Ricochet News

Steps to reduce holiday-induced stress

By The Office Coach - Dec 2, 2016
Steps to reduce holiday-induced stress

The sprint to the end of the year and the extended holidays that many have worked towards all year can be a very stressful time. There are increased work and family demands and it all takes its toll. With the increased distractions of year end functions and holiday planning, your staff engagement levels and productivity are sure to drop.

If you are a manager of people, now is the time to dig deep and do what you can to alleviate these pressures and elevate productivity.

Take a hard line

First and foremost, it is worth reminding your staff that they are not yet at the finish line for 2016. There is still work to be done and much of that will impact your collective success in 2017. Find ways to illustrate the impact of reduced efforts now, whether it be in production or sales numbers, customer satisfaction or the knock-on effect in 2017.

Keep focused on outcomes and not “face time”; encourage your staff to get specified tasks or projects done to the best of their ability. If it matters in your business, give your staff a pep talk to boost their energy levels for as long as is necessary.

For example, if your business shuts down on December 15, then they only need to give their best for another 13 days. That is only 1% of their working year; totally achievable and totally expected!

Boost morale

A personalised show of gratitude will also serve you well now; express specific examples of how individuals have made a positive impact this year and say a heartfelt “thank you” for their efforts.

You may even give ad hoc rewards for exceptional efforts now. For example, you could shorten a working day by an hour so that a staff member can get some year-end shopping done when the malls are quieter. It does not cost you anything but can be a huge motivator to your staff.

Beware elaborate year-end parties, especially if bonuses are limited or non-existent. There are always people who perceive these as a waste of money and, if asked, would opt to take cash-in-hand instead. It may be more effective to have a return-to-work party early in 2017. A charity or community-based event at year-end may better boost the morale of your staff.

For example, you could host a children’s party or braai for the elderly. Spreading festive cheer can have a very positive effect on staff spirits.

Boost energy levels

Fatigue is almost a given at this time of year but it is something that you can reduce by doing things a little differently around the workplace. Introduce something unexpected. For example, conduct meetings under a tree outside instead of around the usual table, get everybody together for an impromptu gathering and have your staff play a 5-minute game or do 20 jumping jacks or rearrange the desks in the office so that everyone has a different view of their surroundings. 

A subtle shift in workplace dynamics can really boost energy levels.

Minimise Distractions

With limited energy, your staff need to manage their environments so that they do not become distracted. Encourage them to turn off their phones, close their office doors, and restrict their time spent on emails and social media. Give them permission to say “no” to meetings that are unnecessary or where their input is not critical.

All these things will allow your staff to spend their limited energy on their most important outcomes.

Tackle the realities of increased stress and fatigue; your bottom line will thank you for it.