Managing Holiday Stress in the Workplace

November 23, 2015


Managing_holiday_stress_in_the_workplace.pngThe 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.  

Prioritize Projects

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. 

Communicate Appreciation

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.

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Topics: Business Best Practices, Human Resources

Kay Oder


Kay Oder has owned six companies, has been a resource to thousands to businesses and brought solutions to help business owners minimize risk, improve business performance and navigate today’s highly regulated and complex “business of being an employer”.

Today, Kay uses the insights gained throughout her career as a speaker, business owner and business advisor. Audiences enjoy her candid, informed perspective on HR related topics as well as her razor-sharp southern wit.

Kay is also a Certified Business Performance Advisor with Insperity, the $2.6 billion business performance solutions provider she has called home since 1993. Kay has consistently been among the company’s top producers during her 20 plus years with the organization, earning Insperity’s highest honors, including the Top Volume, Circle of Excellence and the Chairman’s Club awards.

Prior to Insperity, Kay was the President and Co-founder of Texas Valve Specialists, a supplier in the oil and gas industry. She has also owned companies in the construction, demolition, machining and promotional apparel arenas. She spent four years as a client of Insperity and upon selling her last venture, joined the Insperity team.

From an early age Kay demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, beginning at age six when she sold cantaloupes from her parents’ front yard, which she offered three for fifty-cents, with a free puppy.

Kay and her husband, Dale, relocated to Austin from the Houston area in 1996 when a theft occurred in their family: their granddaughter was born and stole their hearts, so they had to follow.

Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 30 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance. Insperity® Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace. Insperity delivers administrative relief, better benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity through its premier Workforce Optimization® solution. Additional company offerings include Human Capital Management, Payroll Services, Time and Attendance, Performance Management, Organizational Planning, Recruiting Services, Employment Screening, Financial Services, Expense Management, Retirement Services and Insurance Services. Insperity business performance solutions support more than 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees. With 2016 revenues of $2.9 billion, Insperity operates in 61 offices throughout the United States. For more information, call 800-465-3800 or visit

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