It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? Booking holiday parties, trying to get your shopping done on your already tight budget, hitting your end-of-year goals all while managing clients and employees even as one foot is out the door with an eye on that mug bottle of mulled wine…? Actually, studies have shown that around 70 percent of employees are actually more stressed during the holidays. No matter how many twinkly lights you string up, it can’t reduce the pressure on your employees – but you can! The following are some ideas to help you (and the people you work with) hit their goals and avoid slipping into paralyzing stress.
Talk About It
Managers should take the time to talk about added stress with their employees. It can simply be an email checking in and reminding employees of the need to reduce stress, working on communication and organization between teams as people take off time, or having a group discussion. Whatever you choose, the focus should be on destigmatizing holiday stress and encouraging employees to be proactive in dealing with it.
Lots of employees have children – who often decide to put on their Christmas or holiday plays during this crucial time of year. You should feel able to set limits on these events, but also be flexible. For example, you could require your employees to ask for the time off in advance, or use flexible scheduling – so if they must take an afternoon off, have them come in early or stay late a day or 2 to catch up. If you’re in a business that often requires workers to stay on Christmas Eve late, run a lottery so that different employees can have the chance to stay or go home. It may help to incentivize the position with a bonus for their time if the company can afford it.
The holiday season is the perfect chance to reach out to the client, old employee or colleague that you have not spoken to in a while. Dropping a holiday card or sending a small token can remind these people of the personal connection you have with them. Offer to take them out for coffee one day and make sure you express your gratitude for their business or guidance, whatever it may be – and try to avoid talking shop. This will leave them with a positive memory of interacting with you, so you can reach out again after the New Year for your pitch.
Physical activity is proven to reduce depression and stress. Instead of a happy hour, bring in a yoga instructor and offer drinks afterward. If you need to have a face-to-face meeting with someone, offer to go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be Olympic speedwalking, but even a steady stroll around the office building or outside can boost your metabolism, immune system and reduce cortisol. Get the team together for a charity 5k and a celebratory lunch after instead of a boozy party. Healthy habits will make a massive impact in the long and short-term.
Ease Back into the New Year
Remember that after the rush of the holidays and end of the year, there will be a lull. Take the extra time you will have the first week of January to formulate new goals and evaluate your performance over the last 12 months. Allow yourself to reflect and be mindful at the beginning of the year, and let your employees do the same. By the second week of January, everyone will be ready to embrace the new opportunities for 2018.