For most people, the holiday season is a period to recharge, rest, and reflect on the past 12 months and the coming year. Unfortunately, this isn’t the same for most employees. More than 80% of employees admit to experiencing high stress during the holiday season. Several workplace and non-workplace factors contribute to the heightened stress among employees.
The skyrocketing cost of living, costs of holiday gifts, social responsibilities, and workplace duties are overwhelming. Even during this period of enchantment, these demands take a toll on employees’ physical and mental wellness. While eliminating holiday stress is impossible, employers can support their employees during the holiday season in the following ways:
1. Offer Schedule Flexibility
Achieving a good work-life balance can become challenging for employees during holidays. Surprisingly, 73% of employees make themselves available during holidays because they can’t switch off from the workplace. 63% often feel burned out during this period, while 53% reported to work despite having time off.
High expectations from their workplace can be stressful, especially for global employees. That said, employers should offer flexible working schedules to help employees find a balance between work and personal life. This allows them to be productive while at work and find enough time to attend to personal holiday activities like shopping and traveling.
2. Encourage Self-care
Employers shouldn’t assume that all employees will return to their workplaces completely refreshed and prepared to take on post-holiday tasks. While this holds some truth, the combined effects of prolonged holiday work stress and holiday pressure can make it impossible for them to relax and rejuvenate meaningfully during holidays.
Besides, most people ignore self-care during the holiday period. Employers should encourage employees to create self-care opportunities and check on their mental health.
3. Know your Team
Employees have different ways of celebrating their holidays. Therefore, as you plan your workplace schedule and gifts for your employees, ensure that you know everyone on the team individually. For instance, if you value spending time with their family on December 25th, don’t assume that everyone on your team does. Some may value time off during the first night of Hanukkah or the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Similarly, if you are planning a workplace gift exchange or end-year party, remember that employees celebrate differently. There are introverts and extroverts, spenders and thrifters, vegans and meat eaters, and drinkers and teetotalers. You should ask employees individually what’s important to them during this season.
Good employers should support their employees all year round. Besides alleviating employee stress during the holiday season, it builds trust and shows your commitment to your team. It also helps employees rejuvenate and prepare for the new year.