that Christmas isn’t the only winter holiday and that Christmas is observed differently by many people. Include decorations, music and events that honor all of the cultures of your workplace and give staff the opportunity to share and learn from one another.
Host Holiday Events If you can host a company holiday party, great. If this is your busy season and you can’t take the time off now, consider hosting mini-events for employees at work. Whether it’s perhaps a potluck (or catered) lunch, a workplace gift exchange or “Secret Santa,” or some onsite pampering for employees (At Roper Insurance we brought in a massage therapist for chair massages for our staff), showing your employees that you appreciate them and want to celebrate with them can lift spirits and ease stress.
Encourage Charitable Giving Perhaps holiday parties aren’t the “thing” for your staff. Consider a charitable giving event, such as hosting a holiday food drive, participating in an adopt-a-family event, allowing employees time off to work at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter or charity distribution event. If you can do it as a company, so much the better. Events like this not only build company bonds but reinforce your connection and ties to your community.
Give Employees Additional Support
Be Flexible. Be mindful of your employees’ obligations outside the office. We love dedicated employees who are willing to give 100% at work. And those employees also love employers who are willing to allow them to give 100% outside the office too.
Working parents may have children with school events. Some employees may wish to participate in community productions or events. Other employees may need to plan for out-of-town guests, involving trips to the airport or train station. Employees are always less stressed when they don’t feel torn between work and family. If it’s possible, allow employees to do some time shifting, coming in early, leaving late, and shifting breaks and lunches to help them feel productive at work while they manage their personal obligations. Research shows that employees feel a stronger loyalty to employers who they feel show loyalty to them.
Watch for Signs of Stress or Depression. Be aware of your employees and their stress level. If an employee suddenly has a productivity dip or a personality change, begins exhibiting signs of stress, depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (common during the winter months, especially in northern climates), intervene and offer them coping resources before it becomes a problem for both them and the workplace. If you know employees are experiencing additional challenges, whether because of personal reasons, holiday-related or due to the increased business demands that many companies experience at this time, be proactive and compassionate to help ease that stress.
These are just a few of the ways to support your employees, reduce stress and be able to enjoy the holidays more in your workplace. Remember it’s up to you to say, “No to Stress!” and have fun during this Holiday Season. Please share with us what’s worked at your company to help you and your staff reduce stress and enjoy the holidays.