It’s the most wonderful time of the year — or so they say.
As a manager, you know this is crunch time. The end of the year is a busy one, with reports to run, projects to finish, deadlines to meet and goals to achieve before the calendar flips. But you also know that your employees are feeling the pinch at home as well, worrying about getting done the mountain of tasks they need to accomplish for their friends and families.
Luckily, you’re in a position to help make the holiday season a little less stressful for everyone.
Here’s how to help reduce holiday stress for your team, at least at work.
Lead by example and prioritize work-life balance.
Your team will want to take time off during the holidays but will be apprehensive about it. Make it clear that this is acceptable and not a problem, that no one will be penalized for using the time they’ve earned. Then do what you’re telling them it’s ok to do: Leave early if you need to do something for your child’s school, or take a day to take care of things at home to help alleviate some stress there. Your family is as important to you as your employees’ families are to them; show them that this is the time to prioritize their time together.
Don’t start new projects unless it’s absolutely necessary.
The end of the year is the time to finish strong. If it’s at all avoidable, and it probably is, do not take on or assign any new big tasks until after the first of the year. Adding more work or more tasks on an already tight schedule will make everyone feel more stressed; no one needs that right now. Tell your team that this is how you’d like to proceed for the next two months and then keep your word.
Pitch in a little more.
Being a manager means you have a pretty good handle on what everyone on your team is working on, generally. But now’s the time to get back into the fray and see where you can help. Maybe someone’s overloaded and needs an assist; offer to help rearrange responsibilities or pick up some of the slack yourself. Help cover for people when someone’s out on vacation or home sick. Show your team that you want to be an effective leader who understands their jobs and their commitment to their work by showing your compassionate side. Ask early and often what assistance is needed and then follow through with it.
Offer flexible hours.
If possible, make adjustments to your operational hours. If people need to leave early or come in late, allow it without penalty. If people want to work longer days earlier in the week to have fewer hours to work on Friday, make that happen. Be equitable about that and make sure your whole team has the opportunity to take advantage of it, if they want. If your team knows they can be flexible in order to help get those holiday tasks done, they’ll feel less stressed about stepping away from work for a little while.
Say thank you and show some appreciation.
No matter how many adjustments you can make or how flexible you can be, this is still the time of the year that you can show your employees and team that you’re grateful for them and all their hard work. It’s time to arrange for lunches to be provided or for treats to be brought in to share a little of that holiday spirit. Taking a break from time to time helps reduce stress and will allow your team to come back to work refreshed and ready to focus, even if the break is only a few minutes. This is also the time to say thank you and recognize the members of your team for what they’ve done. Their hard work is why your company is successful; remind them that you appreciate their dedication.
The next few months will go quickly and there’s so much to get through, but a little kindness and thinking ahead can help make everyone’s life a little less stressful.
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