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The Impact of Holidays on Employee Mental Health
The winter holidays can be a stressful time for employees. Between personal commitments and the mad dash to finish the year strong at work, employees often spend November and December battling stress.
Common causes of holiday stress include:
- Work stress
- Buying gifts and extra food
- Wrapping up the year
But the biggest stressor is usually financial. Around 69% of Americans report that having insufficient money is one of their biggest causes of holiday anxiety.
Mental Health Effects of Holiday Stress
Holiday stress can have a major impact on employees’ physical and mental wellbeing. This can lead to:
Exhaustion and Insomnia
Stress can cause insomnia, which quickly takes its toll on the body. Sleep deprivation can lead to:
- Difficulty concentrating and problem solving
- Memory problems
- Mood changes
- Weight gain
- A weakened immune system
- High blood pressure
Exhaustion can also cause issues at work. Employees who are sleep deprived are more likely to make mistakes in their work. Because it weakens the immune system, sleep deprivation makes employees more prone to illness, which means a higher rate of absenteeism.
Depression and Hopelessness
Depression and feelings of hopelessness often go hand-in-hand with holiday stress — the holidays can be an emotional time of year, especially when it comes to family and finances.
This can be challenging in the workplace as well as at home because it means that employees are not focused on their job and lack engagement, so productivity can begin to slump. Mood changes can also affect relationships between employees and can lead to poor communication and arguments.
When employees are feeling overwhelmed with stress, this often has a negative impact on their self-esteem. They feel inadequate because they cannot find a way out of their negative situation.
This also has a detrimental effect on the workplace. It makes employee morale plummet, which means their loyalty to the company is adversely affected.
All these factors can have harmful effects on your company as a whole. Reduced productivity means lost money, poor employee morale means a fractured company culture, and dissatisfaction at work means reduced company loyalty. But there are things you can do to mitigate stress for your employees during the holidays.
Signs of Employee Stress
One of the best ways you can mitigate stress during the holiday period is to look out for tell-tale signs. Pay close attention to:
- Tardiness on attendance or tasks
- Missed deadlines
- A reduction in an individual’s quality of work
- Reluctance to engage in team activities
- Hostility to management or other employees
- Bad attitude
- Difficulty concentrating
Making a Difference for Your Employees During the Holidays
You can’t be home with them during the holiday period, but you can be there for them at work. Here are some ways that you can help ease their stress, increase engagement, and boost company morale:
Get Into the Holiday Spirit of Giving
Try to be more flexible when it comes to scheduling during the holiday period. Allow employees enough time to spend with their families during this time, so that they don’t feel they are being neglectful.
Get Into the Festive Mood
It certainly doesn’t hurt to get into the holiday mood at work. Deck your offices with festive decorations. Plan company events such as a staff holiday party, staff dinner, or happy hour. Have a Christmas sweater or Christmas tie day and give out prizes.
Give out Some Recognition
Thank your employees for their hard work by having an end-of-year award ceremony. This is a great way to show everyone how much you appreciate them. It will also go a long way to boost employee morale and company loyalty.
Provide Small Incentives
Set up a station in the staff room offering free coffee, hot chocolate, and holiday snacks. Employees appreciate small gestures like this, and it will ease their anxiety and increase their holiday cheer.
Give Them Hope for the Future
Let them know you’re there not just as an employer, but also as a person. Talk about how important they are to the company and how you are looking forward to working with them in the new year.
Give Them a Bonus
If you’re a small or start-up business, you may not have the resources to add a holiday bonus to your employees’ paychecks. However, you may be able to give them a little something extra, such as a gift voucher or another gesture to add to their pay.
Provide a Pre-Holiday Wellness Program
Give them resources and programs to help them stay healthy over the holidays, such as nutritional advice, and tips on how to keep up with or begin a healthy fitness routine — the benefits this will have on an employees’ longevity during and after work will have a lasting impact on both the company and their overall wellness.
Provide Mental Health Resources
Depression and anxiety can be a serious problem for employees during the holidays, particularly those who are alone. Provide resources for hotlines and mental health professionals to help mitigate this.
Offer Employee Loans
This can be a stress-free way for employees to borrow extra money for the holiday season, without having to rely on predatory lenders. One safe option for employee loans is through TrueConnect. TrueConnect offers small employee loans that do not require traditional financial background checks.
The benefits are available to all employees, and the loan can be repaid using simple deductions from employees’ paychecks. Not only is the interest rate the same for all loans, every employee who takes out a loan also qualifies for six free financial counseling sessions. Employees who wish to take out a TrueConnect loan can fill out an online application in just a few minutes.
Holiday stress is one of the worst things that employees face every year. Not only does it negatively impact their mental, physical, and emotional health, it also disrupts their engagement at work. This means it is costing your company money. Don’t ignore the warning signs of employee stress in the workplace.
You may not realize just how much of a positive impact you can have on the lives of your employees. You can help their mental and physical health simply by extending a helping hand financially, but this doesn’t have to mean that you have to pay out of your or the company’s own pocket.
TrueConnect loans provide a valuable financial resource for employees who are struggling to get by during the holiday season. Their employee loans can be made available at absolutely no cost to the employer. Why not make your employees a little happier and more relaxed this holiday by offering TrueConnect loans? Contact us today to learn more.