What part of the festive season do you most look forward to?
Is it the presents and the food? Or maybe the sparkling lights and hot toddies? Or are you just looking forward to the time off work to relax and wind down after a long stressful run up to that last day before the holidays?
We get it! The festive holiday is often full of laughter, joy, relaxation, and plenty of mouth-watering food – but that doesn’t make the dark mornings and last-minute spike in your workload any easier. We talk a lot about supporting the wellbeing of your employees all year round, but it’s very common for stress levels to rise as we move into the winter months, so it’s even more important to be mindful and pay attention to how you, and your staff are feeling in the run up to the festive holiday.
A recent study revealed that 44% of workers say that winter has a negative effect on their mental wellbeing. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a recognised type of depression that is related to changes in seasons, and it often starts at the start of Autumn and continues into the winter months. It can be common in under 30-year-olds but can affect us all! It can affect us in different ways with symptoms including feeling less motivated, oversleeping, feeling lethargic and increased stress and anxiety.
If you really want to show your employees you care and encourage healthy habits at the same time, why not consider sending them a HappyCo. Wellness Box?
Packed full of products to indulge and relax the mind and body. Perfect all year round!
We often feel more stressed at work in the run up to Christmas because of the added pressure on our finances and our time, but now’s the time to put a stop to the so-called ‘winter blues’ and say “NO!” to seasonal stress!
Encouraging healthy habits now is so important for ending the year on a high so everyone can actually enjoy some time off. Holidays should be about relaxation, not just recovery!
Here’s our advice on how you can help your employees to adjust into winter with a better work-life balance and reduce that Christmas stress this holiday season.
Work Life Balance Tips for: Stress-Free Christmas
The concern: Health
We know that the month before the holiday season can bring a few more absences than usual but they’re not all down to overindulgence (aka a few too many mulled wines at the Christmas market – we’ve all been there!)
In a poll from 100 HR professionals, almost three quarters of them – that’s 71% - believed that December absences have big implications for their team. The clinical director of occupational health at Bupa, Jenny Leeser, has said,
“The winter months do see an increased rate of absence caused by seasonal illnesses, but the effect of the festive party season or the workplace cannot be ignored either. In any case, with widespread absence comes an increased workload, resulting in the potential for increased stress levels for the HR team, as we as the rest of the organisation.”
There’s a lot you can offer your staff throughout winter that could alleviate those winter health issues and strengthen your workforce during those busy periods. In the office, why not revamp the lights using daylight light bulbs. These have several benefits and could be the easiest and quickest improvement you could make to your space. They’ve been show by the Lighting Research Centre that they help with:
- colour perception and visual clarity
- reducing eye strain
- improved mood
- productivity and mental awareness
- can aid and treat SAD and various sleep disorders
Another great way to encourage healthy habits throughout winter months is to offer vitamin supplements or fruit deliveries. These could be great for remote teams as well as your employees in the office. Recommended vitamins and supplements to take throughout winter include vitamin D, vitamin C, iron, vitamin E and vitamin B. Supplements can help maintain a healthy immune system and fight the winter blues and offering them to your employees can really incentivise feelings of appreciation and recognition.
Hosting a free breakfast bar with loads of nutritious fruit and healthy enriching food is another great way to provide and encourage good wellbeing throughout winter. Or why not organise a sponsored walk to raise some money for charity? This is a great way to engage employees and you’ll feel great about being able to do something for a cause that aligns with your company values.
The concern: Work-life balance
It often gets more and more difficult to have a positive and healthy workplace balance in the run up to Christmas. There’s far more social activities, gatherings and parties thrown into the mix around the holiday season and it can often be stressful trying to fit them all into our diary’s for a great work-life balance. Even if you plan ahead and feel like you've gone it all organised, there's always something! In fact, in a survey about stress at work 34% of people answered that a poor work-life balance in the Christmas season as the biggest cause of stress. Christmas stress comes from every angle and it can definitely be overwhelming to get around it all and have the right balance!
I’m sure a lot of you have had to relocate your staff remotely and are still making changes to allow for a different way of working, but if you haven’t, offering more flexible working around December can really combat rising levels of stress. There’s already a lot of pressure at work to get through the workload, but some of your employees might be juggling childcare, Christmas shopping for their loved ones and friends, festive school events and shows and somehow managing time to relax themselves!
Offering staff the flexible working choice to start early in exchange for an early finish could allow them to attend school events, and a few days working from home would mean they could be available for deliveries. Even a longer lunch one day a week can give them the time to pop round the shops at a quieter, less stressful time. Let your employees feel more in control of their time and they'll also feel more engaged with the work they have to do!
The concern: Money
The average UK household spends an extra 29% more than they do normally in December. For most of us this means things can be a little bit tight around Christmas, and another big cause of stress around December comes from the worries surrounding money and paying for different added expenses. Even if you’re super organised and have managed to buy all your presents ahead of December (we applaud you!), there’s often still the occasional night out, party or even that sparkly dress you forgot to factor into your budget.
Christmas is often associated for being the perfect time to give your employees a monetary reward, whether that’s a cheque bonus or cash. Unfortunately, because they fall under a form of payment they would have to be included into their tax. We’ve shared how to give tax free gifts to employees before, but here’s some tips on how to take some of the finance-related stress away from your employees this festive season.
Gift cards, experience gifts and vouchers could be the perfect way to thank your employees for all their hard work this year and a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas with their loved ones. For example, tickets or vouchers for your employees and their families to go to the panto! Or discount codes for supermarkets to make that final Christmas food shop more stress-free.
There’s also the option of sending them their very own festive box from HappyCo. Our bespoke Christmas boxes are full of treats and gifts that they can share with the family or enjoy all to themselves (we wouldn’t judge either way). After all, so much of our money is spent on other people that it’s easy to forget to treat yourself at Christmas!
So there's our tips on how to encourage healthy wellbeing at Christmas for your staff and make sure no one feels stressed as a result of work. But what about you?! Are you also wondering
How Can I be stress-free at Christmas?
Well, here's 3 ways to improve the work/life balance of yourself too ❤️
1. Plan ahead - there's nothing worse than trying to organise everything at work AND running around trying to do your own Christmas tasks last minute. There's absolutely no harm in starting now!
2. Set work boundaries - if you have had a super busy day, make sure you switch off and the end of it! That means putting slack on mute, or taking time away from your laptop and investing in some serious time alone. Read a book or whatever makes you feel relaxed and happy.
3. Embrace the festivities! - Christmas can be a great time to show your employees some joy in the workplace, so try to embrace the feelings of excitement in the office and play some Christmas music or decorate the space with some fairy lights. We're sure it will put a smile on the faces around you if you're smiling too!