The holiday season is meant to be all things merry and bright, but this time of the year can also be rife with hardships for your hardworking employees.

Employees’ stress levels can rise even higher during the holidays. A survey by Accountemps found that over a third (35%) of workers reported feeling more stressed during the holiday season. The biggest sources of stress include balancing work duties with holiday events (32%), taking time off and coming back to a heavy workload (23%), and having fewer coworkers to take on some of the duties (18%).

There are many ways in which employers can help their employees alleviate their stress and keep their spirits up during the hecticness of the holidays. Here’s how to support your people throughout the season.

Provide recommendations for time management

Between holiday activities and year-end crunches, it can be challenging to keep up with one’s growing list of tasks. People managers can help their employees with managing their time around their heavy workloads by providing various recommendations. Encourage your people to create measurable goals around their work objectives. Being able to check off and keep track of their accomplishments can provide a high sense of motivation.

Keep your people focused on working towards their team’s year-end projects and milestones by allowing them to stay focused on just those core tasks and deadlines. Any non-essential meetings or projects unrelated to your company’s year end goals can be moved into the beginning of the new year, eliminating any blockers and allowing employees to approach new goals with a fresh start in the next quarter.

Offer work schedule flexibility

Time is truly of the essence during the holiday. People managers can help reduce employee stress by giving them some space in their day to take care of their holiday errands and obligations. This can be offered through extended breaks during the weeks leading up to the holidays. Additionally, being able to leave work early is a great benefit as Christmas approaches. A shorter working day lets employees complete their holiday preparations and spend more time with their loved ones. If it’s workable for your business, try to provide this perk for your staff. You could create a schedule throughout December, allowing you to plan for a few employees taking early finishes each day. On the day before the stat holidays of Christmas and New Year’s Day, consider closing up the office early so that your people can get to their festivities and home to their families sooner. Your employees will appreciate the flexibility offered for their work-life balance and your consideration of the value of their time.

Emphasize the importance of workplace wellness

Workplace wellness programs should always emphasize the importance of physical activity and healthy eating year-round. That said, it will be worthwhile to be extra vigilant with your wellness initiatives during the holiday season. When healthy behaviours are often temporarily placed on hold and replaced by over-indulgent eating and drinking habits, those extra reminders can help your people remember to slow down and care for their well-being.

Celebrate the holiday spirit by giving back

Beyond the tried and true traditions of holiday potlucks and gift exchanges, engage your employees on a deeper level by tapping into the essence of the holiday spirit. With it being the season of giving, your people will appreciate opportunities to give back and volunteer together as a team. There are many ways to pay it forward, including volunteering a half day for a worthy cause, offering charitable donation matching, and organizing a Christmas hamper for those in need in your community.

These initiatives and ideas to help your employees feel engaged and energized during the most busy time of the year can accomplish wonders in terms of making your people feel motivated, appreciated, and supported this holiday and beyond.

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