How to boost your employees at Christmas
It’s important to engage staff throughout the whole year, but during the winter months and the lead up to Christmas it can be really hard. The cold weather, lack of sunlight and pressure of workloads leading up to the holidays can cause employees to feel depressed, stressed and just generally low. Although the festive period is often exciting and filled with fun and joy, this isn’t always the case for everyone. Many people feel very lonely at Christmas, people get stressed about financial worries and often workloads can increase as it gets busier or if people are trying to finish their workload before they leave for Christmas.
Looking after your employee’s well-being and ensuring they are happy and motivated during this time can have a positive effect on the company’s productivity by reducing absenteeism and presenteeism along with giving them an incentive to work harder. By implementing a few practices, you can help boost your employees this Christmas so you end the year on a high.
Address mental health head on
Mental health in the workplace has become a huge issue in recent years with it being estimated that mental ill-health costs the UK about £99 billion per year. The Mental Health Foundation reported that approximately 91 million working days are lost a year due to ill mental health. During the festive period employee’s mental health can decline which can lead to an increased amount of absences and presenteeism. During the festive period there are a number of factors that can affect someone’s mental health such as: stress due to increased workload, illness, seasonal affective disorder, worry due to finances and loneliness.
By addressing mental health head on in the workplace, you can tackle this issue before it becomes a problem. The Mental Health Foundation reported that addressing mental well-being in work increases productivity by as much as 12%. The Health and Safety Executive advises that organisations may find it beneficial to have personnel trained to identify, understand and support people experiencing mental health issues. By being open about mental health and having a place or person that someone suffering can turn to, this will remove the taboo that usually surrounds the subject and can help reduce mental health issues in your workplace. Consider providing mental health first aid training to a designated member of staff and stress management and resilience training to all your staff to help them help themselves deal with stress over the Christmas period.
Physical exercise can have a profound impact on a person’s mental health. It is well-known that exercise can help to reduce stress and make you feel happier. If you do not have an on-site gym you could offer employees subsidised or discounted gym memberships, arrange for fitness classes in an empty room during lunch hours or after work or even install bike sheds to encourage people to cycle to work.
In the winter months there is a higher chance of people becoming sick with illnesses like the flu and winter is the peak time for staff absences due to illness. You can prevent mass outbreak of illness in your workplace due to flu by providing all your staff with flu vaccinations. The flu vaccination is the best defence we have against the influenza virus and by providing your workforce with this protection you can reduce absenteeism and presenteeism.
In some cases, absences are unavoidable. Although you always want your full workforce present at all times, when staff come into work whilst ill this can do more harm than good. When staff come into work ill it takes them a lot longer to recover and they won’t be working to the best of their ability. Even though they are present, this does not mean they are being productive. Ill staff also run the risk of spreading illness to other members of staff, which would then lead to more absences or increased presenteeism.
Allow people to take time off if they are sick, or even let them work from home whilst they recover. If your absence procedures are so strict that employees feel they can’t take time off, they won’t be able to recover properly and this will negatively affect their mood and productivity. Set up an appropriate absence management system where trigger points for intervention are after say four absences in a 12-month period.
Show your appreciation
Thank your employees for all their hard work and contributions throughout the year. You can do this by providing them with a Christmas bonus, gift vouchers, a small gift or hosting a Christmas lunch/dinner/party. Receiving recognition at such a stressful time of the year can really give your employees a boost and make them feel appreciated which can improve motivation and productivity.
Having some fun whilst in work can lighten the mood during this stressful period. By arranging fun activities like decorating the office, organising team lunches, participating in fancy dress/Christmas jumper days, arranging a Secret Santa or setting competitions to win a daily advent prize can really improve team spirit in the run up to Christmas. These kinds of activities encourage team spirit and engagement which can help improve employee motivation and lift the spirits of those who may be feeling down at this time of year.
How can Kays Medical help?
Boosting your employees at Christmas can really make a difference. Workplace wellness can have business benefits, it makes for a healthier, happier, workforce which is much more productive. Consider implementing these practices during the festive period to improve your employee’s wellbeing. Kays Medical can help by providing flu vaccinations to your employees, to protect them against the virus. We also offer resilience training courses for your staff and mental health first aid training for key members of staff which can help reduce the impact of mental health in your workplace. Contact Kays Medical to discuss how we can help improve your employee’s wellbeing in the lead up to Christmas.