Reducing employee stress during the festive season

During this time of year, many employees enter into the periodic cycle of counting down to the eagerly awaited Christmas break.

 

It’s also during this time that organisations start to increase workloads in order to ensure projects are completed in anticipation for the end of the year.

 

Late nights and early mornings become a perpetual routine, where one day often blends into another, resulting in employees becoming detached from their work. During this period, it’s easy for employers and their management teams to overlook the pressure and stress employees face in attempting to achieve the successful completion of current projects, avoiding overspill into the New Year. But how can employers look to manage the coming weeks, to prevent a lull in workplace wellbeing due to impending deadlines? Following the three steps below should help guide you through to a successful festive season:

 

1. Acknowledgement

Acceptance that stress is an impeding factor in your organisation is the first step to improving the operational efficiency and team morale within your employees. Opting for the easier route of brushing issues aside will only further negatively affect the wellbeing of your team.

 

Stress can grow over long periods of time, only surfacing when the pressure becomes too much for the employees in question, as they become physically ill or emotionally incapable of performing at a consistent level. While maintaining your awareness of workplace stress is a year-round task, employers should acknowledge that there are key times of the year when stress levels will be at their highest, with the lead up to Christmas being one of them.

 

2. Discover the source of the stress

It might not be the case that an employee’s workload is the root cause of the problem. Could they be struggling with co-worker tensions or disagreements? Do they feel out of the loop and isolated within the workplace? Or is the stress due to their life outside of work? Discovering the source is the only way to find a possible resolution to the problem. Dependent on the size of your organisation and your daily level of activity, this may not always be an easy task, but making the time to get to the root of the issue now, will pay off in the long run.

 

Employers and their management teams should continuously engage with and monitor their workforce. Leading from the top will provide you with first-hand knowledge of how your employees operate, gaining insight into team dynamics, including who appears to be excelling and who may be struggling to keep up. This should allow you to make the necessary arrangements to devise an appropriate plan of action.

 

3. Time for a solution

Stress affects us all in different ways, so finding a method to effectively tackle stress in the workplace may differ dependent on the employee. First and foremost, employers should refer employees to the Health Assured Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), which at its core provides an outlet for employees to seek advice and reassurance. The service includes a free and confidential helpline for individuals, which allows them to discuss any issues they are experiencing in a comfortable and safe environment, with fully trained professionals.

 

If the cause of stress is employee workload, management should look at ensuring that projects are assigned equally amongst staff, whilst making team members feel comfortable in coming forward if they are having difficulties with completing a task. When assigning projects, it is important to look at individual strengths, leaving less room for error and allowing employees to utilise their skill set more effectively.

 

Finally, encourage employees to communicate with each other. This serves two purposes. Firstly, it enables colleagues to discuss any current projects, helping to find the best way of achieving a favourable end result, whilst also addressing any issues they are facing and how they could possibly solve them. Secondly, It provides a more sociable and enjoyable atmosphere at work, which prevents the workplace from becoming stilted and uninspiring, whilst ultimately helping to deter stress levels from rising.

 

 

If you would like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured on:

0844 892 2493

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