Have you ever heard of the term “holiday stress”? As the holidays and year-end approaches, you think you should be happy all the time, right? But it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by holiday activities, gift buying, or worrying about money. In fact, a recent study by the American Psychological Association shows that 38% of respondents experienced a significant increase in stress level during the holiday season.
Feeling stressed and unfocused at work can lead to unsafe working conditions (ever dropped a knife while unpacking a box because you were trying to do everything too fast?). This is especially important for those working in industries where sharp tools are a part of their everyday life.
So, what can managers and leaders do to support their team as they face holiday-related stressors? Keep reading to learn the tips our OLFA experts have put together to help employers (and employees) manage mental health at work.
Lead By Example
Very often, employers are so focused on the team’s well-being and daily tasks that they forget to take care of themselves. If you’re a manager going into the holiday season, set breaks with your team throughout the day. Those breaks can be as simple as taking a walk or enjoying a cup of coffee together. Whichever activity you choose, model it so that your team members feel they can also focus on self-care.
If there is ever a time to be flexible, it’s the holidays. Whether it’s a family dinner or picking up a relative at the airport, the holidays are usually when people feel overloaded with too many plans. This can lead to a being distracted at work. By offering flexibility with schedules and fostering conversations about how to deal with unexpected plans, you give employees the opportunity support their mental health.
On-the-job communication can be one of the most important ways you can ensure workplace safety is a priority. When your employees keep track of what’s going on around them, they can foresee a hazard or can request help with a specific task. Having a clear understanding of work hours, norms and safety procedures can reduce much of the stress workers may already be experiencing during the holidays.
Although the holidays are usually a time of the year when families rejoice together, it’s important to remember that not everyone has a place to go over the holidays or even a support system at all. As a manager, try to create a sense of camaraderie by organizing events that foster positive relationships between colleagues. It could be a Christmas-inspired drink at the nearest coffee shop, or a “bake your best sugar cookies” challenge. By making yourself available for your employees, and especially those more vulnerable, you can increase workers’ motivation and focus during this hectic time of the year.
With the holidays in full swing, remember to be intentional about how your workplace approaches mental health. By arming yourself with resources on mental health issues in the workplace, your company can become a space where employees feel supported all the time.
Don’t forget to follow us on social to learn more about our recommended safety practices (and tools), and send us a message if you have any questions you want answered!