How to Help Your Employees With Holiday Stress and Depression

The holidays can be a stressful time, and as an employer, there are things you can do to make the holiday season easier for your employees. While the holidays are joyful for many, for some it can be a time of increased depression and grief. According to a survey done by the American Psychological Association, 38% of people said their stress level increases during the holidays. Additionally, another survey, by the investment firm Principal Financial Group, revealed that 53 percent of people feel financially stressed by holiday spending. There are things that you can do as an employer to help your employees cope with holiday stress at work and to ease their financial burden during the holiday season.
Acknowledge Emotions
Acknowledge that the holidays can be stressful and that the holidays may be depressing for some. Remind your employees about EAP programs or other resources that are available, including free national crisis lines. Make sure that employees know that the door is always open if they’d like to talk. Here are some additional tips on how to support mental health during the holidays.
Thoughtful Holiday Parties
While holiday parties can be a fun way to celebrate, think about how the structure of the party can affect your employees. Don’t require employees to bring and exchange gifts, that can add to financial pressure they may already be feeling. Having mandatory parties or parties after work hours could mean that your employees need to find (and pay for) childcare to be able to attend. Also, if you plan on having a fancy party, know that it may mean that your employees need to go buy formal clothes to attend.
Flexible Schedules
If you have the ability to allow for flexible schedules during the holidays, this might actually reduce the total amount of time off that your employees use if they’re normally required to take time off in large blocks. This also allows your employees to work as many hours as they can during their schedule, potentially easing any financial holiday stress.
Give Time Instead of Gifts
Give your employees an extra day around the holidays that they can use when they choose, this will mean more to them than a gift. This also means making sure that they have the time to take, don’t give a day off but expect the same amount of work to be done in less time, which will just create more stress and possibly some resentment. Move non-urgent meetings and projects to January.

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