Archive for December, 2008

Holiday Wellness

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

December rings in the holiday season with socializing, upcoming vacations, purchasing gifts, entertaining, and a multitude of other activities.  In the workplace, year end triggers can include finishing off annual projects often within tight timelines; rushing to finalize actions on annual performance plans; and meeting customer expectations.

Given the multitude of activities bundled into one month, stresses add up as employees try to balance work, family, social gatherings, and importantly, finances.  There’s too much to do in 31 days. Your star employees may also be feeling the pressure, with high standards and an overflowing calendar. High stress can lead to illness, absences, edginess, and low productivity. 

Your support can take many forms; assess what will meet the needs of your employees and workplace. Find out what would benefit them and work in partnership for ideas and to prioritize solutions. Here are some ideas that speak to emotional, mental and physical wellbeing:

  • Review year end employee expectations – are they realistic – does it all have to be done by year end? If the answer is yes, take the pressure off where you can. Prioritize and reschedule the ‘not important’ items. Reduce meetings unless they’re absolutely critical.  Have managers be attentive to signs of employee stress and put the topic on your management meeting agendas.
  • Have a yoga instructor do a lunchtime session on ‘chair yoga’, stretches staff can do at their desk during the day.  Deep breathing, especially diaphragmatic breathing, is known to reduce anxiety. 
  • Healthy eating – while a shortbread or two are yummy, have a dietitian or nutritionist speak about healthy eating choices during the season. Consider healthy food choices for employee gatherings and social events.
  • Have a personal trainer speak and provide some motivation and ideas. Busy calendars can alter regular routines and some support may keep it as a priority.
  • Bring in a psychologist for a lunchtime session on self-care, stress management, sleep, and managing emotions and relationships that may be challenging during the season.

Consider This

Employee health and wellbeing builds productivity, collaborative teamwork, employee satisfaction, health, and retention.  Ensure your people practices have a core philosophy of attending to employee wellbeing.