How can employers help participants deal with holiday stress?

HR Drive | Valerie Bolden-Barrett | Don't keep employee stress under wraps this holiday season 

holiday stress happy employees employee wellness corporate wellness

Holidays are happy times for most people, but at least a third or workers are stressed out, according to staffing firm Accountemps. In its recent survey of employees, the firm found that 51% said they were happier at work during the season, but 35% said they were more stressed at this time of year. 

The survey found that the biggest sources of stress were balancing work responsibilities with holiday events (32%), taking time off and returning to work to face heavy workloads (23%), and having fewer people at work during the season to take on some of the work (18%).

Accountemps recommends that employees overcome stress during the holidays by making a list of things to accomplish each day before leaving work the night before, meeting with their managers about getting help with deadlines and workloads, planning time away from the office and taking frequent breaks to relax, regroup and re-energize during the day.

Keeping employees energized and engaged, especially during the holidays, when staffing — and temperaments — are often the shortest can be a bit of a challenge. Employers can help by balancing workloads, that is, ensuring that each employee has sufficient time off, with regard to seniority, tenure or union contacts. 

Wellness programs should always emphasize exercise and healthful eating, but they may need to provide extra reminders during the holidays when healthy lifestyles are temporarily put aside and replaced by over-eating and drinking. 

Managers should look out for employees who appear to be unusually stressed or depressed during this time of year. Chronic absenteeism, tardiness, moodiness and decreased productivity are warning signs that something is wrong and some type of intervention is needed. Employee assistance programs (EAPs) can help employees who get caught up in the stress of the holidays or who might be dealing with the unhappy situations they associate with the season.



Kat Smith