Tis’ the season to be jolly, right? The songs, the decorations, and the spirit of the season should make us all merrier during the holidays, but the reality can be very different. The holidays tend to bring MORE of everything, both the good and the bad. We have more opportunities to gather for fun and festivities, but we also spend more money, have more pressure to do everything in even less time than usual, and have higher expectations all around.
Employees are stressed with their holiday obligations at home and at work. Most workplaces feel like Santa’s workshop without the full staff of elves. There are holiday-shortened deadlines, end-of-the-year business needs, and frantic customers. There is not enough time to get everything done and the stress of the season can really weigh on everyone. Productivity can also be affected if employees are more focused on their personal to-do lists than their professional responsibilities. This time of the year can lead to a mild case of the blues, or for some people, real depression.
What can a business do to support their employees during this stressful time of the year?
Offer flexible schedules – If possible, provide some flexible scheduling. Find a balance between family obligations and work deadlines, and be open to adjusting work hours as long as the job gets done.
Create a spirit of fun – Channel your inner Kris Kringle. Host a holiday party, decorate workspaces, or encourage a Secret Santa Exchange. Just make sure the purpose remains fun and does not add additional obligations and stress to your team.
Provide healthy options – If your office is like ours, there is plenty to eat around the holidays. The break room is always full of cookies, cakes, and baked goods. Too much sugar at work causes afternoon fatigue and a general feeling of malaise. Bring vegetables instead of more cookies. Form a team of co-workers to walk during lunch hour. Encourage healthy choices and don’t pressure others to overindulge.
Seek professional help – For some individuals, the holidays can be a time of severe stress, grief, and depression. If you are concerned about yourself or a co-worker, ask about your company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or seek professional help through other avenues.
Give to others – We all know it is better to give than to receive and there is no greater feeling than helping others. Cultivate this giving spirit at work by organizing a company-wide canned food drive, offering time off for volunteer work, or helping a family in need. Giving as a group will foster positive teamwork and instill a sense of workplace community.
Help make this holiday a little less stressful and a lot jollier by focusing on the spirit of the season. By implementing these simple steps at work, you can help chase away the holiday blues.
Lee Yarborough and her father, Braxton Cutchin, founded the company in 1996. She has served on the Board of Directors of NAPEO and currently serves as the Chair for the NAPEO Carolinas Leadership Council. In 2015, she was named a Fellow of the eleventh class of the Liberty Fellowship Program and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Lee also serves on the Executive Board of Public Education Partners and is the founder and director of Read Up Greenville, a young adult and middle grades book festival in downtown Greenville, SC.