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Christmas is often known as the ‘most wonderful time of the year’, but for many of the UK and Irish workforce, the festive season can produce high levels of stress, anxiety and financial worry.
While there are many contributing factors that employers cannot assist with, for example, family squabbles over Christmas dinner, there are a few ways in which you can help boost employee wellbeing over the festive season.
After all, the latest figures show that mental illnesses cost the UK and Irish economy £94 billion and €8.2 billion a year respectively. So it’s now more important than ever to support your workforces’ wellbeing and in turn, protect your organisation from lower retention levels, higher absence rates and significant decreases in productivity.
Help engage employees and boost their morale by embracing Christmas festivities and incorporating them into the workplace. This could include arranging a Christmas party for your team, setting up a Christmas tree, embracing Christmas jumper day or simply hanging decorations around the workplace.
Research has shown that volunteering can improve employee wellbeing, self-esteem, life satisfaction and reduce symptoms of depression.
This festive season, plan an afternoon away from the workplace and get your team involved in a local charity. Not only will this benefit your workplace relationships, it will do wonders for your organisation’s reputation as well.
The Christmas period can be a stressful time for employees. Balancing work schedules with festive stressors such as finding reliable childcare, buying/wrapping presents and family commitments can cause a negative impact on their wellbeing and work performance. One way to negate these risks is by offering flexible working.
Research from Seareach has found that 75% of employees want to work flexible hours during the festive season and in fact, a further 34% of employees would prefer flexible hours over a pay rise, according to an Investors in People survey.
Christmas is a season known for overindulgence, with many of your team likely to be consuming more than their norm of food and alcohol, while time pressures remove their focus from their hobbies, exercise and routine.
Consider offering healthy alternatives to festive treats such as fruit, nuts, oatmeal cookies and flavoured teas. You could promote useful information such as ‘know your units’ via posters around the workplace or a blog post on your intranet.
Make sure that you prioritise projects and work schedules in order to address what tasks need to be completed before the Christmas break and which projects can be tasked for the New Year. It‘s important not to be overly ambitious in trying to get too many projects completed, as not only can it result in employee burnout, but it could also lead to a sub-standard finished product, reflecting poorly on your organisation’s reputation.
If managed proactively, the festive season can be a hugely enjoyable and rewarding time of year for your employees. By alleviating undue pressure, addressing stress triggers and communicating openly about mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, you will go towards fulfilling your duty of care to your team, as well as protect your organisation from high absence rates and drops in productivity.
If you would like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured on:
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