8 Creative Solutions to Keep Employee Engagement Up During the Holidays

Create a Stress-free Environment During the Holidays

Every year we touch on this topic because we believe itís incredibly important. The holidays, though Hallmark might say otherwise, are an incredibly stressful time for people. A study from the American Psychological Association reports that during the holidays, people feel an increase in stress, fatigue, irritability, and even loneliness. And the demographics that feel the crunch most are women and lower-middle income households.

Take a look at your workplace demographics, and that might be the majority of your workforce.

How can an organization, then, find ways to celebrate the holidays while keeping holiday stress at a minimum at the office?

Here are 8 tips to keep employees engaged, happy, and maybe even minimize stress during the holidays.

1. Be inclusive: Not everyone celebrates the same things the same way. Before deciding to do a decoration contest or go caroling, talk to your wellness committee and have them learn about employees and their different faiths. Create a holiday celebration that includes all faiths and practices. And allow employees to not participate. Holidays arenít for everyone.

2. Get flexible: Now is the time of year many schools put on holiday concerts, winter festivals, bazaars and more. Your employees have families and need to be present during these moments. Relax your clock-in/clock-out policy. Allow parents to manage their schedules. Be flexible so parents have the chance to share in their childrenís lives. Work-life balance is critical during the holidays.

3. Wrap things up: Time is a top problem of employees during the holidays. So, why not set up a Christmas wrapping table, providing paper, bows, gift bags, and tape? It might be a nice place for employees to gather during a short break.

4. Put it in the cart: Be more flexible, allowing employees time to shop online. Some employees donít have the time, or energy, to face the crowds after work or on the weekends. Giving employees the chance to shop online for gifts is a great way to alleviate some holiday stress.

5. Keep things simple: Money is a top concern for employees. Secret Santa and holiday gift exchanges at work can add to both the time and money stress employees might feel. So, forego the secret gift exchanges for an afternoon egg nog, apple cider break with fruit trays and holiday snacks provided by the company. Or, if employees choose, they can do a fun cookie exchange or bring in favorite holiday food to share. Your teams will get a chance to connect and invest the time in each other, face-to-face, instead of dealing with stores to buy a gift.

6. Focus on health: Absenteeism soars during the holidays. The holidays are smack in the middle of flu season. Add to the fact the holidays are a time most people eat less healthy and stop exercising. So, instead of having a cookie tray, provide healthy snacks Ė fruits, yogurts, green tea and more. Invite office teams to sign up for a jingle jog or a snowshoeing outing. Offer yoga classes during lunchtime. Provide spaces where employees can find peace. This is just what the doctor ordered!

7. Giving feels good: If you have a CSR program, now would be a great time of year to boost participation in it. Otherwise, consider hosting a food, toy, or book drive, to donate to local charities. Creating a year-round culture of giving is a way for employees to feel proud of their organization.

8. Keep the holiday party simple: Though it sounds wonderful to throw an elegant holiday party, this could add to the financial stress people may already be feeling. Some will have to buy a new dress, new shirt, get their hair and nails done. All of this can make them feel the crunch. So, change it up. Do the holiday party in-house, after hours. Have it catered by a local business. Have a crafts table and invite story tellers for children, to make it a family event. Or, host a holiday brunch on the weekend. Casual. This saves people the stress of driving at night on icy roads. With the money saved, give each employee a gift certificate to a grocery store or favorite restaurant. There are many ways to celebrate.

The end of the year means end-of-the-year reports, wrapping up programs, and dealing with the last-minute needs of an organization at work. Add holiday stress, and itís no wonder people get sick and overwhelmed. By providing practical, creative solutions to holiday stress at the workplace, youíre offering a place for employees to feel good and get even more done.

CustomInsight wishes everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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