The holiday season can already be a stressful time for many, but the added weight of the pandemic further complicates things this year. Your team members may be navigating healthcare concerns, travel restrictions, vaccination disagreements, loss, or mental health challenges, among other things.
As another challenging year comes to a close, make workplace wellness a priority to give your team members the space and the resources they need to recover and recharge.
Encourage time off
The holiday season can get quite busy with decorating, gatherings, and shopping. Encourage your team members to take time off work to attend to personal matters, especially if this time of year is slow for your company. For instance, you might:
- Check paid time off balances and encourage team members to use up accrued time off.
- Encourage team members to use your dedicated volunteer time off to support a good cause and give back to their community.
- Offer paid sick leave for team members to get vaccinations or boosters before holiday gatherings.
- Provide extra holiday time, such as an extra week off before the new year or even an early dismissal before your designated company holidays.
Ensuring team members take some downtime over the holiday season can help them focus on their families and recharge after a challenging year.
Highlight your wellness benefits and perks
The end of the year is also a good time to remind your team members to use their remaining wellness benefits and perks. They may be useful to combat holiday and pandemic stress, or they may be expiring at the end of the month.
These might include:
- Mental health benefits, such as therapy, that can help your team members combat stress in their personal or work lives.
- In-network chiropractic or acupuncture sessions that may be expiring at the end of the year.
- Healthcare savings accounts, particularly if balances do not roll-over to next year.
- Concierge services, such as dry cleaning or meal catering, that can improve work-life balance during the busy holiday season.
- Paid time off and flexible work arrangements that team members can use to create better work-life balance.
Host a team bonding event
Take the time to host a team bonding event, whether it’s virtual, in-person or hybrid, to celebrate your team and help them unwind. This may be company-wide, or you could sponsor several smaller events based on team or location.
Try to be inclusive so all of your team members feel comfortable participating. For example, provide a variety of food and beverage options to accommodate dietary preferences and restrictions. Hold the event during business hours so those with caregiving responsibilities can attend. And ask remote team members whether they’d prefer to travel to an in-person event, or attend a local or virtual event.
Some examples to consider include:
- Going out to lunch at a local restaurant or hosting an office potluck.
- Attending a virtual escape room or scavenger hunt.
- Volunteering with a local nonprofit organization.
Express gratitude to your team members
Only one in three workers in the U.S. strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days. But 82 percent of workers are happier when they’re recognized at work, and 63 percent of employees who are recognized are very unlikely to look for a new job.
A little gratitude can go a long way, especially after a year with so much unpredictability. Recognize each team member’s contributions to show appreciation for all your team has been able to accomplish during such a challenging year.
There are many ways to go about this, and a combination of these approaches can work well:
- Recognize each team’s accomplishments during a company-wide all hands meeting.
- Present each team member with a handwritten thank you note from the CEO or their manager.
- Offer an end-of-year bonus in appreciation of hard work.
- Give each team member a small gift to thank them for their contributions.
- Encourage all team members to recognize their peers on a public Praise Wall, or one-on-one.
Recognition is most powerful when given consistently, so make a point to continue these efforts into the new year too.
There’s no doubt about it, this has been another challenging year. Make workplace wellness a priority to help your team members be healthier, happier, and more productive—at home and in the office. And don’t stop once the holiday season ends—workplace wellness is a trend that’s here to stay. Revisit your employee benefits and perks to see where you can make improvements next year. An investment in workplace wellness is a worthwhile endeavor that can help you attract, engage, and retain your team.