5 Ways to Stress-Proof Your Office Over the Holidays

There are plenty of reasons to get stressed out during the holiday season: the gifts you haven’t bought, the whirlwind of social engagements, visits with family, and of course, mounting tensions at the office. It can be challenging to accomplish anything when team members are out more often than they’re in—whether taking vacation days or calling in sick. On top of that, the seasonal blahs can strike for no apparent reason.

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Have a little fun at the office this December. (Photo from Team PhysEmp’s archives.)

Stress is inconvenient, but it has concerning implications. Consider this quote from a WebMD article:

“Stress doesn’t only make us feel awful emotionally,” says Jay Winner, MD, author of Take the Stress Out of Your Life and director of the Stress Management Program for Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, Calif. “It can also exacerbate just about any health condition you can think of.”

A compelling reason to prevent and manage stress levels around the office this December. But fear not. Here are a few suggestions for keeping spirits bright at your workplace during the holiday season.

1. Adjust Your Team’s Deadlines

Let’s face it: it can be hard to maintain focus in the office in the face of so many parties and celebrations. For that reason, it really is better to schedule those big end-of-year deadlines for November and early December, rather than smack in the middle of the holidays. Your team has worked hard this year! You can cut them some slack in December by scheduling deadlines earlier (or pushing them into the new year, if possible). You’ll save yourself the stress of micromanaging and cracking the whip, too.

2. Get Holiday Schedules Ahead of Time

If at all possible, ask your team to book their vacation time well in advance, rather than at the last minute. This will help ensure your employees don’t have those stressful meltdowns that can arise from trying to complete projects with missing (and crucial) team members.

3. Show Appreciation for Staff

Have your employees or colleagues knocked it out of the park this year? Let them know their efforts are appreciated. The end of year is an ideal time to be liberal with praise, and even rewards, for employee excellence. A recent article in Entrepreneur shows that rewarding employees for a job well done really pays off. A little goes a long way towards making employees feel appreciated. It’s good for employee motivation and morale, and it also helps you in the long run with retention, recruiting, and your company reputation. If nothing else, host an Ugly Sweater Day and hand out some awards!

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DeAnna and Theresa really took the (fruit) cake at last year’s Holiday Office Party. Here they are claiming their Ugly Sweater Awards. All in good fun!

4. Put Up Some Decorations

C’mon, don’t be a Scrooge! Whatever your religious or cultural affiliation, or that of your staff, you can only gain from putting up a few decorations and making the office more festive. Happy employees tend to be productive employees. Cheerful touches around the office can help lighten the mood during a hectic season.

“Getting into the holiday spirit can be easy and simple—a couple strands of white lights, a few holiday treats in the break room, a low-key company party with Secret Santas or White Elephant gifts,” says PhysEmp Marketing Assistant (our resident party planner).

We’re looking forward to seeing what Melinda and Elizabeth come up with for our office this year!

5. Be Easy on Employees—and Yourself

The holidays are a great time to break projects into “bite-sized” tasks, both for yourself and your employees, so none of you feel overwhelmed. Chances are, you might miss a few targets at this time of year—but try to be forgiving. Everyone has worked hard all year! Try to keep the big picture in mind rather than dwelling on a few small slip-ups. Keep this advice in mind personally as well as professionally.

We hope you found those suggestions helpful! Please feel free to share your own tips for staying stress-free at the office by leaving a comment below.

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