The holidays are a stressful time for all of us. There are a million things to do at home: wrap the gifts, decorate the tree, bake the cookies – the list seemingly goes on forever. On top of all of that, end of year work deadlines are approaching, and then there are the corporate holiday traditions that add to the long list of things to do. While cubicle decoration contests and cookie bake-offs are enjoyable holiday engagement activities, while the idea is to relieve stress, they often just pile more on. Instead, or maybe in addition to, consider adding engagement activities that don’t require extra effort from the employees, but rather celebrate their success for the year and ease their stress.
A Gift-Wrapping Party
Finding time to wrap all the gifts is a yearly struggle for many, including myself. It’s not unusual to find me up at one in the morning putting the last bows on the presents the night before I'm handing them out. Help your employees avoid this last minute rush by hosting a gift wrapping party at work. If your company is fiscally able to, consider supplying some of the wrapping paper and bows. However, if you’re not able to provide supplies, just allowing your employees an hour or two during the work day to focus on their home life to-do list is a great show of appreciation for all their work this year, and will allow them to be more focused on work when they need to be. Additionally, allowing the employees to gather together and even share their own supplies will help build camaraderie and fun among the team.
Who can worry about their own lunches when they have a holiday meal for fifteen to plan? Consider providing a catered lunch for employees as the holidays draw near. Furthermore, allow the employees the option to grab their lunch and go. If the end-of-year deadlines are starting to pile up, sitting around eating lunch with coworkers for an hour or two isn’t going to help relieve that stress. Allow the employees the option to relax and eat together if they wish, but if they would prefer to eat their lunch while they continue to work, that’s okay too. Either way, having to worry about buying or packing their lunch is no longer on their to-do list, and they’ll be appreciative.
An Early Dismissal
Coming from experience, I can say there is very little as exciting as getting a message from HR or corporate saying they appreciate all the hard work we’ve done over the past year and as a little reward, we can start our weekend early. When this has happened in the past, it’s nothing extreme. We usually get the email around three in the afternoon. But, having just a couple more hours to tackle the rest of the items on my holiday to-do list is such a wonderful gift from the company. Employees greatly appreciate an early dismissal during this stressful time of year.
A Hand-Written Note
Understandably, you may not have the resources to do the above, but in my opinion, one of the best ways to show appreciation to your employees and minimize some of their stress is through a hand-written thank you note. A nice note from the boss can take an immense load off your employees’ shoulders and can be as simple as, “Thanks for all you do! You’re doing great!”