Guest Blogger – Paula Barrett, Senior HR Business Partner
It’s the middle of November and Christmas decorations are already going up, we’re hearing holiday advertisements on TV, stores are announcing they’re opening early on Black Friday and holiday party invitations have started arriving. This time of year is supposed to be about spending time with family and celebrating the season but, for many people, it’s the most stressful time of the year.
During the holidays, employees are busier than ever with personal obligations. Shopping, holiday parties, school activities and let’s not forget about the extended family. The holidays bring all sorts of family dynamics that can further stress out our employees and that’s just the employee’s home life!
Stress in the workplace has always been an issue that employers try to manage. In today’s heavily scheduled society, stress is affecting the employee at every turn. Even more so during the holidays, employees are balancing a busy work life with an increasingly busy home life. Also this time of year there is an additional stressor, year end activities. Not only does the employee have their typical work load, but it may increase dramatically with end of year projects that need to be completed. Wrap it all up and this is one of the most stressful times of the year.
So what can an employer do to help with this stressful season? Here are some tips:
- Check in with the Employee: Make some time to sit one on one with your employees to check in and see how things are going. Communication between an employee and employer is an easy way to alleviate stress.
- Help Keep your Employee Focused: With so much going on at work and at home, your employees may need help setting priorities at work. Check in with your employees to help them prioritize their work.
- Celebrate the Holiday’s on non-peak Times: Book a holiday party after New Year’s when everyone has more free time. Schedule the office celebration during lunch time or even during office hours. That way the employee’s personal time is not stressed to the max.
- Yankee Swaps—Set limits. The holidays bring financial strains on employees as well. Remember that employees’ financial situations vary. If you do a Yankee swap, set modest amounts both on the minimum and maximum amount to keep in mind everyone’s different financial limitations.
- Don’t forget EAP: Sometimes we forget to use the EAP services for something as common as Holiday Stress. This benefit can be very helpful to employees in formulating employee wellness strategies to deal with stress during holiday season.
The key to surviving this stressful season is communication. Talking to employees and keeping the communications lines open will help avoid any problems and help promote a positive work environment.