Cozying up in Christmas sweaters with pumpkin-flavored eggnog. Spinning the dreidel with your treasured loved ones. Preparing Thanksgiving feast to eat until your heart’s content (and your stomach is overflowing and you can’t possibly have one more bite—am I right, or am I right?).
While the holidays are magical—no matter what religion you practice or whichever holidays you celebrate—there’s one unavoidable caveat everyone faces: The holiday season is stressful.
Most importantly, holiday season stress hurts both employees and employers alike.
What Employees Are Facing
Employees are agonizing over not knowing if they’re going to receive the PTO they desperately want to spend the holidays with their families. Many workers are experiencing feelings of anxiety and depression (which, not surprisingly, is a common occurrence during the holiday season due to high expectations or lack of community). They’re overworked, stressed, and their bank accounts are dwindling from trying to keep up with the bills yet still be able to afford holiday gifts.
What Employers Are Facing
Businesses are trying to meet year-end sales targets. Retailers are trying to keep up with holiday madness. Budgets are shot towards holiday season and the ability to start new projects or offer new benefits to help employees is scantily found. Not to mention, employers have to face the ever-dependable drop in productivity from employee holiday stress—one study found that employee activity levels even dropped 52% between mid-December and the New Year.
However, finding morale-boosting ways to offset holiday stress and lift employee spirits to improve engagement, productivity, and retention is a surefire way to keep up profitability.
Here are 4 simple ways to introduce an improved company culture this holiday season.
Show Appreciation Every Chance You Get
No one ever minds being shown a little appreciation. In fact, positive social interactions in the workplace have actually shown to improve employee health (i.e. lowering heart rate and blood pressure, strengthening immune system). And when it comes to holiday season, showing your employees you appreciate their efforts will inevitably create higher engagement and profit. Your employees, whether it’s said aloud or not, sacrifice for your business during the holiday season—working overtime, staying during abnormal hours, and taking on greater responsibility. So, order lunch in from a restaurant nearby for your employees. Send out thank you letters. Congratulate the team on a job well done when they successfully finish a really busy day. When employees feel truly appreciated during the holiday season, they feel inclined to do their best.
Offer Flexible Work Hours And Time-Off
Giving your team the ability to spend time with their families, run errands, or take their desired holidays off means the world to employees. Moreover, the anxiety that comes with having to take time off when it isn’t accepted or understood by management creates fear-driven workers. They’ll feel skittish if they feel they’re looked down upon and this will hurt productivity levels. Also, if you’re in an industry that allows remote work, take this opportunity to let them work from home if they need to. If that’s not an option, try offering a flexible work schedule. A study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that employees who are offered flexible work schedules got more sleep at a higher quality, had higher energy levels, and even allowed ill employees to better care for their health and return to work more quickly than if on-site.
Bring The Festivities Into The Workplace
Who doesn’t love a holiday party? Bringing the festivities into the workplace—such as having a potluck where employees bring in food, having a gift exchange, or throwing an ugly sweater party—can do wonders for workplace morale. This will also bring warmth into the hearts of employees who don’t have families or a community to celebrate the holiday season with. Even if it may seem easier to do so, ignoring the fact that it’s holiday season isn’t going to help your employees. When your team feels like a family during the holidays it brings conclusivity and lifted spirits into the workplace which will ultimately increase engagement and retention. Bring turkey and casseroles to work on Thanksgiving. Candy corn on Halloween. Have fun with it!
Offer A Benefit Which Relieves Holiday Financial Stress
Let’s face it: The biggest stressor for most American workers during the holidays is finances.
A survey conducted on 1,000 Americans across all income levels showcases this clearly:
- 45% of Americans would prefer to skip Christmas due to financial stress
- Around 45% don’t expect to have enough money set aside for holiday expenses
- 54% plan on spending $500 or less on holiday expenses and gifts
- Some 41% plan on using layaway programs to purchase holiday gifts
- Around two-thirds are researching outside options to help ease financial stress
When it comes to “outside options” (think payday loans, layaway programs or other predatory financial services), this ends up in a vicious cycle of borrowing, paying 300-400% interest rates on the amount borrowed, then needing to borrow even more money to settle the original debt.
In short, this cycle isn’t sustainable—and isn’t anywhere close to conducive to employee or employer success. However, what you can do is offer a financial wellness benefit to your employees which addresses their stressors at the root cause this holiday season. Fortunately, the PayActiv program offers a holistic financial solution which helps reduce employee financial stress and provides a solution for your employees’ small-dollar needs year-round. Moreover, PayActiv empowers your employees with dignity, security, and savings at zero setup or recurring cost to your business. For once, low end-of-the-year budgets aren’t a problem if you’re interested in offering your team a new productivity-boosting employee benefit this year.
Easily implement these 4 things in your company to boost employee spirit and productivity this holiday season to offset financial and holiday stress. Show your appreciation for your employees often. Give your employees extra flexibility. Begin celebrating and embracing the holiday spirit in your company with parties and gift exchanges to boost morale. Most importantly, help ease your team’s, and America’s, biggest and most pressing problem faced during the holiday season—financial stress. Improve employee financial wellness today with PayActiv.