Getting Your Team Through the Holiday Season

Relieving Holiday-Induced Stress

© iStockphoto
beardean

More demanding workloads can be a source of stress during the holiday season.

The holiday season is often the happiest time of the year. We spend time with family, we give gifts to the people we love, and we appreciate the many good things in our lives.

However, we can also experience a lot of stress during the holiday season, especially at work. Deadlines are often tight because of shifting schedules, customers and workloads can be more demanding, and there may be pressure to increase performance to meet end-of-year business goals. Family demands and travel can also take a toll.

Put simply, people have more to do during the holidays than at any other time of year. This means that your team's focus, engagement, and productivity can diminish as the year's end approaches.

The good news is that there are many things that you can do to alleviate the stress your team members experience during the holidays. In this article, we'll look at what you can do to help your people cope.

Common Problems

While most people enjoy love, happiness, and peace during the holidays, people can experience problems as well. For instance, a 2006 survey found that:

  • 61 percent of people reported being more stressed during the holiday season.
  • 68 percent said that they felt more tired.
  • 52 percent felt more irritable.
  • 67 percent reported that lack of time was a source of stress for them.
  • 47 percent said that the pressure of giving and receiving gifts was a major source of stress.

In another survey, 68 percent of workers reported that managing their workload (to be able to take time off) was a significant source of stress.

What happens in your own organization during the holiday season? Possible sources of stress might include the following:

  • Reduced staff numbers due to vacations and absenteeism.
  • Increased or decreased workload. (The holiday season can be the busiest time of year, for retail businesses in particular.)
  • Shorter deadlines, due to vacations or end-of-year business goals.
  • Lower morale and engagement. (This is especially true if some team members have to work during the holidays.)
  • Changes in team dynamics .

All of this can make the holiday season feel like a race to the finish line.

Many people also experience the "post-holiday blues," or even depression once the celebrations are finished. This can be due to unmet expectations, increased loneliness when friends and family go back home, or guilt, due to overindulgence.

Strategies to Assist Your Team

Do the following to reduce the stress your people experience in the run up to, and during, the holiday season...

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