Overcoming Holiday Stress at Work

The holidays and the ending of another year brings joy, good food, and friends and families together, but it is also a time when stress and anxiety tend to heighten. The holidays can add extra tension and stress as employees try to balance end-of-year deadlines and navigate holiday celebrations. Holiday burnout and stress can lead to a decrease in worker productivity.

How can organizations help alleviate some of this stress?

Be flexible. If possible, offer employees a more flexible schedule. Unpleasant weather and short hours of daylight on top of work and holiday responsibilities can damper the mood of employees. Consider allowing employees to take care of their personal business during work hours. Allow employees to telecommute during the holiday season. If there is a strict dress code, perhaps be a little bit more relaxed about it.

Maintain communication. Open communication is especially important during the holidays. Many people are going to be out of the office so it is crucial that everyone knows their responsibilities in order to meet deadlines and avoid misunderstandings. It may also be a good idea to let the entire team know what the vacation schedule is.

Financial planning resources. Buying gifts, hosting parties, and traveling can be expensive and this financial burden of the holidays can put a toll on people. To prepare employees, organizations can offer financial planning services and/or link employees to financial planning resources in the community.

Be attentive. Is your trusted team member making uncharacteristic mistakes? Maybe they are feeling stressed about all of the holiday shopping that they still have to do and have not been getting enough sleep. Is there anything on their task list that can be moved to a later date or completed with the help of another team member? Recognize common signs of workplace stress:

  • Lack of concentration
  • Uncharacteristic mistakes
  • Emotional behavior or aggressive tendencies
  • Reoccurring health problems such as colds, headaches, and stomach problems
  • Constant feeling of inadequacy and/or tiredness
  • Inability to make decisions

Find out what is causing the stress and work out a solution together.

Express gratitude. Remind employees that their hard work is appreciated and recap the year’s achievements. This will help keep employees motivated and engaged.

Though it is easy to become overwhelmed this time of year, these tips can help to reduce tension and maintain a productive environment in the workplace by being proactive about your employees’ needs.

What are some things that employees can do to reduce stress?

Plan and prioritize. Your to-do list is probably longer than usual. Figure out what your main priority is for the holiday season and let everything else naturally fall into place. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, every day, focus on your top three tasks.

Respect your body and mind. It is hard to not be surrounded by an abundance of tempting food and drinks during the holiday season. Avoid skipping meals to compensate for what you are going to eat as you will be more likely to eat more – stick to your regular meal times. Limit your alcohol intake by sipping your drink slowly and being conscious of your consumption throughout the evening. Among all of the holiday chaos, schedule at least 30 minutes for yourself to exercise and wind down. To stay active, go for a walk before or after a meal with your colleagues or family.

Lastly, remember to breathe deeply, relax, and enjoy what the holiday season brings.