Although the holidays are meant to be a time of joy and celebration, they can be particularly stressful for many people. For most employees, the holidays are an exceptionally busy time, with end-of year deadlines, shifts in normal schedules, and the added financial pressures of gift giving and special gatherings. With these added stressors in mind, there are a number of things employers can do to support their employees’ mental health during the holidays.
Help Employees Create a Better Work/Life Balance
This is important, not only during the holiday season, but all year long. Allowing for flexible schedules is essential for employees who are juggling work and childcare or caring for other family members. With the increase of remote work, the traditional 9 to 5 schedule is no longer necessary for a business to run smoothly or for employees to be productive. At the end of the workday, encourage employees to log off and unplug, so they can return to work the next day refreshed.
Offer Benefits That Make a Difference
Employers should do all they can to support employees – their most valuable asset.
Hold voluntary open sharing meetings to give employees an opportunity to talk about their holiday stress and work/life balancing issues with others going through similar things.
Financial health can play a role in mental health over the holidays. Offer financial counseling and training programs that will help employees manage their finances year round.
A healthy holiday bonus can go a long way toward alleviating financial stress in this particularly expensive season.
Another option is to give the gift of extra paid time off over the holidays, for employee “mental health days.”
Have Different Kinds of Holiday Parties
A company party with alcoholic beverages can be fun, but it may not be the best environment for employees who have a problem with alcohol. Serve “mocktails,” non-alcoholic beer, or other non-alcoholic beverages. Another option is to have a different type of celebration altogether, for example, one that involves game playing, or one with events focused on wellness.
Promote a Culture of Wellness
Good mental health begins with caring for the body, mind, and spirit. Encourage your employees to exercise regularly and eat healthy foods. Proper nutrition is key when life gets stressful. Help motivate your team to eat well, watch the sugar and alcohol intake, and get up from their desks for some yoga stretches or a 10-minute walk on a regular basis.
Give Personal Attention to Employees Who Need It
Not everyone has somewhere to go or people to be with during the holiday season. You may have employees who have recently divorced or lost a loved one, or who live alone with no family nearby. Organize activities for employees who feel alone during the holidays. If any members of your work team are alone on Thanksgiving or Christmas, consider a FaceTime visit to bring a little holiday cheer into their lives.
Offering great benefits can help you attract and retain the best employees. See our experienced agent for assistance with your employee benefits package.