WORK-LIFE BALANCE / SEP. 28, 2014
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How to Deal with Holiday-Induced Stress

Holiday seasons are usually associated with lots of merry making and celebration. It is usually an opportunity to take vacations, spend time with loved ones and generally have a great time. However, such seasons are also associated with increased stress at the workplace. Some of the reasons for such stress include:

  • Lower staff numbers due to absenteeism
  • Increased workload
  • Shorter deadlines especially towards the end of the year
  • Low morale among staff that have to work during the holiday
  • Family demands and expectations

Other people might find themselves dealing with ‘post-holiday blues’ once the holiday season is over. This could be due to overindulgence, loneliness, guilt or unfulfilled expectations.

So, what can you do to lower stress among your employees before, during and after the holiday season?

1. Offer flexible work arrangements

During holiday seasons, people need lots of time for family commitments, shopping or traveling. Therefore, to alleviate stress among your employees, you could consider offering flexible work options. For instance, you could introduce more flexible working hours or allow them to work from home. This will give them more time to run errands or even rest. Lower stress levels are likely to result in higher productivity.

2. Have realistic expectations and prepare in advance

Be sure to have realistic expectations for your employees during the holiday season. To avoid overburdening staff, you could move less urgent tasks to after the holiday season. Find a way of motivating staff that have to work during the holiday. For instance, you could give them an extra day off. You could also provide special meals to make their workday memorable. When hiring new staff, let them know in advance that they might be required to work during holidays.

3. Make provision for diverse religious beliefs

Most workplaces have employees that subscribe to different religions. Therefore, it is very important to be aware of the varied religious beliefs of your employees. Be sure to adjust your expectations and schedules to suit the needs of each individual team member. This will not only improve morale, but will also promote tolerance among your employees. You could also consider holding a holiday-themed company party to commemorate the season.

4. Eliminate distractions

With all the excitement of the holiday season, your employees are likely to lose focus at work. Therefore, you need to find a way of minimizing distractions. For instance, you could ask them to shut their doors, switch off their phones and close their web browsers so that they can concentrate on their work. Be sure to assign important tasks in advance so that everyone will know what is required of them.

5. Boost morale

There are different ways of boosting morale at the workplace during the holiday season. For instance, you could temporarily do away with the company’s dress code. Providing well lit and clean workspaces can also help minimize stress. The holiday season is also a great time to appreciate your employees for their hard work. Giving bonuses or gifts can go a long way in boosting morale.  

Applying the above-mentioned tips will make holiday seasons less stressful, thus enhancing the productivity of your employees.

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