Christmas can often be anything but merry for many people, with the festive period being one of the most stressful times of the year. So, how can you help your employees manage their Christmas stress?

At University Centre Quayside (UCQ), we know how important it is to manage employees’ stress throughout the year, and especially over the festive period. We have placed a great deal of emphasis this past year largely on health and wellbeing in our offices, ensuring our employees are as happy and relaxed as they can be, as this can lead to greater productivity. These are some of our top tips to help employees manage their stress levels over the Christmas period;

Insure workloads are not overwhelming

Typically, employees feel the pressure to complete their work before they leave the office for Christmas. So make sure the work you give them in the run up to the festive break reflects the amount of time they have left to complete it. Also explain which work employees can leave until after Christmas, to help ease the pressure if necessary.

Consider mental health issues

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be common over the winter period. Not only does our physical health typically decline with the cold weather, mental health issues such as anxiety and depression can be prevalent. It has been scientifically proven that due to lack of exposure to sunlight during winter, people have lower serotonin levels in the brain, leading to feelings of tiredness, lack of motivation and lower concentration levels. The best way to combat this is to encourage employees to go out for lunch, stretch their legs and get a bit of fresh air.

Create an enjoyable atmosphere

Try and incorporate the Christmas spirit into the workplace. One of the best perks a business can offer employees over the festive period is a Christmas party. This is then followed by a Christmas tree and decorations. Giving the office or workspace a more festive feel will help lift employees’ moods, and therefore promote a better working atmosphere.

Check in on employees

As a manager, the ideal relationship with employees is for them to speak to you about any problems. Make sure you check on them over the festive period. This helps to ensure they are not struggling with the workload, or have issues within or outside the office. Knowing the manager is readily available to discuss their problems could help motivate employees to work more effectively.

Regroup, rethink and reassign

Even when the Christmas period is over, the stress may continue. It is important to take the stress away from the past year. Having a few meetings to regroup your employees is a great way to get jobs assigned to the correct person. Thinking about the work for January and focusing everyone is key. You can achieve this through a constructive meeting or brainstorm. Setting clear goals is a great technique to get the team back on track after time away from the office.

Read our guides on ‘setting SMART objectives’ to learn more –  http://ucq.ac.uk/setting-smart-objectives/.

Another guide that may be useful is ‘motivating your team’ – http://ucq.ac.uk/1740-2/.

For more information about the UCQ CMDA, please visit our website here – http://ucq.ac.uk/chartered-manager-degree-apprenticeship/.