‘Tis the holiday season. Time to make merry and have fun!
It is that time of the year for employees to celebrate with friends and family and spend quality time with them. But it’s also that time of the year at work when employees are loaded with work deadlines, performance reviews, and year-end reporting.
On the top of it, you’ve got to throw parties, find the right gift and buy that special outfit for the party. Instead of settling in the festive mode, employees tend to get under a lot of stress and workload.
According to statistics, more than 80% of employees are finding their jobs stressful and the stress-levels go sky-high among employees especially during the holiday season. From the same report, it was concluded that stress is estimated to cost US businesses $300 billion annually or $2000 per employee every year.
The numbers aren’t a great sign for employers keeping in mind the role of employee productivity in determining the success of an organization. As an employer, if there’s something you can do to make this holiday season special for employees is to give them a low-stress holiday season.
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Here are some ways to lessen holiday stress and boost employee productivity in the workplace.
1. Bring in that festive mood
The easiest way to make the workplace atmosphere light and merrier is by decorating it with colorful balloons, snowflakes, lights, tiny elves, and a big Christmas tree at the entrance. This ensures that whenever someone enters the office, he or she enters with a festive mood.
How to make the workplace environment more festive:
- Bring in and decorate a huge Christmas tree
- Have a dress-theme for an entire week
- Decorate your cubicles and desks with cool stuff
- Organize various Christmas games for employees
2. Ask them what they need
At the year-end, employees are already caught up with so many things, it would be nice on your part if you could just ask them what could be done to make things easier and less stressful. Take cues from what is being said and be a little generous and do more than the needful.
What can you ask employees:
- Ask them if they want a party or prefer leaving early
- Ask them if they’d like come an hour earlier than usual
- Ask them if they need an hour off to manage personal and professional stuff
3. Show them some love with ‘Thank You’ notes
Employees are already buried under a heap of files, expressing your love and affection will lift their spirits. Showing appreciation towards their efforts and hard work can actually drive your financial returns under the roof. Around 58% of workers feel they aren’t being valued at work and require immediate recognition for their accomplishments.
How to express thanks to employees:
- Give a huge shout-out when someone accomplishes a task, finishes a report, or goes out of the way to help others
- Write ‘Thank You’ notes
- Pamper them with gifts, coupons, or monetary rewards
- Give them a spot in a ‘Wall of fame’
4. Offer flexible hours
Probably one of the best things you can do to help employees is to allow them to work at their will so that they can also relax and enjoy. Offer flexible schedules so that they can take time off when they need to do their shopping, decorating their houses, and indulge in other holidays preparations.
How to help them make the most of their time:
- Adapt to their schedule in a way that best fits their family needs
- Encourage them to pursue passions outside of work
- Give them a sense of autonomy
5. Offer holiday bonuses
Holiday bonuses go a long way to boost the morale of employees because not many companies are doing it these days. Such gestures make them feel valued and appreciated. If employees feel more valued, quite naturally, they would feel more engaged and productive at work. If for some reason, holiday bonuses don’t seem to be a viable option, give out recognition and awards to motivate them to work during the festive season.
How to boost employee morale:
- Small money bonuses
- Send personalized gifts
- Start employee discount and perks programme
6. Encourage them to work from home
With Christmas and the New Year around, employees – whether single or married have to take care of their parents, spouses, kids, and pets along with other commitments. Things could be hectic with late night shopping and partying. This holiday season give them the option to work from home. Not only it would save them some time but will also give you quality work and productive employees. It is observed that time off increases productivity in employees and they come back more relaxed and ready to work.
- Be lenient with your working hours
- If possible, let them go early on Fridays to do their shopping, baking, and enjoying
7. Take them out
Spend some time with people you’re working with on this holiday season. Take your team out somewhere. Ask them where they would like to go and have fun as it’s that time of the year and the whole point of going out is to have fun. Such activities bring people closer and help you forge new friendships and professional relationships. When employees celebrate with each other, it helps them to keep their differences aside and have a good time during this holiday season.
Where to take them out:
- A lunch or dinner at a nearby restaurant
- Amusement park or a museum
- Bowling, movie, or rappelling
8. Manage workload
December usually has fewer working days and more holidays due to Christmas and the New Year. It means that employees have less time to do their weekly and monthly tasks. As an employer, it becomes your duty to delegate work in such a manner that no one is too occupied with their tasks even on the holiday season.
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How to manage work:
- Plan ahead and distribute work strategically
- Stay ahead of your schedule
- Keep it light
- Employ a task management tool for better planning
9. Maintain effective communication
With timely and effective communication, one can easily manage his/her workload and stay ahead of their schedule. It becomes extremely crucial to maintain different lines of communication during the holiday season especially when different people would be taking leaves on different (or same) days. Open communication lines would help people to get in touch with the concerned team member(s) at the need of the hour. Employees can easily coordinate and get things done knowing that their colleagues going for a vacation so that important work can be handled prior to their leaves.
How to maintain effective communication:
- Hold a meeting to discuss who is going to handle what and when at the beginning itself
- Use a collaboration software for better communication and see who is handling what
As discussed above, it’s quite natural to feel stressed due to extra work that comes during the holiday season. Employers can reduce this stress with the above tips so that they can enjoy and make merry this festive season.
Helping them manage their schedules and workload with open communication channels can go a long way towards reducing holiday stress in the workplace. Such actions will not increase employee happiness index but will also sustain their productivity and keep them happy at work.
On that wishing you a Happy New Year 2019!