When we picture the holidays, the first image that comes to mind usually involves family laughing and talking, huddled around a toasty fire, while fresh white snow falls gently on the trees, creating an idyllic and peaceful scene. Now think of how you actually spent the holidays last year. Running from holiday party to holiday party, scrambling to get your shopping done and thinking of the perfect gift, all while getting the house ready for your in-laws. Little time is left for peace and reflection, and what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year is instead filled with stress and anxiety.
According to a survey from staffing firm Accountemps, about 35 percent of employees say they are the most stressed during this time of the year at work. Those surveyed attributed this stress to balancing holiday fun and work obligations, taking time off and coming back to heavier workloads, and fewer people around the office to help.
One of the best things you can do for employees during the holidays is quite simple- don't create any extra stress. Of course, this is easier said than done, but if there’s a project that can wait until after the New Year, schedule that meeting for the beginning of January. And, while the holiday office party may need to go virtual this year, you can and should try to keep some office traditions going this year. We compiled our favorite tips for keeping the holidays fun and exciting for your employees here.
Another thing you can do as an employer is to encourage employees to engage in self-care activities. Self-care has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years, and usually involves bubble baths, face masks, and lots of wine. But it can be much more than that. Self-care is anything that makes you feel better. For some people, that might be scheduling all your bills to be paid automatically so you don’t have to worry about missing a payment. For others, that might be catching up on the hottest new Netflix series.
At Bundle, we recognize that self-care is extremely important. It can help with physical and mental health, and if we have learned anything during this pandemic, it’s how important our health is. You can’t be a functioning co-worker, friend, or family member if you are always running on empty. The holidays can be extremely stressful, and this year employees may be struggling with several emotions. Here are our top tips for helping your employees develop and maintain self-care during this holiday season:
1. Encourage a work-life balance
Unless it’s a dire emergency, try holding off on sending emails after business hours or during the weekend. Even better, schedule the email to be sent so you can check it off your list but your colleague won’t get it till Monday morning. Encouraging employees to take a break can lead to greater productivity and increased employee retention, along with lower stress levels. Breaks give co-workers time to spend more time with loved ones or enjoy some rare “me” time.
2. Up your benefits game
The holidays can be a great time to revamp the benefits you are currently offering employees. Adding a streaming service, meal subscription package, or virtual fitness classes are tangible ways to show your employee that you value their hard work. These can also be incorporated into existing self-care plans or inspire employees to begin taking care of themselves differently.
3. Start company-wide volunteering
Volunteering is a part of many people's holiday traditions. With COVID precautions, it may not be possible to volunteer in-person this year. Organizing a way for all employees to give back, like through a toy drive or sending holiday cards to a local nursing home, is a fantastic way to help both your local community and your employees. According to Discovery Mood and Anxiety Program, volunteering can boost self-esteem and alleviate feelings of isolation, all important parts of self-care.
4. Provide mental health resources
The holidays this year are going to be tougher than ever. Some employees may be dealing with the loss of a loved one, isolation, and financial stress. No matter what, the holidays will be different in some regard for every employee. Providing a list of mental health resources and encouraging employees to reach out is a great way to provide support during these stressful times.