How to Reduce Your Employees’ Stress During Holidays

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The holiday season can bring a combination of fun and excitement as well as stress and anxiety for your staff.

While the majority of workers enjoy December as it brings more cheer to the office, as well as goodies from vendors and maybe even a company party, not everyone feels the same.

A recent study by staffing firm Accountemps found that while half of workers report being more cheerful at work this time of year, 35% say they feel more work-related pressure.

Top factors affecting employee stress:

  • Balancing work and holiday obligations (32%)
  • Taking time off and returning to heavier workloads (23%)
  • Having a smaller staff than usual because of time off (18%)
  • Buying gifts for co-workers and contacts (11%)
  • Attending holiday office parties (8%)

“Between professional responsibilities and personal commitments, it’s all too easy for employees to become overwhelmed during the holiday season,” Michael Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps, said in a press release. “Managers can support their teams by allowing more flexible schedules. Workers should take time off to enjoy the season with family and friends and avoid burnout that could carry over into the new year.”

What you can do

Employees surveyed said the following work-related benefits would help reduce their holiday stress:

  • Higher year-end bonuses (37%)
  • More flexible work schedules during the holidays (32%)
  • More paid vacation during the holidays (17%)

There are other initiatives you can take to help your employees during the holidays.

Accountemps and the Society for Human Resources Management recommend:

  • Telling your workers to list priorities for the day before leaving work. Advise them to keep a separate list for off-the-job to-dos.
  • Telling your staff to ask for help if they have too much work. Their supervisor might consider solutions such as adjusting deadlines or delegating.
  • Asking employees what you can do to help reduce their stress. Ask if they would like to postpone the company party until January. If you are hosting a pot luck lunch, ask if people would rather have pizza brought in, so no one has to cook.
  • Perhaps you can give everyone one hour a week to go online and shop, so they don’t feel like they have to sneak screen time to get a deal on gifts.
  • People are often extending themselves at this time of year, so make sure you are going out of your way to notice their good work and say thank you. Also, be aware of anyone that may need an extra word of encouragement or some additional support, like employees who have lost a loved one this year or those with little or no family in the area. Making sure they know you care can go a long way in retaining employees.
  • Encouraging time off. Urge people to take advantage of that with a vacation day or a half-day Friday to do their holiday shopping, decorate their house, get their baking done, or just relax and enjoy the season.  They will likely come back in a better frame of mind and be more productive.
  • Providing extra shifts for people to earn holiday money.


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