Workplace Holiday Stress & Holiday Celebrations

Holiday Christmas Party from CanvaSome people find themselves more stressed at work this time of year simply because “they’re already stretched too thin,” and the holidays only give them more to get done. Add to that the fact that many employees take vacation time during the month of December, and there are two holidays within two weeks’ time. So, the end result is fewer people with more to do.

Believe it or not, some employees’ workloads actually lessen this time of year. Back when I was an Account Executive selling TV advertising, we had free time for shopping during the day because retailers were too busy to talk with our sales staff from Thanksgiving through the end of the year. Those were the days!

For employers who need to get projects completed or books closed by year’s end, some ideas to reduce the stress levels of their staff are: bringing in a catered lunch, or giving their staff some time off during the workday when the stores are less full for some power shopping.

Despite high-stress levels, many people continue to look forward to the holidays as a time to celebrate. I think that employers should do all that they can to provide their employees with some way of celebrating, even if an event needs to be downsized due to financial constraints. In terms of down-sized celebrations, the post-recession trend has been toward either no party at all or a scaled down version, often on-site. During the recession years, there was a noticeable shift in employers scheduling holiday parties during lunchtime, rather than the dinner hour.

Remember that a holiday party is a great way to say thank you to employees for their hard work throughout the year. In a poll conducted by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., 89 percent of the human resources professionals they spoke to were planning holiday or year-end parties in 2014. “That is up from 82 percent in 2012 and 68 percent in 2011,” according to the organization.

With many businesses operating 24/7, however, it can be impossible to get the entire staff together for a celebration. If that’s the case, get creative. Comfort-Keepers, a local provider of in-home care for the elderly chooses to say thank you by giving all their employees a holiday ham.

A local doctor’s office marks the holiday by its giving. The office sponsors a hat and mitten tree, which gets donated to the Children’s Home of Reading. They also have a “dress down day,” when employees bring in three non-perishable food items, which are then donated to Mary’s Shelter, Bethany Children’s Home and Berks Women in Crisis.

Holiday office party tips:

  1. Your organization can’t force you to socialize with coworkers on your own time. But, even if you don’t relish the idea of hanging out with your colleagues after hours, it’s probably a good idea to go anyway, since it demonstrates solidarity.
  2. If alcohol is served, limit yourself to one or two drinks at the most. A workplace party is no place to over-indulge. Remember, you’re going to have to face these people again very soon.
  3. During conversation at holiday parties, stay away from “shop talk,” or a discussion of religion or politics. Don’t be flirtations with colleagues, and leave your cell phone in your handbag or pocket. Better yet, leave those devices in your car.
  4. Ladies… it’s ok to “sparkle it up” as long as it’s done in good taste. No plunging necklines!
  5. Have fun. Partying together is a good way to build camaraderie. Just avoid having fun at anyone else’s expense.

Does your organization have any kind of holiday celebration and how do you feel about that decision? We’d love to hear from you.


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