Does the thought of being festive send you in search of some peace and quiet? Do the extra demands during the holiday season make you wonder if it’s worth all the fuss?
If you’re managing a team, you will likely see the effects in your staff and their work. The best plan as a leader and for us individually is to acknowledge that this time of year has some potential hazards as well as the opportunity to have some fun.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Embracing that, is a good first step to enjoying the holiday time with friends, family and staff, and keeping your stress level manageable.
Stressor Point: It’s likely that you and your staff (and your boss) will have more commitments during the time between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. Feeling rushed, or over-scheduled will only add to the stress and anxiety; decreasing the joy factor that holiday events are created to foster.
Solution: Be realistic and as flexible as possible. If you know you’ll need time away from work, try to schedule it as soon as you know and minimize the impact if you can. Allow workers the same consideration if staffing and company policies permit.
When workers have input regarding scheduling options they are much more likely to commit to making shift changes work for themselves and the company. If you are not able to offer flexibility due to work load and industry factors, talk with your staff about what is possible.
Stressor Point: You may also face workload changes. End of month, end of year and holiday sales make require more work just when everyone wants to check out. Many workers may resent that they are expected to do more at a time when family and community commitments are also increasing.
Solution: It’s never too early to set expectations for increases in productivity. Make sure your staff knows why the deadlines are needed and help them schedule to accommodate the extra work. Most employees will be happy to get work done when they understand how their contributions affect the big picture.
When deadlines feel arbitrary or forced, resentment can impact your most dedicated team members.
Stressor Point: Holiday time can be detrimental to many. It’s no secret that difficulties at home, physical and mental health issues can crop up and affect all facets of our day to day responsibilities.
Solution: If this impacts you personally, be honest with yourself. If possible, talk with a trusted peer and ask for help or feedback if they notice you don’t seem “yourself”. Take time for rest and eliminate unnecessary demands. It’s not necessary that you attend every party or open house if it is going to be at the expense of your health.
Watch your team members for signs they may need some assistance. If you notice tardiness, absenteeism, moodiness or a change in productivity take advantage of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP’s) to offer help.
If your company doesn’t have a program, see if it’s possible to enlist HR for assistance or offer to provide help with workload or scheduling as permitted by your company policies.
Often, the holidays come and go in a blur. That isn’t fun for anyone. This year, take a new approach. Be selective about your obligations so you can truly enjoy the ones that make it onto the calendar.
Outsource a few things. Someone else can surely make the cookies or fudge this year. Scale back the décor, or number of gifts so the demands on your time and your wallet (money is a huge source of stress for many) don’t overwhelm.
This can be the year when you can really mean it when you say “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”
Note to Corporate Leaders: You can provide a cost effective, employee boosting stress management course for your leadership team. Contact me to learn how it can improve performance, attendance and employee satisfaction.