How to Keep Stress Low and Morale High for Employees During the Holidays

Discover ways to help make the holidays a joyful time for your staff, and tips for how to foster inclusivity and show your appreciation.

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How to Keep Stress Low and Morale High for Employees During the Holidays

Here's what you need to know:

  • To help keep morale up among your staff, bring on the festivities while keeping inclusivity top of mind
  • Be flexible and understand employees' needs
  • Offer different avenues of worker appreciation
  • Be fair with workloads and time-off requests and consider hiring seasonal workers

The holiday season is meant to be enjoyed and cherished. Employees work very hard to afford the best parts of holiday cheer. Employers should show them appreciation and foster inclusion during this time, arguably more than ever.

Work-life balance is more difficult to manage during the holidays. In fact, 6% of the American population reports a seasonal impact on their depression.

The demand for performance has the potential to overshadow an employee’s presence in the lives of their loved ones. As a result, businesses may struggle to help them find the perfect balance between their engagement and their happiness.

Some beneficial tactics can help everyone find their counterbalance during the demanding holidays. These morale-building techniques can maintain a well-managed holiday rush without compromising the mental health and wellness of hard-working employees.

Bring on the festivities at your organization

Sometimes, the best way to lighten the mood is to bring on holiday cheer. ‘Tis the season for decorations, holiday music, and creative designs around the office space. Even the most simplistic holiday recognition can make an employee feel better about being at work.

In the spirit of open communication, it would be beneficial to release a survey asking employees how they celebrate the holidays. It’s essential for businesses to consider inclusivity.

When a giant Christmas tree is mounted, employees of other religious or cultural affiliations should also recognize their versions of holiday cheer.

This could be done with menorahs or kinaras in the office windows. The Star of David could hang from the ceiling by strings in conjunction with handmade paper snowflakes.

It’s important to respect everyone’s wishes regarding holiday celebrations.

It’s important to respect everyone’s wishes regarding holiday celebrations. Some individuals may not celebrate the holidays for religious reasons.

In this case, Christmas parties and spirit weeks should not have mandatory attendance. Those who choose not to be present shouldn’t be punished or treated any differently for their decision.

Be flexible and understand employees’ needs

Probably one of the most difficult facets of the holiday season is work attendance. Employees are planning festivities of their own, sometimes in other cities or states where their families live. During this time, it’s best to offer the most flexible work hours possible to meet their needs and the needs of the company.

Businesses should offer overtime hours and flexible schedules so employees can work extra hours or days to compensate for time off. This guarantees coverage is met for customer service and compliance.

It also allows workers to make more money for gifts, travel, and other tight holiday expenses that could be stressing them out. This way, employees can be let go early so they can get a head start on their holiday responsibilities.

When it’s possible, it helps to show flexibility through work-from-home or on-call opportunities. Many workers find that working from home relieves much of their stress as it is. During the holidays, they’re given the chance to pursue their other commitments and be in the presence of their families.

From a managerial perspective, a deadline should be set for time-off requests. This gives supervisors enough time to plan scheduling requirements. It may not be possible to please everyone, but at least managers can spread attendance reasonably with a preconceived understanding of everyone’s needs.

Offer different avenues of worker appreciation

Some employees might not be married or have children or family members to celebrate with. They may offer to work more hours to cover those who are taking off to take care of their family matters. These employees, (and all others) require attention and care during the holidays.

Holiday bonuses are great expressions of appreciation. Not only do they help boost morale, but they can inspire productivity.

If large holiday bonuses aren’t practical, it’s best to consider other ways to express appreciation. This could be in the form of smaller monetary items, like gifts, gift cards, or Christmas cards with a little cash inside.

Managers and HR can get creative and personal with these presents. They can offer tickets to seasonal events or holiday luncheons that everyone can attend.

Referencing the survey mentioned earlier, a section can be reserved for things employees like. This can detail where they enjoy shopping, and what would make their holiday more enjoyable.

Don’t cause unnecessary stress for employees

It can be difficult for employees to feel holiday joy if they’re unnecessarily weighed down by work responsibilities. Managers should spread work requirements out among all employees to allow everyone to have a lighter workload.

Nobody should be bogged down with heavy duties while others enjoy leniency; this goes for managers, HR, employees, and other leadership roles as well.

If an essential worker insists that they can’t work due to pre-existing plans, businesses should consider hiring temporary or seasonal help through contract workers.

Many freelancers already have plans to work through the holidays. They typically find these times as opportunities to make the money that regular employees miss out on during their time off.

Hiring freelancers will help balance the fiscal need for workers and the employees’ need to be off work. This reduces needless stress for everyone. It can also keep managers from passing down feelings of being unappreciated or overworked to their dedicated staff.

Be fair with workloads and time-off requests

When managing the workload, it matters to be fair across the board. It will be necessary to give staff reasonable notice that they are required to work. It would be unfair to demand someone to come into work when they’ve already scheduled time off just because someone else decided they suddenly needed to be off.

Managers should check their holiday history. Seasoned workers who have never asked for holiday time off should be given their chance. Those who always ask for holidays off should be required to at least work from home or a few hours during a holiday some years.

Individuals with children will have to find adequate childcare for students during winter breaks. These workers should be given a fair advantage to find the help they need or inherit remote opportunities to take care of their children.

If remote work isn’t possible, resources should be provided to help them pay for childcare services during busy holidays.

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Help create a positive holiday season for workers

Nobody deserves to feel forgotten or left out during the holidays. The holidays are a beacon of cheer for many and expected depression for some. It can be easy to enlist holiday joy for workers. Sometimes all it takes is a little recognition and attention to detail.

Mental health should always be a priority, but the holiday season can offer some of the most stressful times for employees. They are trying to plan their paychecks to buy gifts for their loved ones, manage their time off to please everyone, and fight tooth and nail to beat the holiday rush just like everyone else.

Managers should encourage mindfulness, exercise, and a healthy work environment now if they haven’t already. Communication should be open, easy to access, and non-biased in every way. Employees should be given enough time to take care of their affairs, mental awareness, and work responsibilities equally.

Each employee should be provided with resources, inclusivity, fairness, and opportunities to manage their home and work lives accordingly.

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