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3 Workplace Wellness Tips for the Holidays

Written by
Laura Saracho
Laura Saracho

With the holiday season approaching, most of us can’t wait to enjoy some time off from work. However, according to a recent survey, stress levels rise—get this—38% during the holidays. 😧

What factors are driving this level of discontent? And how can we leverage our jobs to actually feel better? Here are a few workplace wellness tips to consider for an enjoyable and less-stressed holiday experience. 

1. Acknowledge employee mental health and burnout

Hopefully we’ve all come to recognize how important it is to discuss and address mental health and employee burnout. Let’s face it, it’s been a long two years. You’ve been through a lot lately, and your coworkers, family, and peers have too. Take a step back and realize that the trauma exists and we are all healing from something. 💚

More than four in 10 employees (44%) say they are more burned out on the job today compared to a year ago, according to global staffing firm Robert Half. Your leadership team and managers should look to health experts to lead these discussions and provide advice. Empathy and understanding are good starting points for every coworker, no matter what level of employment. 

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Signs and symptoms of employee burnout

Here are some common signs that folks on your team (or yourself!) are starting to approach the dreaded burnout:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased errors
  • Reduced efficiency and energy
  • Lowered levels of motivation
  • Working more with less being accomplished

How is your organization and team helping employees who are burnt out? Do you have a plan in place already for addressing workplace wellness, or is there room for improvement? The holiday season can bring a lot more stress on mental health and capacity for employees. Be sure to include open dialogue and opportunities for coworkers to express how they are feeling and any changes they’d like to see implemented. 

For more in-depth insight on how to treat burnout, watch our webinar on how to beat WFH burnout! 

2. Be realistic about employee availability and output

The year is (finally) winding down, yet there still can be a lot of deadline cramming and annual planning to go around, even amidst the holiday treats and tunes. Do your best to be mindful of the amount of work that needs to get done and the capacity of each team member. Are you focused on company culture, or solely discussing metrics and increasing efficiencies? 

It’s true—the next couple of months are going to be busy, but recognizing things other than Zoom meetings, KPIs, and projects will go a long way in promoting overall wellness throughout your workplace. Companies should also be communicating expectations and have a clear understanding and respect for the time needed to recharge with family and friends during the holidays

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And then there’s the elephant in the room: productivity during this time can be difficult with the extra-long list of what people need to get done outside of work. Hanging lights around the house, baking cookies for neighbors, rocking out to holiday Spotify playlists—these things take time and focus! 😉

Expect productivity to go down, especially around December. More than two-thirds of workers admitted being less productive throughout December, with nearly one-half admitting that they did 10-20% less work. Many employees will be preoccupied with holiday planning tasks like shopping, errands, or coordinating plans with friends and family. 

How many of us have put together a list of new year resolutions, personal goals, or a list of professional achievements we’d like to accomplish? As the year comes to a close, it is a reflective time for most of us. Allow your team to take the time they need to reflect and recharge. For a lot of employees, emotional wellbeing and physical health come to mind—do you have a comprehensive employee wellness program? Now might be the time to invest in one when reviewing your company's benefits and perks.

3. Show gratitude for your coworkers and community

The joy of giving back usually feels better than the gift of receiving, right? While giving can take on many forms, the holiday season is a perfect time to recollect all you’ve accomplished throughout the year. Consider the energy, teamwork, and encouragement it’s taken to achieve your goals. Do you take the time to celebrate the people making things happen in your organization?

A quick shout-out can go a long way in developing a healthy work culture and making others feel appreciated. Boosting employee engagement can be a tough task. Applying a framework for recognition and gratitude could be the spark your team desperately needs. Look for ways and places your teams are interacting on a daily basis. From there, configure how to curate feedback and push out praise that will be easily visible and accepted.

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Employee recognition challenges with remote work

The increase in remote work has made it extra tricky for managers and coworkers to connect beyond their routine activities. Managers and executives are also feeling the pressure to keep up with growth expectations, new workplace environments, and making the time to acknowledge individuals making a difference. Here are some facts for considering the value of employee recognition in a remote world. 

  • A Gallup poll revealed that employees who do not feel recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit within the next year
  • SurveyMonkey + Bonusly conducted a study that concluded 63% of employees who are recognized are very unlikely to look for a new job
  • Companies with effective employee recognition received higher loyalty and satisfaction ratings from their customers - SmartRecruiters 

While we’re on the topic, we can’t hide the fact that Bonusly is a recognition and rewards platform. With Bonusly, your team can feel engaged and successful at work, whether in-office, fully remote or somewhere in between. Take a quick tour to see for yourself!

Best ways to give back to your community

Does your team have an annual holiday volunteer project? Is there a giving committee within your company that identifies opportunities to make a positive impact? These are a few ways that companies are looking to stay involved in their local communities and affect change. During the holiday season, employees are excited about ways to give back to causes and organizations with support from their company. 

Looking for more ways to connect and make a difference? Bonusly makes it easy to identify ways to donate and give back to local and international charities. 

Are there any workplace wellness holiday tips you’d like to add? What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below 👇! 

Need more ideas on how to improve employee engagement? Check out this resource:

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Originally published on November 17, 2021 → Last updated November 17, 2021

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Laura Saracho

Laura is the content marketing manager at Bonusly and is passionate about employee engagement and uncovering creative, data-driven ways to drive impact. She loves writing and going on excessively long trail runs.

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