Tips for managing festive stress

Essential tips to help you and your staff cope with festive stress!

First published on Monday, Nov 27, 2023

Last updated on Friday, Dec 01, 2023

4 min read

Christmas and the holiday season can be a stressful time for employees and employers alike.

As rewarding and restful as the season can be, it’s also a hectic time of year that can at times put a strain on your mental wellbeing.

With workloads piling up, finances getting tight, family coming to stay, and school breaks impacting childcare arrangements—it’s safe to say Christmas comes with a few extra stressors.

So, here are some tips for managing stress and ensuring you and your employees have a restful break.

1) Create a culture of switching off and reset your team

Unless you work in an industry where you must be available or reachable at all hours, it’s important for you and your employees to take a break from work emails.

Switching off on holiday is hard, especially if you manage a team or work in an industry where a full Christmas shutdown isn’t feasible. But having a minimum of three days over the Christmas period to forget about work will mean you and your team are far more productive and refreshed when you get back to it in January.

Give your staff a break to allow them to focus on recharging for the new year. That way they’ll come back to work ready and prepared for whatever 2024 has in store.

2) Set the right boundaries

It’s the most wonderful time of the year with work socials and parties galore! But make sure you have the right employee policies in place before you get too caught up in planning…

Remember you’re still responsible for your employees and it’s important to treat workplace parties as an extension of the workplace.

Work celebrations like the Christmas party are a great opportunity to wind down and build a relationship with your employees. But they can also be unpredictable if alcohol is involved and could even lead to employee complaints and in extreme cases.

For expert advice on the Christmas do’s and Christmas don’ts, ask BrightLightning: Should I keep the annual holiday work party alcohol-free?

3) Manage vacation and flexible working requests fairly

When it comes to Christmas, planning ahead of time with your workforce is key. Christmas is a busy time of year. Whether that's because your employee has kids or caring responsibilities, they want to travel back to their hometown to spend time with family, or are involved in community events. It can get hectic!

Even though you should have fair processes all year round it’s especially important at this time of year to make sure you’re handling vacations and requests for flexible working as fairly as possible.

It’s an expensive time of year especially as the cost of living continues to hit households hard. So, it’s important to offer your employees help, where and if you can. Whether that’s offering them extra shifts they can pick up on a first come first serve basis. Or, by offering staff low-cost perks and discounts to help them find affordable gifts for their loved ones.

4) Offer your staff wellbeing support

Not everyone has the same experience of Christmas, but most people have a pretty good understanding of the areas where the season can get a bit overwhelming.

Having access to an employee assistance program that allows staff, managers, and even business owners the chance to speak to a trained professional about the stress of the season can be indispensable this time of year.

The Christmas period is not only stressful but can be a difficult time for those who have lost loved ones and are celebrating without them for the first time.

Giving your staff access to a confidential employee assistance program can give them the impartial support they need. Not only is an EAP a great way to support your staff’s mental health—but it will also help you to take steps towards a happier, more collaborative work culture.

Interested in learning more about how to manage the stress that comes with the festive season? Get BrightAdvice. Our 24/7 advivce line is manned by employment relations and health & safety experts ready to answer any questions you have about managing staff challenges this season and beyond.

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