The end of the year brings challenges and joys in many forms. Lots of people plan to travel, celebrate with family and friends, or host intimate gatherings at home. In the workplace, year-end often causes stress as employees try to meet goals and finish the year strong. Expense reports, performance development plans, and year-end updates are due. It can feel like there’s never enough time for everything. With all these stresses in place, employers can take proactive actions to help reduce workplace stress at the end of the year.
Help your employees enjoy the spirit of the season this year by helping them lower stress levels with our top five tips.
5 Ways to Help Employees Reduce Workplace Stress at Holiday Times
Try some or all of these five tips this year for a stress-free end to the year:
1. Hire temporary support staff.
As part of your annual business plan, be sure to account for seasonal differences in volume. Are you busier pushing to meet production goals or preparing for renewals? Maybe your agency sees more claims volume because of winter storm fender benders, ice dams, and frozen pipes. Account for these seasonal variations when planning staff. And be sure to plan for your regular workforce to take time off around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. If you need to hire temporary workers, connect with your staffing agency early. Planning ahead makes a big difference when hiring extra staff.
2. Offer employees a day off or half-day off to volunteer.
Lots of people like to give back to their communities, especially during the holidays. Consider offering your staff paid time off to volunteer at an event that is meaningful to them. You could also put together a team event to volunteer together during a workday. But make sure your volunteer efforts aren’t adding more stress to your staff. Let them know it is optional. Plan early so no one feels like it is one more thing for them to do.
3. Be even more flexible than usual.
Can you offer your staff more scheduling and time-off flexibility during the holidays? Consider giving everyone a small bonus. Try closing early on a Friday during December to let your staff do some holiday shopping or decorating. You may already be operating on a flexible work-from-home schedule since COVID, but if not, try offering more flexible office options during the holidays. If you live in a part of the country affected by snow and ice, tell your staff they can make their own choices to work from their homes if the weather is poor. Trying to commute when winter storms are predicted can be stressful and dangerous —let your staff work from home at their discretion.
4. Remind employees of health and wellness programs.
It is easy to neglect your health at the end of the year when other things get in the way. But it is even more important to take care of yourself when stressed. This includes eating nutritious food and making time for exercise. Employers can provide healthy snacks in the breakroom or offer discounts for fitness classes or massages. If your health insurer or Employee Assistance Plan provider gives any wellness programs be sure to take advantage of them. And as always, document your efforts to help your employees stay well.
5. Talk with your staff.
Maybe the easiest tip of all, simply talk with your staff. Be available and around to listen. Sometimes casual conversations are the best way to notice trends in your workplace. The water cooler gossip can influence worksite culture, so stay visible and keep your ear in conversations. Ask your staff how they are doing and how you can help. When things get busier at the end of the year, your employees may not ask for help but they need it. Being proactive can go a long way to help reduce workplace stress.
By using some or all of these tips, you can help reduce workplace stress and make sure everyone enjoys the holidays! Don’t forget to schedule a holiday email message to your policyholders thanking them for their business. Read up on additional winter safety tips to help your customers avoid cold weather claims so you’re prepared to help share ideas with your policyholders.
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