5 tips for handling holiday stress in the workplace

by Team Ceridian on December 20, 2013

stressIt’s always challenging to maintain employee retention and productivity, but that pursuit can be especially difficult as the holiday season approaches. Christmas can be stressful for everyone – people are often consumed by shopping and other holiday responsibilities, not to mention arranging family get-togethers, and at the same time, they also have to handle their usual workloads around the office.

This can make for a difficult December at many workplaces. It’s tough for workers to keep making it through their daily grinds, and it’s not easy on managers, either. They want to keep the labor force chugging along at a good pace, but they also don’t want to push their employees too hard, causing burnout or office conflicts.


According to Inc. Magazine, the end of the year is stressful enough without throwing in additional concerns because of the holidays. Every time you close the book on December and enter a new year, there’s a massive pile of administrative tasks to deal with first. Rene Shimada Siegel, founder and president of tech consulting firm High Tech Connect, notes that the holidays only make it worse.

“Planning budgets,” Siegel stated. “Conducting employee reviews. Thanking customers. Scrutinizing expenses. Renewing and canceling contracts. Preparing for taxes. Setting annual goals. All of that, plus the regular hustle and bustle of gifts, festivities, and family commitments. The end of the year is stressful for everyone. It’s downright nutty for business owners.”

How will your company deal with the nuttiness? It’s not easy, but these five tips should certainly help.

Embrace the chaos
Let’s face it – the holiday season is never going to be easy around the office. Responsibilities are going to pile up, and there’s no way around it. The best approach is just to embrace your predicament. Be ready for the hectic climate and the long hours.

Gifts go a long way
The holidays may be stressful, but even minor gestures can go a long way toward helping people cope. Something small like a glass of eggnog or a free gift card can raise employee morale and help the workforce get through the December grind.

Tag-team responsibilities
It’s important to delegate tasks effectively among team members so that no individual begins feeling overworked. The best approach is to tag-team jobs. If one employee is busy with holiday shopping or hosting relatives, a co-worker can help out today in exchange for some help tomorrow. Workers should have each other’s backs.

Show some restraint
People need to have limits to the number of holiday stressors they pile up. Remember, you don’t have to say yes to every Christmas party invitation. Time is a valuable resource, and you can’t let too much of it slip away during a busy holiday season.

Make it easy on yourself
The holiday season is a time for good cheer, not massive amounts of stress. Sometimes, it’s OK to go a little bit easy on yourself, if only for a couple of days. Set the email inbox aside for a bit and give yourself a break. After the holiday fervor has subsided, you can return to work.