Holidays are something most people look forward to, but for employees, the busy holiday season can be overwhelming. There’s just too much going on around the holidays – from client deadlines, year-end office events, school activities with their children and other family matters, all of which can zap one’s energy and cause undue stress to your poor employees. If not managed properly, holiday-related stress can significantly affect employee performance in the workplace.
Your HR team can implement seasonal workforce-friendly policies to spare your organization the pains of workplace stress. They can help ease the burden of your employees and brighten up the office atmosphere, a win-win situation for all. Here are some ways you can make your employees feel stress-free in the upcoming holiday season:
1. Allow flexible schedules
Everyone benefits from flexible schedule policy, from married or parent employees to single staff in your organization. This allows your employees to take care of work and personal errands effectively without compromising any of their responsibilities. Being allowed to start work an hour later or so can mean a big difference. They can use that extra hour in the morning to get some much-needed rest after beating deadlines and doing holiday errands the night before.
Alternatively, you can have longer work hours from Monday to Thursday, so that employees can have Fridays added to their usual Saturday and Sunday rest periods. Whatever schedule you choose to implement, make sure that your employees understand it’s a temporary setup to help them accommodate both of their family and office duties during the holiday season.
2. Consider telecommuting
Recruitment firms agree that telecommuting is becoming a highly popular work setup for companies across industries. Basically, you give the green light for your employees to work from home either as part of the employment arrangement or during those times when you’re anticipating unfavorable conditions or situations.
For example, traffic can go from bad to worst on days leading to Christmas. So instead of putting your employees through traffic jams, you could let them work remotely as long as they get their work done within your agreed timeframe.
If you’re planning to implement the telecommuting setup, be sure that your organization has a collaborative work system in place that tracks progress or time that has been used by each employee for every task. This will facilitate timely coordination and communication among teams. It will also serve as a monitoring tool for various projects in the pipeline, but most especially for those that need to be completed in time for the holidays. You can choose from a lot of collaborative tools in the market such as GoogleDocs, Asana, Trello, Slack, etc.
3. Organize a year-end recognition event and throw a holiday party
What better way to end the year than getting all employees together in an office event to look back at the year’s highlights in each department? It could give everybody precious hours away from their desk to forget about work momentarily and to celebrate what they have achieved for the company. Your HR team could spearhead the creation of a year-in-review video, with special awards given to deserving teams and employees.
Of course, your employees are expecting holiday bonuses at this time of the year. Make sure you release it on time since bonus delays add up to employee disengagement and stress. Tip: surprise your employees and issue it on early weeks of Q4 if possible. For the special rewards, you can give it at the same time of your recognition event.
If you’ve been organizing the same old, traditional holiday party year after year, you might want to think out of the box this time around. With the recognition event out of the way, it’s only fitting for the company to treat the employees to a night of fun with all the great stuff – food, drinks, music, raffle tickets, and other entertaining activities. Get a room \at a nearby hotel or reserve a restaurant for that after-party event. Remember, “Work hard; party harder” is how employees roll.
To make all these possible, let your clients and other stakeholders know about your internal holiday activities to manage their expectations.
4. Designate a happy hour
Some things just can’t be avoided, like a really important client insisting on receiving certain deliverables at the close of play. For a few of your employees, that might mean doing some overtime work when everyone else has already called it a day.
To lighten up the mood and to make it up to affected employees, you could turn some parts of the work area into a bar of sorts and designate a happy hour. During this time, employees who have to extend work can have a serving of beverages and some hors d’oeuvre on the side. That should give them a fair share of the holiday spirit, al desko style.
Workplace stress is a common story, but it shouldn’t dampen anyone’s energy and emotions during what should be the most wonderful time of the year. In the spirit of Christmas, wouldn’t it be fair if you showed more love to your employees as you help them better manage or get rid of stress at work? After all, everyone deserves some extra perks during the holidays.
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On a personal note, TJ is happily married and a father of two adorable children. He spends his free time giving back to the community by being an active member of the local HR Community. He speaks in learning sessions and also does pro-bono talks once in a while to impart his knowledge in recruitment.
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