The holiday season is about “good tidings”, the pleasure of gift-giving, and spending time with loved ones. Given the stress involved for many to ensure a happy holiday, many employees are feeling the burden of managing their personal lives in addition to their job workload.
A recent study of over 700 full-time employees found that a large percentage indicated that the biggest stressor during the holidays is work, but that the stress changes. The concern becomes whether work obligations will affect their holiday celebrations and many also feel stress from not being able to take time off from their job to prepare for and enjoy the holidays.
Time and money are two other large factors in an increase in stress during this busy season. Is there enough time for shopping, party planning, and cooking, in addition to their workload? The pressure of buying gifts is also a significant stressor for those concerned about being able to pay the bills the following month.
This increased stress can lead to lowered output at work. One survey showed that over 40% of respondents in management roles reported that productivity noticeably decreases the week before the holiday. There are multiple ways you can help lower the stress during the holidays, including some of these tips:
- Be flexible – It is likely many employees will request time off around the holidays, so if possible, allow for these days by asking staff in advance if time is needed, to allow for smooth functioning in the workplace .
- Simplify – Minimizing the number of workplace obligations when there is an increase in external holiday get-togethers can reduce stress. A festive workplace party doesn’t have to be over-the-top to be enjoyable.
- Emphasize value – Appreciation is particularly effective when given during this busy season to maintain performance levels at work.
- Offer assistance – If employees are showing a lack of focus or irritability, have a chat to find ways to manage their workload.
- Relieve deadline pressure – Hiring extra hands, even temporarily, can help to alleviate stress on your permanent staff.
Whether it’s stress from work, family or finances, aiming to improve stressful situations within the workplace can create a more relaxed atmosphere with higher levels of productivity.
What is your business doing to alleviate employee stress within the workplace this holiday season?