Happy (and Healthy) Employees This Holiday Season

The end of the year push is on. You’re wrapping up 2018 and getting ready to hit the ground running in 2019. It’s just as stressful for your employees as it is for you. They are trying to deliver on work responsibilities and meet their goals while managing a personal life filled with school holiday […]

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The end of the year push is on. You’re wrapping up 2018 and getting ready to hit the ground running in 2019.

It’s just as stressful for your employees as it is for you. They are trying to deliver on work responsibilities and meet their goals while managing a personal life filled with school holiday shows, shopping, client get-togethers, and entertaining relatives and friends. Add in financial stress, marital problems or health concerns that are often magnified during the holidays, and your employees’ well-being could be at risk.

And, to top it off, it’s costing you money. Stress-related absenteeism and presenteeism, increased health care spending, and reduced productivity cost American companies approximately 300 billion annually.

Work doesn’t have to add to the stress of the season. In fact, there are many things you can do to help employees cope and your bottom line thrive during these stressful times that won’t break your budget or require a huge investment of time. It’s wellness, and it works.

Whether you offer wellness as part of your employee benefits package or not, bringing well-being programs and services into the workplace in the next few weeks can be a big win for your business.

Check out my Six Strategies for Creating a Happy, Healthy and Productive Workplace this holiday season.

  1. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements. If your operation allows for it, give your employees the option to work from home one day per week in December. This gives them one day a week to not worry about dressing up, fighting morning traffic or rushing home to make the Christmas show at their child’s school. If you can’t give everyone a day at home each week, offer flexible hours that allow them to work around holiday obligations and celebrations.
  2. Bring Wellness to the Office. Your employees are time-strapped this holiday season and likely don’t have the time to visit a spa or local yoga studio. So bring the relaxation to them. Hire a local massage business to come in and do free chair massages or sponsor a lunchtime yoga or meditation class.
  3. Socialize Your Support Services. If you have an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) or other available health or wellness services, make sure your employees know about them, and that services are easily accessible. You’ve paid to provide an EAP…so communicate this valuable resource! EAPs can help point employees in the right direction for a myriad of challenges. From financial planning to finding babysitters to helping a relative who is struggling with illness or addiction. It’s a confidential resource that can alleviate some of their stress during a hectic time.
  4. Survey before Celebrating. Not everyone loves a fancy dinner or banquet for the office holiday gathering because it may require spending money on a new outfit and babysitter. And, some may hate the idea of an office potluck when they are already cooking for holidays. Find out how your employees would like to celebrate before planning an event. While you can’t please everyone, a quick survey will give you the insight to plan a celebration that makes your employees feel appreciated in a meaningful way.
  5. Encourage Fitness. Exercise is proven to reduce stress while boosting creativity, productivity and energy. Make fitness part of your anti-stressed workplace in December. Bring in a health coach or personal trainer to do a workshop on 30-minute workouts. Run a step challenge for prizes or partner with a local gym to offer employees a free one-week membership during the holiday season.
  6. Stock up on Healthy Snacks. When people are stressed, they often turn to food for comfort. Be prepared with a breakroom or kitchen stocked with snacks that will fuel them in a healthy way. Fresh fruit, trail mix, dark chocolate, protein bars and an always-full water cooler will ensure they are eating food that nourishes them without a sugar crash or excessive calories.

Reducing stress in the workplace during the holidays doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It’s about knowing your employees and what will resonate with them, and then offering small gestures of kindness during a stressful time of year. In the end, you will not only have happier, less-stressed employees but they will be more loyal and productive, making it a win for everyone!

For more ideas on how to create a well workplace, reach out to me for a free workplace wellness assessment and consultation. I’d love to show you how small efforts add up to big ROI this holiday season.

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