Help Your Employees Manage Holiday Season Stress
According to the greeting cards and television commercials, the holiday season should be nothing but merry, jolly, happy fun. But as anyone who has juggled a job, family responsibilities, and a whole host of other seasonal obligations surely knows, the reality isn’t always quite that simple.
Although the holidays are a wonderful time of year, they often entail a whole lot of hustle and bustle that can really pile on the stress. For many workers in the hospitality industry, the holidays are the culmination of one of the busiest periods of the year. Add to that financial worries, scheduling concerns, gift shopping, off-the-clock parties and entertaining – and before too long, the stress and anxiety can start to overwhelm the seasonal glee and fellow-feeling.
Get a Head Start
There’s one key factor that separates holiday stress from garden-variety tension and anxiety: it’s highly predictable and largely preventable. Unlike other stressful life events that tend to rear their ugly heads unexpectedly, the holidays come around at the same time every year. According to HR consultant Peter Burki, the annual nature of holiday-related stress offers employers a unique opportunity to lend their workers an extra helping hand during this often-trying time of year.
Implementing a few simple techniques geared toward alleviating your team’s holiday stress is a win-win solution – you’ll help your employees enjoy the season, you’ll ensure that their performance won’t be adversely impacted during a key busy period, and your organization will embody the ethos of care and generosity that defines the holiday spirit. Here are some ideas to help your team members dodge the holiday doldrums.
Start holiday planning and scheduling well in advance.
For many in the hospitality industry, the holiday season is one of the busiest times in the year. Don’t let this peak period sneak up on you! Make sure you’ve begin the planning and scheduling process as soon as the leaves begin to turn – or even earlier. Ask team members to provide their leave requests and seasonal schedules as soon as they can.
Make your expectations clear, but be flexible.
In the interest of fairness, it’s usually a good idea to establish a seasonal scheduling policy that sets forth the minimum hours that you will expect from each team member during the holidays. However, since many employees will be traveling or housing guests, do your best to accommodate reasonable requests for changes.
Aim for accurate staffing estimates.
No one can predict their holiday traffic and staffing needs with crystal-ball perfection, but it’s important to make the most of the resources and data at your disposal to make the best estimates possible. Overstaffing or understaffing during the holiday season can result in not-so-jolly employees, so aim for accuracy and adjust schedules as necessary as the season unfolds.
Embrace flextime and alternate schedules.
Double shifts, split shifts, shared shifts, swapped shifts – everything’s fair game when it comes to holiday staffing and scheduling. Demonstrating an openness to out-of-the-box staffing solutions will help your employees cruise through the holiday season with a minimum of fuss and worry.
Don’t forget to have fun.
Sure, the holiday season can be stressful, both on and off the clock. But try to set aside some time each day to celebrate the diverse values and traditions that make this time of year special. Small gestures like seasonal treats, holiday-themed contests and games, and special prizes can help defuse some of the tension that your super-busy staff is likely to be shouldering.
Hospitality industry employers are in a unique position to help their team members take the edge off of work-related holiday stress. Make the most of it and spread the good will this season!