How to Deal with Holiday Stress at Work

The holidays can be a very stressful time for a lot of people. So much so, in fact, the symptoms of stress for some can easily spiral into moderate to severe depression. There’s something about the season, the shopping, and the pressure that makes dealing with the holidays a little less than pleasant.

Even our best and nicest clients tend to become more demanding during the holiday season, as they make their best attempts to cram as much last minute work as possible before the New Year. Your job as a manager is to remain aware of these changes and do what you can to make the holiday season as palatable as possible as your employees struggle to juggle their growing and changing work and personal obligations each day.

So what are some of the things we can do to help?

  • Lighten up on the personal business rules. Allowing your employees an hour or two to shop online might help alleviate a bit of stress. You should, of course, make sure the exception for the holiday season is not abused, but your employees are probably going to attempt shopping during work hours anyway, so why not let them know it’s ok at certain times of the day?
  • Flex those work schedules. With the holiday season comes a myriad of school functions, family gatherings, and work parties. Each of these involves a significant amount of prep and travel time, and trying to figure out how to get to each place on time can be a hassle. Allow employees to flex their schedules a little bit during the holiday season, if necessary. You don’t have to give away extra hours, but allowing someone to come in early or work through lunch so that he can leave early won’t hurt production.
  • Review your dress code. Do you really need to be in business professional or business casual dress every day during the holiday season? Could you add a couple of less formal days to the schedule? Your employees will feel more comfortable, less stressed, and possibly end up being a bit more productive than usual.

The holiday season lasts from Thanksgiving straight through New Year’s Day, so you still have time to make some exceptions, especially if you’ll have a few employees working in the office over the next week while the rest of the office is on holiday.

Remember, happy employees are productive and loyal employees. Learn how to manage stress, not only for yourself, but for your employees as well, and you’ll be pleased with the results.

Enjoy your holidays!

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 24 December, 2008

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