The holiday season is upon us and for employers, employee wellness should matter. “The most wonderful time of the year” comes with a lot of pressure, stress, and expectations for your employees, both in their work and personal lives. Between end-of-year tasks at work and planning family gatherings at home, it is all too easy to get burnt out.
Encouraging your employees to focus on their health and wellness shows them that you appreciate them and see them as individuals. Additionally, it will also help you increase talent retention and productivity.
How can your company help your employees navigate the end-of-year rush? This article will discuss ten ways to promote employee wellness during the holidays.
1. Manage Expectations and Priorities
Most employees are prone to burnout during the holidays because of the stress. Managers and human resources need to discuss balancing expectations and setting priorities. Setting clear guidelines with your employees on what is a “must-have” vs. “nice-to-have” allows them to focus on the most urgent tasks. In planning for the new year, set realistic deadlines and allow for plenty of buffer for any last-minute tasks that may arise.
2. Show Appreciation
Management and human resources can work together to foster a more relaxing and happy work environment. Acknowledge how stressful this time of the year is and show your employees they are valued through:
- Small yet thoughtful gifts (such as gift cards or a box of chocolates).
- Flexible working hours policy. This allows them to balance their work responsibilities with the demands at home.
- Organizing social events. Activities such as happy hours, coffee breaks, exercise sessions, or trivia nights can go a long way toward boosting employee morale.
3. Set Up a Flexible Work Policy
There are never enough hours for work, grocery and gift shopping, medical appointments, or family gatherings. A flexible schedule will make your employees feel less overwhelmed by the professional and personal tasks they have to accomplish.
This can be achieved by setting up a company-wide policy that includes:
- Remote work.
- Flexible working hours
- Mental health days.
Be mindful, however, that in the case of remote work, it can often lead to a slippery slope of work/life imbalance. As we learned during the pandemic, remote work can often lead to overwork because there are no defined time constraints. The downside of constant communication is that it becomes nearly impossible to unplug. Make sure to discuss clear boundaries between work hours and personal time.
4. Encourage Breaks Throughout the Day
Working eight straight hours can be exhausting and does not necessarily increase productivity. Support your employees in taking breaks throughout the day to help them relieve stress and recharge by:
- Encouraging them to leave their desks for their lunch breaks.
- Encourage them to utilize the company gym if you have one.
- Organizing short get-togethers or fun training sessions to overcome the mid-afternoon energy slump.
5. Offer Mental Health Resources and Support
Employees dealing with loss or contentious family relationships may find this season particularly triggering. Feelings of loneliness or seasonal depression can rear their ugly heads. These conditions make it difficult to stay in the spirit of the season and remain productive. Make sure your employees know how to find mental health professionals through your company insurance plan or about your Employee Assistance Program if you offer one.
6. Encourage your Employees to Take Personal Time Off
Attempting to juggle work deadlines with family gatherings can be a no-win game. Encourage your employees to take their time off and enjoy the celebrations with their family and friends instead of keeping them busy with work.
7. Promote Healthy Eating
The holiday season is full of hearty meals and decadent sweets, and it’s easy to overindulge. Promote healthy eating amongst your employees by:
- Creating an office potluck that emphasizes healthy indulgences. Focus on an array of healthy, delicious foods that are nutrient-rich and easy to prepare.
- Offer educational resources to help maintain optimal health during the holidays (and beyond).
- Give your employees a chance to learn about different types of food and how they affect your health.
8. Squeeze in Some Exercise
If the weather permits, organize outdoor activities that are not only an opportunity for your employees to socialize but also keep them active. There are many options:
- Hikes, walks, or bike rides.
- Organizing a holiday fun run.
- Trips to your local ice rink.
If the weather is too unforgiving, you can offer indoor exercise sessions. There are many options- yoga, pilates, aerobics, and dancing.
Another great way to encourage physical activity is an employee fitness challenge. If you combine the challenge with incentives and rewards, it can go a long way toward motivating them to participate. You can award points for reaching daily fitness goals such as walking 10,000 steps, drinking eight glasses of water, and eating a serving of vegetables and fruit with every meal. Prizes like a Fitbit or free gym membership will provide a sense of accomplishment and assist in maintaining long-term health goals.
9. Support Healthy Habits
The holiday season is also a joyful time for germs! More indoor time leads to the inevitable spread of cold and flu viruses. Remind your employees to keep illnesses at bay by sticking to healthy habits such as:
- Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables.
- Drinking enough water.
- Washing hands thoroughly.
- Using hand sanitizer when needed.
- Staying home when sick.
10. Start Planning for the New Year
Promoting employee wellness should be a year-round priority. A vital aspect of a New Year’s resolution is a plan. Managers, human resources, or an employee wellness team should ideally meet now to start planning for January. You can designate days for employees to get health screenings, publish a newsletter with healthy eating tips, and have some beginning-of-the-year health challenges.
The Waterways Company is Here to Help You!
The link between employee health and business success is a no-brainer. Happy employees are more likely to stay with your company and be more engaged with their work, which allows your company to flourish. We hope you stay healthy and happy this holiday season. Contact us for all of your water dispenser and filtration needs!