Green backdrop with christmas cookies and pine, with red overlay of blog title 'Support employee wellbeing during the holiday season'

Support employee wellbeing during the holiday season

Whatever holidays you celebrate, December is a month of festivities and an incredibly busy period for many employees and organisations.

From shopping, cooking, wrapping gifts and Christmas parties to compiling end of year reports, the hallowed work-life balance can be thrown off kilter. A poll by recruitment company Monster found that 61% of workers claim that they are negatively impacted over the Christmas period; 44% feel increasingly stressed and 17% report a decline in their overall wellbeing.

To help off-set end-of-year stress, here are a few ways you can help manage your team’s work-life balance during the busy holiday season:

Offer flexibility

Flexible working arrangements are enduringly popular and according to the Owl Labs 2023 State of Hybrid Work report, 40% of employees would turn down a position that required nine-to-five office working. With the festive season kicking off, the benefits of flexible working are even more attractive.

Many employees save holiday days to take over Christmas in order to fit in the work and home activities they are committed to. Allowing some extra flexibility for workers, or accommodating remote working over the holidays could alleviate some pressure for working parents or carers.

Having the flexibility to adjust schedules allows ad hoc appointments to be kept – such as Christmas school productions, last minute appointments or even collecting parcels or waiting in for present deliveries. The hours can be made up on other days and things can continue to run smoothly at home and work.

Encourage staff to unplug

The temptation to check emails and keep an eye on work can be hard to ignore if you have looming deadlines and an ever-increasing pile of work to deal with when you return to the office. According to the Monster poll, nearly two-thirds (65%) of workers admit that they work on their days off, while 35% say they continue to check their work email, even when their company is closed.

Combat the trend of employees working on days off or checking work emails by creating a company-wide culture that emphasises the importance of disconnecting during holidays. Conduct round-up meetings before the holidays to ensure tasks are completed, and incentivise early task completion with rewards or recognition.

Provide outlets for workers to destress

Recognise various ways employees cope with holiday stress, such as attending celebrations, taking personal downtime, and engaging in exercise. The UK Fitness Report found that almost a third of people (30%) are most likely to reduce or stop exercising over the Christmas period. Encouraging staff to keep up their fitness routine or even consider implementing wellness programmes, providing gym memberships, or organising team-building exercises. Any of these measures can support employees’ fitness and stress resilience and will certainly help boost those feel good chemicals.

Promote work-life balance in employer branding

Acknowledge that how employees are treated during the holiday season influences their commitment and can impact the organisation’s success in the coming year. Highlighting a commitment to work-life balance in employer branding, through social media, networking platforms, career sites, and job listings, helps attract and retain top talent.

Fostering a harmonious workplace during the holidays not only benefits your employees now but contributes to a positive work environment throughout the year.


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