For the three quarters of Canadians living with daily stress, those feelings of angst become more acute during the holiday season. According to employers, workplace discontent is common at this time of year with many companies reporting a decline in productivity. While some drop off is acceptable as we celebrate the season, a good portion of it results from holiday burnout.
How can companies help their staff cope? Here are ten suggestions:
1. Embrace the festivities. It's the season to celebrate and reward your wins. Say thank you more often and directly. It's not about the value of the reward but more about the acknowledgement.
2. Allow a certain amount of flexibility around deadlines and encourage your team to provide progress reports rather than micromanaging. Giving employees autonomy over their work helps to reduce stress. Monitor your employee's ability to handle their workload and provide time to recover from demanding tasks. Let employees know it is okay to say 'no' if they're feeling stretched.
3. Connect with your direct reports regularly. Ask them about their families and their plans for the holiday season. Showing you care about them as individuals first can go a long way to building resilience.
4. Encourage the team to maintain healthy routines and create a work environment that supports that. Offer treats and celebrations, but balance these with healthy options such as fruit. Other ideas that your employees are sure to welcome are meditation, relaxation sessions and seated massage.
5. Encourage regular physical activity by placing posters near elevators that suggest taking the stairs as a healthy option, and providing reminders to stand up regularly throughout the day to stretch and increase blood flow. Post these holiday stretches on your intranet site to encourage movement and improve attention.
6. Layer up and go outside. Encourage walking meetings. The fresh air and bright sun can stimulate creativity and lift your mood and energy while burning calories. If you are in the downtown area multi task and combine your walk with some window shopping.
7. Give the gift of kindness. Find unique ways to promote a positive outlook and show appreciation. Encourage acts of kindness within your workplace with three good deeds a day. Simple acts such as holding the elevator door, bringing your co-worker a coffee and offering your support on a project will go a long way to promoting civility and gratitude. Create a team of volunteer holiday mood boosters to spread laughter, joy and appreciation throughout the workplace.
8. Rally around a cause. One of the easiest ways to brighten your workplace is to do a good deed for somebody else -- especially when there are so many people in need and causes to support. Give you employees the option to take time off to volunteer at a local food bank, soup kitchen or shelter.
9. Encourage downtime to recharge. A little relaxation can go a long way, especially during the holiday season when employees experience new sources of stress. Organize an office-wide coffee break on Friday afternoons featuring staff-favourite seasonal blends, or provide an afternoon off to make a dent in holiday shopping.
10. Lighten up your next departmental meeting with a re-gifting theme. Have some laughs while you exchange gifts. Just make sure you don't bring in a gift given to you previously by your boss or co-worker! Laughter and social engagement have been shown to boost immunity.
Sue Pridham is co-president of Tri Fit, Canada's leading provider of workplace fitness and wellness programs. Follow Tri Fit @trifitca