If your holidays are anything like mine, they seem to get a little busier every year.  Almost every group I belong to has a holiday get together – our company, the office building, my neighborhood, my street, both sides of the family…now I like a party as much (or maybe more) than anyone, but sometimes it’s hard not to feel like enough is enough.  This also happens to be when we are busy with year-end strategic activities like analyzing results and setting goals for the New Year.  With all of this going on, it’s no wonder that the holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year.

A number of years ago, we had a tragedy at work in December and brought in a counselor to meet with employees.  He spent quite a bit of time on-site and before he left, I asked him, in general, how people were coping.  To my surprise, he stated that most employees didn’t come to him about the event that had occurred, but rather met with him about their holiday stress.

So what can business leaders do to reduce stress levels during the holidays?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Spread things out:  Are your goals, performance reviews, and benefit changes all due at year- end?  Move one (or more) of these to a different schedule.  You’ll reduce stress and be better able to focus on each.  If year-end is your busiest time, consider hosting your company party in January when people are cold and bored anyway.
  • Keep things simple:  If you have a company party, a department party, a Christmas lunch, a gift exchange, you brew HRM Holiday Cheer beer, and your employees do secret Santa, it may be time to scale things back.  Leave your employees some time to do their work and to have some personal time.
  •  Show appreciation:  Your employees have been working hard all year.  This is a great time to share your appreciation with them and let them know they are valued.
  •  Save them money:  If your holiday party requires employees to buy tickets, a new outfit, drinks and parking, as well as gifts for co-workers, it may be time to look at a less expensive option.  Christmas is an expensive proposition for most families, so save your employees some stress by not adding to their debt.
  • Provide healthy options:  We all love Christmas cookies and desserts in December and then regret them in January.  Even though most people will blow past the veggie platter, it’s a good option to provide.
  • Have fun:  In a year from now, people won’t remember if there was a holiday decoration out of place at the party, but they will remember how much fun they had.  Keep it fun!

From our team to yours, best wishes for a terrific holiday season and a prosperous New Year!

Next month:  Will Michigan become the latest Right to Work state?

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