“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” wrote Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities. This paradox captures how many of us feel about the holidays. While we’re anticipating the festivities with family and friends it isn’t without a certain sense of anxiety in which we’re collectively asking, “How am I going to get this all done?”
Thirty-five percent of employees view the holidays as one of the most stressful times of year at the office.
Employers and employees alike find themselves maxed out personally and professionally as an avalanche of work presents itself in the form of year-end goals; just in time for the increased personal responsibilities associated with the holiday season.
There are many ways to reduce overall stress levels in your workplace to make this season productive.
1. Set the Tone
Be bold and set a relaxed tone for the holiday season. Lead by example; when leadership relaxes their holiday work schedules it sets a precedent for others to do the same. If employees see leadership coming in early and leaving late they’ll feel the pressure to follow suit.
2. Plan Ahead
Make this a collaborative effort! Sit down with your team, bust out the holiday calendar and get realistic. With your employees’ help, plan your department’s workload and holiday schedule. Prioritize, make sure everybody is on the same page about what deadlines must be met so there isn’t last-minute confusion. Allowing input from your employees raises their morale and gives them a sense of control. It also gives you a realistic view of what is possible during the next month.
3. Be Flexible
Shopping, crowds, long lines and a general lack of time are some of the biggest causes of holiday stress. Flexible scheduling allows employees to prepare for the holidays and meet work goals. This could be as simple as allowing telecommuting on certain days so employees can save time and money traveling to and from the office or designating “late days” where employees have the flexibility to arrive to work later, giving them time to knock out holiday shopping and other errands.
4. An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
It’s especially hard to stick to diet and exercise routines during this time of year, but exercise and healthy eating also reduce stress and prevent illness. Encourage your employees to find balance this holiday season by setting out healthier office snacks and scheduling optional stress reduction lunch activities like a quick yoga session or short walk with colleagues.
5. Holiday Helpers
Between shopping, planning parties and gift wrapping, on top of personal responsibilities and work accountabilities, it’s hard to relax and enjoy the festivities. Hiring a third-party service to take care of all your employees’ holiday to-dos is a great way to relieve stress, increase productivity and morale. Many organizations seek out BEST’s Holiday Help concierge program, which places an on-site concierge at your workplace to help employees manage holiday stress.
BEST’s most popular Holiday Help services include:
- Shopping: BEST can make in-store or online purchases on your employees’ behalf.
- Gift wrapping: BEST can host gift wrapping events where employees can have their gifts wrapped for free.
- Meal planning: BEST can go on grocery runs, order catered meals and run promotions with local vendors.
Reducing holiday stress doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. With small adjustments and certain investments, any workplace can set a positive tone for the year to come. When your employees walk away from the holidays feeling supported they’re more likely to give the gifts that keep on giving – hard work and loyalty.