5 Ways to Help Employees Handle Holiday Stress
The holidays are a time to reconnect with family and celebrate the new year. But for many Americans, they also introduce a surprising amount of financial stress. In a survey from the American Psychiatric Association (APA), 31% of adults said they expected to feel more stressed during the upcoming holiday compared to previous years.
Increased holiday stress can leave employees feeling distracted, irritable and unengaged in their work. You may notice an increase in absenteeism and missed deadlines leading up to the holiday season. Luckily, there are ways for you, as an employer, to prepare your workforce to face the under-reported challenges of the holiday season — and keep your team running smoothly into the new year.
1. Acknowledge the Financial Reality of the Holidays.
It’s no secret that most Americans spend more money during the holidays. This time of year often sets people back on their financial journeys, especially due to new expenses that creep in.
In fact, according to Bank of America’s annual Workplace Benefits Report, financial wellness among employees is at an all-time low, with two-thirds of employees saying they believe the cost of living is outpacing growth in their salary. This often leads to neglecting retirement savings and relying more on debt to cover bills.
Financial wellness benefits can be the key to getting your team back on track toward their financial goals. According to the same Bank of America study, 43% of employers offering financial resources to support employee well-being have seen a reduction in employee stress. What’s more, 76% of employees look to their employer to provide financial education.
With budget tools, calculators, and other resources, access to the right financial tools can help your employees back to being their best financial selves in time for the new year.
2. Prioritize Schedule Flexibility For Your Team.
The ability to shift schedules is one of the most valuable benefits employers can provide during the holiday season. Flexibility allows different people to enjoy their respective customs and traditions without affecting their ability to get work done. Flexibility can also remove the stress around planning for the holidays.
In fact, according to Workable, 55.8% of US workers say the ease of integrating personal and professional priorities is a major benefit of having a flexible work schedule.
Flexibility allows your team to complete their work on their terms, while still managing their personal lives. Creating an environment where work-life balance is valued can help your team feel supported in the long run.
3. Encourage the Use of Vacation Days.
Taking time off during the holidays is important for everyone to recharge and spend quality time with their loved ones. However, your employees may still refrain from utilizing their allocated time off.
According to Pew Research, nearly half of workers say they’d worry about falling behind at work if they took more time off. However, this mentality can lead to increased levels of employee burnout, which has severe consequences for teams. In a Deloitte study on burnout, 91 percent of respondents said that having an unmanageable amount of stress or frustration negatively impacted the quality of their work. 83 percent of respondents said burnout from work could even negatively impact their relationships.
Burnout is also a key reason many employees end up moving on from their jobs. According to the same Deloitte survey, nearly half of millennials said they have left a job specifically because they felt burned out.
To support your employees, actively encourage them to take advantage of their vacation days and spend time with their loved ones. A healthy work-life balance can help you keep your best talent while allowing your team to take time off without feeling judged.
4. Reexamine Your Current Mental Health Services.
According to an APA survey, 38% of people said their stress increased during the holiday season, which can lead to physical illness, depression and anxiety. Employers should take proactive steps to support their staff’s mental health all year, but the holidays can be especially tough for some. Use this opportunity to promote any mental health resources and other benefits you offer, as they can be most important at the end of the year.
5. Survey Your Employees About Their Goals for the Upcoming Year.
For many teams, productivity can dip right before the holidays. A Robert Half survey of more than 2,700 U.S. workers found that 30% of respondents saw difficulty balancing work and holiday obligations. So, a proactive approach can get the new year started on the right track.
Supporting your employees might start discussing their long-term career goals to refocus and reenergize your workforce. The end of the year can also be a perfect opportunity to direct employees to reexamine their financial goals. Direct your team to your financial wellness benefits and plan for important financial milestones that may pop up throughout the year.
Engaging in a conversation about future aspirations is also a great way to connect with your team and shift their thinking past everyday tasks. These conversations can be great opportunities to set achievable goals and prepare for the new year together.
How U.S. Legal Services Can Help
U.S. Legal Services has partnered with Best Money Moves, an award-winning financial wellness platform, to connect workers with the financial guidance they need. This confidential platform provides unbiased guidance for life’s financial milestones, to help employees make smarter decisions about their money.
With U.S. Legal Services and Best Money Moves, you can access online tools and articles at any time, including budgeting tools, articles to guide you in financial decision-making, links to numerous consumer resources, online financial calculators, money management tests and quizzes, financial videos and more.
To learn more about how group legal insurance benefits can help your team, contact us online or call (800) 356-LAWS for a quote.