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Supporting Your Employees Through Holiday Stress

It’s the best time of the year! And the most stressful!

We’re quickly approaching the end of … that’s right, 2021, with 2022 on the horizon. It’s been a blur of a year, again, and there’s still so much to do before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Between end-of-year reports, parties, meetings, regular work obligations, trying to make things festive and the pressure to buy all those gifts and send all those cards, your employees might feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, let alone all of December, to get everything done.

Deep breaths, everyone. It’s going to be ok.

Here’s how to keep your employees focused, on track and reduce their stress in the mad dash toward the end of the year.

Be honest: Everyone’s feeling a little extra stress right now.

For too long, we’ve been conditioned to think of the holiday season as a series of picture-perfect moments, where the food is all cooked perfectly, everyone’s on their best behavior and wearing their sparkliest outfits while nattily attired kids and dogs play peacefully and there are no deadlines to be found. Let your team know the reality: You feel stressed to get things done on time while juggling obligations too. But remember, and remind them, that you’ll get through this time together, so long as everyone pitches in and does their part. Make it clear that they are supported and understood and that their mental and physical health is still important, that they need to take care of themselves and that you have their backs.

Encourage them to take time off.

Some people save up their vacation time (and personal time, if applicable) to use during the holidays. Encourage this! They’ve earned their time and have the right to use it as they see fit. To be fair and make sure everyone gets a chance, set up a calendar where people can request days off. If you need to, set a limit on how many people from a given team can be out on the same day and whoever signs up first gets dibs. If your office is one where things quiet down during the last two weeks of the year, or the time between Christmas and New Year’s, and nothing would be harmed by a larger number of people being off, make that clear too.

Buy them lunch or dessert.

Sharing a meal or snack together is a great way for your team to take a little break, all together, and relax. There’s a reason family meals are viewed as a time for people to reconnect, share and bond. Offer a lunch to your employees or, if it’s easier, a coffee and dessert buffet. It doesn’t have to be fancy; it doesn’t have to break the bank — you can even get the office involved by having a cookie or baked good contest and encourage people to bring in a treat from home. The gesture of spending a little time together during the workday in a fun environment can be a big stress relief.

Delay new projects, meetings and other distractions.

Be cognizant of your team’s time, and your own, by prioritizing the things that absolutely must get done before December 31. If possible, don’t take on any new work, or any big projects; delay any big meetings until after January 1; focus instead on finishing up any loose ends from 2021 and ending the year on a high note so the new year can start fresh, with a clean slate. This will also help alleviate the need to demand overtime from your employees while they’re trying to get out on time to run errands, attend holiday concerts and get those last-minute items ticked off their to-do list.

Say thanks.

Write it in an email or a memo. Say the words out loud. However you feel it would work best, and be best received, tell your team you appreciate them. It’s been a long year. Everyone is tired. Your employees have been with you, working hard for the company’s benefit and success. Show them a little appreciation in word and deed. Give kudos and words of encouragement and praise to your stand-out workers. People who feel their work is noticed and appreciated are happier and feel more valued than those who feel invisible. A simple “thanks for your hard work” can go a long way.


Ready to expand your team? Sterling Personnel can help!

As you prepare for another successful year in 2022, while looking back on the lessons learned in 2021, you might realize it’s time to add new employees to help fill in the gaps and ease the pressure. Whether you need temporary help or permanent additions to your team, contact Sterling Personnel today and we can help you find the best new candidates.