The holidays are always something of a conundrum. On the one hand, they are full of parties and celebrations and yet they can also be an incredibly stressful time for many.
Sometimes, this is the result of personal obligations like having company or too many holiday parties and celebrations to attend. Other times it can be the result of trying to tie up loose ends or finish projects before the year end that may have been back-burnered for months, while other businesses do the majority of their business over the holidays.
Whatever the reason, it is important to realize that as festive as the holidays can be, they can also be hugely stressful for employees. Here are 10 ways to alleviate stress in your business this holiday season.
1. Bring in a mobile masseuse
There is very little that will ease tension and stress more effectively than massage therapy. You may not be able to afford a full-time onsite massage therapist like Google does, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a page from their book.
Even a simple cranial sacral massage or carpal tunnel massage can go a long way towards alleviating tension and just make your employees feel a bit pampered. If you also provide a selection of gourmet desserts or a small glass of champagne (or even sparkling cider) at the same time, all the better.
2. Take the opportunity to evaluate, streamline and automate
Unless your business does the bulk of its business over the holidays, the likelihood is your clients and customers don’t expect you to be running and functioning at 100%. After all, they too are most likely overloaded and stressed with additional holiday burdens as well.
Most businesses have time-wasters that they do simply because it’s the way they have always been done or are holdovers from past necessity. This can be a great opportunity to have employees recommend tasks that they think can be minimized, automated or done away with entirely.
The holidays are a great time to experiment because if something doesn’t work the way it should, customer forgiveness is probably at its peak.
3. Offer errand services
One of the big stressors over the holidays are all of the additional errands most people need to run. From Christmas shopping to airport pickups to picking up holiday clothing from the cleaners, the added small responsibilities abound – and can add up.
You can either open an account or give employees gift certificates to a service like TaskRabbit, or you can even hire a few temporary, seasonal personal assistants for the office.
Yes, a holiday party is great (and you should not forego that) but helping your employees manage their personal responsibilities can also engender a great deal of goodwill and good cheer over the holidays.
4. Try and allow employees to work remotely
If you aren’t doing so already, this can also be a great opportunity to explore remote work opportunities or more flexible schedules for your employees. There may be no time of year when they may value and appreciate it more than the holidays.
If it works out well, you can explore creating those options for them on a more permanent or regular basis. If it does not work out well, then you only have to deal with the chaos for a few weeks before you can get everything back to normal. Just because it doesn’t work the first time, however, doesn’t mean it never will.
It might just need a few tweaks to make it work. Considering that numerous studies show that remote workers are happier, healthier and more productive, it’s something that every business should be seriously considering.
Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes most employers make is thinking they know what their employees want without ever asking them. Yes, employees want to be paid well and have good benefits, but what they want even more is to know that they are actually valued by their employer and that their individual needs actually matter.
You may not be able to meet all of the needs of all of your employees, but making the effort to simply find out what they are can also go a long way towards letting your employees know they are seen, heard and valued.
6. Set a good example
There is an old saying that goes “when mom is unhappy everybody is unhappy.” The same could be said of the office in reference to the boss. When bosses and managers are stressed out over the holidays, it sets the pace and tone for the entire office.
Leaders lead from the front, so one of the best things leaders can do for their entire staff is to put on their own oxygen mask first. That means doing what they need to do to minimize their own stress so they can help everyone else minimize theirs.
You may think it sets a bad example to leave early to attend a holiday party, but that is only true if you don’t allow your employees to do the same. If you want them to actually have more control over their own schedule, then you need to set the example by taking control of your own.
Even if the holidays are your busy seasons, it’s important to remember the holidays bring added personal responsibilities for almost everyone and your employees are people. The more you help them manage all their extra duties, the more grateful they will be all year long.