Holidays and stress – really? But yes – these truly can become a stressful period, manifesting at work in less-than-ideal ways. Some self-care and a considerate employer can go a long way.
Ah, the holidays – truly a magical time of the year! Dazzling light displays cloak the neighborhood, Santa Claus drops in with a merry ol’ “Ho ho ho” and bears gifts, and relatives and friends gather to have a great time together and indulge in sweet treats. At the workplace, festive streamers hang off the walls, paper cutouts dangle from fluorescent lights, and even the good old workstation looks cheery with some bright decorations.
However, the holiday season does come with its fair share of stress and anxiety. There is so much to address!
Bah – that’s life!
Well, the numbers do not lie. And there are a lot of numbers!
But why are holidays so stressful?
More than any other time of the year, the holiday season sees the highest levels of anxiety, sadness, and depression. At the workplace, these feelings mark their presence with lower performance, higher stress, and more conflict.
There are a number of reasons for this:
This must be causing losses to companies!
Most definitely. A 2018 analysis by Peakon of more than 15,000 employees across the US, the UK, the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland) and Germany revealed that:
According to Dr. Chris Rowley, Professor Emeritus at the University of London Cass Business School,
But how will I get to know my people are experiencing such stress?
Not many are going to come forward and explicitly state that they are feeling stressed. It is a good idea to look out for key indicators of higher-than-normal holiday stress or anxiety among employees. The following are red flags to watch out for:
There has to be a way to fix this…
There is, so do not fret too much. On a personal level,
As an employer, the following actions can be taken:
Is there anything for company leaders to do?
Of course. Creating an emotionally safe work environment is among the key responsibilities of a leader. Employees who feel safe, develop emotional connections with their co-workers and the organization. Other than the fact that such an environment is inherently right to have, it also leads to significantly higher engagement, productivity, and revenue. And above all else, be available to listen, as often, a harried employee is looking for nothing but a sincere, willing, and patient ear.
Feeling stressed when the holidays are upon you is but natural. As if day-to-day work and other responsibilities were not enough, there is now another task to do. Give yourself a break on a personal level, and as an employer, do what it takes to up the happiness index, as a happy employee is a key to business success!