The holiday season can be a stressful time for many U.S. workers. Balancing year-end deadlines, holiday office parties and family obligations can lead to increased stress levels. This may result in lost productivity, absenteeism, illness or other health issues.
American Psychological Association (APA) research finds that job-related stress is a serious issue. Sixty-five percent of Americans cited work as their main source of stress. Just 36 percent said their organizations provide enough resources to help them manage that stress. This may be in part because many employees are not taking time away from the office. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll found that employees on average only took 51 percent of their eligible time off.
Employers have little control over certain stressors at work. But the right plan in place can help employees stay focused and able to better manage their stress level. This can lead to a more enjoyable and relaxing holiday season.
Offer Small Rewards
To encourage a competitive spirit that can help employees remain productive, consider offering rewards or perks for meeting year-end goals. An informal survey conducted by Forbes in 2014 found that employees appreciate perks like free food, time off, company retreats, and freebies. Tickets to movies, sporting events, spa services, or online magazine subscriptions are also appreciated. These types of perks are an inexpensive way to say thank you, put a smile on an employee’s face, and help relieve holiday stress.
Setting realistic deadlines can help clarify what requires an employee’s primary focus. This can ease unnecessary anxiety, especially during the holiday season. Managers can help employees by providing them with a big-picture perspective and identifying the tasks that are most crucial. For employees trying to balance their time between work and home, a prioritized schedule can provide a sense of security and stability.
It's important to remember the power of positive thinking when motivating a workforce. When managers take time to appreciate employees' work, it boosts morale. While face-to-face communication is always best, an unexpected phone call or handwritten note with words of encouragement can remind employees of their value to the organization.
Maintain an Open-Door Policy
Communication is important when it comes to improving employee morale during the holiday season. Supervisors should talk to their staff on a regular basis and make themselves available as much as possible. This is especially important when an employee is showing signs of stress or depression and may need to talk to someone.
Helping employees manage stress levels is an increasingly crucial role for businesses. It can improve morale and create positive results for both the employee and employer. Happier, less stressed employees will be more able focus on tasks and remain productive, despite busy holiday schedules.