The festive season is typically the season for celebration, spending time with loved ones, enjoying Christmas treats and partaking in holiday-themed activities. However, for some it may not be a season of celebration. The month is much shorter, and there is more pressure to fulfil deadlines, reach end-of-year targets, attend additional social events and the pressure of gift-buying and financial hardship.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, approximately 51% of all work-related illnesses in 2021/2022 were caused by stress, anxiety or depression and 55% of all days lost were due to work-related ill health. And that was without the stress that comes with the holiday season. Overwhelming pressure or stress at work can cause significant issues for your employees, including burnout and loss of productivity.
Combating Christmas stress is crucial for the year to come to a successful and positive end, guaranteeing that your team returns in January feeling reenergized, engaged, and inspired. We take a look at how you can support your employees through the holiday season.
Help staff manage their workload
It is great to set goals; crossing them off your list gives you a fantastic sense of accomplishment. However, when employers set too many, they can become unmanageable. Time management is a big source of stress in December, so supporting your employees with this can be beneficial. Helping your employees plan ahead as much as possible, outsourcing services or taking on temporary staff over the busy period are all ways to relieve some of that festive stress.
Maintain effective communication
Are your employees feeling ok? Can you support them with anything to make this busy period run smoother? Keeping the lines of communication open with your team especially during this busy season will encourage staff to speak openly to you about workload or other factors that could be affecting their productivity and stress.
Plan Christmas-themed activities
Ensure that employees take a break and have fun by planning non-work related festive activities. For example, if you’re all in the office, perhaps they could decorate the workspace together or plan festive events like Secret Santa, Christmas jumper day, and of course, the company Christmas party.
Don’t forget your remote team though or those who don’t celebrate the holiday. Think about how you can involve everybody in the festivities.
Help staff reduce their financial stress
Finances can get tighter at Christmas – after all of the presents, food, travel and the cost-of-living crisis, it all adds up. Lack of funds can be one of the main reasons people experience stress during the holidays so, tackling money worries is key to your employees and your business. But how can you do this?
- An end-of-year bonus – Is your business in a position to offer a bonus? If so, these can help relieve some of the financial pressure of the season.
- Gift cards and vouchers can make a perfect end-of-year gift or reward for staff and can really make a difference.
- Finance workshops – Inviting a financial expert to come and run a workshop on holiday budgeting or how to avoid overspending can be a source of support.
Encourage work/life balance
A good work-life balance is proven to reduce workplace pressure and boost mental and physical wellbeing. Can you allow your staff to work from home this season or offer flexible hours? You will notice a significant difference in productivity and wellbeing if your staff are able to fit work around their personal life. Even if it’s something as simple as being able to arrive or leave work earlier to take care of their kids or finish their holiday shopping – it all makes a big difference
If you would like advice on employee relations or supporting your workforce, please contact hr inspire’s expert HR team – Hertfordshire’s leading HR consultancy which can bring your business the benefits, protection and experience of an entire HR department.