5 Ways to Help Employees Manage Festive Stress

5 Ways to Help Employees Manage Festive Stress

December 7, 2022
Annette Maggi
Human Resources

By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

If you work within six degrees of separation of the retail setting, you know that the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is an “all hands on deck, focus on holiday sales” time frame. This is true for every retail employee, including health and wellbeing teams. As a team leader, a key role you play during this time frame is to help your staff manage their stress because in addition to added responsibilities at work, the season brings added commitments at home.

Consider these tips for helping your team manage stress:

Tip #1: Provide additional work schedule flexibility. With holiday programs at kids’ schools and other commitments in personal lives, employees need added flexibility at this time of the year. To ease their stress, clearly communicate your openness to varied work location and hours to help them feel more in control. The key is to be clear on the limits around what you can offer and the timeframe of when this added flexibility ends.

Tip #2: Encourage employees to use their paid time off. Of course, deadlines need to be met and projects completed, but having early and open discussions with your team on who is taking vacation days when, addressing the topic in a positive light, will help manage the stress of individuals and the team. Even a Friday afternoon off to get gift shopping or holiday baking done can do a lot to alleviate stress.

Tip #3: Set realistic expectations. Given the heightened focus on shoppers and sales during the holiday period, leaders should re-evaluate priorities and project deadlines. Are there projects or deadlines that can be pushed back while still accomplishing goals? Would it make more sense to have a holiday celebration in January instead of December?

Tip #4: Say “thank you.” As staff are extending themselves at this time of year, a “thank you” can go a long way to show that you notice their added commitment to the company. Whether verbally or in a hand-written note, appreciation can increase staff loyalty and retention.

Tip #5: Offer wellness options. Consider having chair massages available one day at the office or a 20-minute yoga or meditation class at lunch. Work with vendors to have staff lunches brought in on particularly busy days. Schedule walking status with your team members to help them get their steps in and release endorphins.

Going the extra mile as a leader during the holidays will have team benefits moving into the new year.