The holidays are supposed to be filled with joy and family time. Most people dread the holiday season due to deadlines during the shortened workweek, meeting expectations for the end of the fiscal year, family obligations, loss, and financial stress. No matter what the issue, the holidays have the potential to cause stress and anxiety, leading to a reduction in productivity.
Identify Holiday Stress
Here are some key factors that can indicate your employee is experiencing stress or anxiety during the holiday:
- Change in behavior
- Change in appearance
- Lack of focus or concentration
- Unusual tension with other employees
- Change in quality of work performance
The sooner HR or managers can identify a problem, the sooner the employee can get the help they need.
Helping Employees with Holiday Stress
There are a few things managers or HR professionals can do to help with morale and reduce stress among their team:
- Wellness: A walk outside, a group stretch, or a quick yoga session can help an employee refocus. Remind employees to eat well, exercise, and sleep.
- Prioritize: Help employees organize workloads. Review workloads and deadlines and see if project deadlines can be extended into next year.
- Personal time: Encourage employees to stay home when sick or encourage them to take days off.
- Shared workload: Motivate employees to work together as a team to share the workload to avoid some employees taking on too much.
- Employee Appreciation: Acknowledge success and celebrate employees with recognition ceremony during staff meetings and add sought-after new benefits at the new year.
- Provide resources: Educate employees about financial wellness or other programs to assist with budgeting and stress for the holidays
- Schedule: Consider expanding flexibility to allow employees to attend family obligations or offer work-from-home options.
When employees show signs of a more serious problem, make sure to notify HR and document all interactions with the employee. Conversations should be held in private, and the discussion should be compassionate and understanding. When necessary, guide employees to resources.
Holiday Stress Resource Center
Guidance on minimizing stress for individuals is readily available on the American Psychological Association (APA) website to help avoid stress during the holidays. “Holiday Stress Resource Center” offers updated information on topics such as gift-giving, finances, family and friends, and grief and sadness.
Bringing more awareness and resources to your employees during the holidays will help keep productivity and employees’ spirits up.
Written by: Kia Yang, Resource Center Director
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