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How to Maintain Employee Engagement through a Stressful Holiday Season

December 7, 2017

Employee Engagement through the holidays

The Holidays are meant for celebrating with your friends and family. They’re meant for lots of fun and laughs and the occasional overeating. However, the holiday season can also cause a lot of stress for your employees. One study conducted by Accenture found that 66% of respondents reported additional work stress during the holidays. During this time, they are facing multiple stressors from different facets of life. At work, they’re dealing with short timelines and year-end deadlines. At home, they are swiftly buying and wrapping gifts, while also anxiously preparing for their in-laws to visit. Oh, and let’s not forget that the holiday and flu seasons seem to correspond with one another. Adding all these stressors together leads to the perfect formula for overly stressed and/or burnt out employees.

However, as an employer, there are steps that your company can take to reduce the holiday stress and maintain employee engagement:

  • Be Flexible. 

    Employees have gifts to buy and errands to run. Giving them the opportunity to work flexible hours allows them to allocate their time more efficiently and helps them complete both their work and their home to-do list.

  • Allow Remote Workdays. 

    Commutes are no fun during a normal time of year, but during the holidays, traffic is even worse. Consider allowing employees to work remotely on some days during the holidays to save the time spent on getting to and from work. This could give the employees one to two hours back in their day.

  • Lighten the Dress Code. 

    Who doesn’t love a good ugly holiday sweater party? They’re fun and they’re comfy. Allowing employees to dress more casually during the holidays can make them feel more relaxed and reduce some of the stress they are feeling.

  • Show Your Appreciation. 

    Sometime, when things are starting to feel overwhelming it only takes a few words of encouragement to help push you through. Show your employees that you value them, and that the work they are doing matters. This can be done through a nice hand-written card or even giving them a small gift.

  • Consider Creating a Floating Holiday.

    A floating holiday allows an employee to take a day off to celebrate a religious holiday that may not correspond with the company’s holidays. For example, Kwanzaa. This will allow employees to honor their cultural and religious traditions without having to take vacation or PTO time. By offering floating holidays, you are honoring the needs of diverse employees.

The holidays can be stressful at home and at work. But there are small and simple things that organizations can do to make their employees lives easier during this time. Being open and flexible with your employees’ needs and showing your appreciation for their continued hard work and dedication can go a long way.

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Cassandra Walter Cassandra Walter is a Consulting Associate located at PSI's Pittsburgh office. She holds a master's degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology. She works with clients across many different industries, including manufacturing, retail, customer service, and healthcare. Her areas of expertise include providing training and support for PSI’s applicant tracking system, as well as assisting clients with requests and questions regarding tools and processes.