With the holidays approaching, it is important to recognize that the festive season can be a stressful time for many people, especially this year. Employers need to support employees to ensure they stay mentally healthy this holiday season. To help, Galt Foundation provides five strategies for improving employees’ mental well-being at work, which will have positive effects on both your team and your organization.
The holiday season may be a time of cheer, but for many, it also signifies a period of immense stress. There is usually much to do, in terms of work and holiday gift shopping.
In addition to hectic schedules, the dark and dreary weather in many parts of the country can impact people’s mental health. Some individuals experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that is related to changes in the seasons.
After enduring various unprecedented challenges in 2020, people may feel the pressure especially keenly this year. So, it is more important than ever for employers to support their employees during this holiday season. Galt Foundation shares five strategies that employers can implement to help their staff combat stress and promote mental well-being during December.
Organize Fun Group Activities
While current work environments may look different for a lot of companies, employers can still plan creative virtual celebrations for their teams. For example, hosting a virtual holiday party.
Other fun ideas include holding a team-building games session, encouraging holiday-themed outfits during meetings, making a team holiday playlist, or taking the time to learn more about your team’s cultural differences and the diverse celebrations that take place during this time, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year's.
These activities give employees a nice break from work, which can help alleviate stress.
Show Your Appreciation
Simple gestures of appreciation can go a long way toward improving morale, which can ease stress. Employers can provide quick words of encouragement, such as praising employees for a job well done, during meetings, in emails, or on your company messaging system. They can also send their team small gifts during the holidays as a token of thanks – if you are pressed for time or would like to keep things COVID-friendly, electronic gift cards are a great solution.
Encourage Work-Life Balance
With many employees still working from home, the lines between professional and personal lives can become blurred.
Companies should set boundaries on work completed outside of regular hours and dissuade employees from working exceedingly long shifts or from answering emails or calls after-hours, in order to maintain healthy well-being. Since many employees have taken little time off during the pandemic, managers should also encourage employees to use their vacation days.
Of course, these solutions are dependent on your organization’s workload and employees’ preferences, so consult with your team to develop a plan that suits them.
Provide Mental Health Support
It is important to promote mental health awareness during the holidays and acknowledge the topic of mental health at work. Remind staff that HR and team managers are available if they ever need someone to talk to, and encourage them to occasionally move away from their computer to take a break or even meditate during the workday.
In addition, managers can provide their team members with links to mental health websites and other resources. These can include phone or video chat counselling services, as well as light therapy treatment for individuals dealing with SAD.
Promoting Diversity & Inclusion
Businesses should also provide additional job support for people with disabilities to help alleviate their stress. Companies can do so by providing employees who have disabilities with a workspace designed to help them perform their roles to the best of their ability.
This includes improving the setup of their workspace, whether it be in the office or in their home (if they are working remotely), and promoting accessibility, which can be done by implementing accessibility technologies. Click here to learn about four important technologies that organizations should consider applying to their everyday processes and procedures.
Why Is This Important?
For many companies, this time of year can be incredibly busy in terms of workload and projects. The resulting stress can lead to poor employee mental well-being and even burnout, which can negatively impact both your team and your business.
Stressful work environments can decrease employee morale and motivation, which can hinder productivity or lead to employees leaving your company. According to Harvard Business Review, burnout “costs the U.S. more than $300 billion a year in absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity, and medical, legal, and insurance costs.”
Healthy minds provide a strong foundation for a healthy organization. So, it is critical that managers consider implementing some of the strategies mentioned above to help reduce stress and burnout.
If you are an employer who has inquiries about improving the well-being of your team or needs help with improving equity and diversity in the workplace, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the friendly associates at Galt Foundation.
In addition, if you know of someone with a disability who is in search of employment during the holiday season, please send them our information. As a staffing agency, Galt finds temporary staffing and job opportunities for people with disabilities, and we also offer job training for people with disabilities.
Feel free to contact us here, or call us at 1-877-361-127, and we’d be happy to help!