Employee Stress: How You Can Help During the Holidays

Discussions about employee stress often focus on what the individual can do to help themself, but have you thought about how you can help your employees manage their holiday stress?

Chronically high stress is a key ingredient in the recipe for burnout. As such, it’s important for managers to recognize the signs and the areas where there is the possibility for them to contribute to or subtract from that stress. 

Here are some simple, yet powerful ways you can start doing that.

Assisting with Employee Stress Management

  • Check in with employees regularly. You should have a good idea of their workload and their stress levels. Check in with them to see how they’re doing and look for nonverbal cues.
  • Redistribute tasks as necessary. Following from tip # 1, if workloads are too heavy for some, redistribute as is appropriate and doable. Also, help employees prioritize. Some things may need to be back-burned for the time-being and you need to communicate that it is OK when that happens.
  • Infuse some fun into the season. I don’t mean the obligatory office “fun” folks roll their eyes at. Seek out the activities and events employees actually enjoy and host those, whether it’s a Secret Snowflake gift exchange, a surprise lunch on the company dime, or in-office chair massage. 
  • Foster an environment that prioritizes mental health. Encourage employees to take their lunch break. Don’t “ding” employees for using PTO. Ask them about how they’re doing and show genuine interest in their responses. Remind them of the resources they have available to support them, such as EAPs. And model work-life balance to them through your own actions and choices.
  • Give staff some liberty in how they work. Gone are the days when seats had to be kept warm until 5 pm. Employees want flexibility and trust and they aren’t tolerating micromanaging. It’s important for management to be open to different ways of achieving the same goals and tasks. Being able to work from home and get the work done when it works best for them can go a really long way towards keeping stress at bay.

As I’ve said before, employee burnout doesn’t happen in a vacuum and it’s critical for management to step in to avoid it as well.