Strategies for businesses to foster employee wellbeing amidst the Christmas rush

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For retail, hospitality and many other customer-facing businesses, the Christmas period is notoriously hectic for employees. 

With this rush can come a strain on those putting in extra time and effort to make the festivities run smoothly. A recent survey has found that 42% of employees see December as the most stressful month in the calendar year.

Here are some practical tips from Workwear Express for businesses who want to ensure their employees’ wellbeing is protected amidst the frenzy.

1. Be consistent with shift scheduling 

Often people’s social calendars become extremely busy at this time of year, with Christmas parties and visiting family. Unfortunately, it also happens to be extremely busy for shops, restaurants, and delivery services because of said festivities. This can sometimes clash with employees asking for shifts off when they are needed most. 

The best way to manage expectations and ensure no employees become disgruntled is to schedule shifts with considerable notice. By doing this, you can be assured each shift has enough staff working and keep employee turnover low, as they will be granted the time off when requested. 

2. Praise your employees for their effort

Throughout the Christmas shifts, staff will be putting maximum effort in to meet the demands of the role, as work becomes busier. It’s important as a business that this hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. 

Giving employees regular recognition can boost morale and make their work feel valued by the company.  It also decreases the chances of employee burnout. If staff feel like an asset to the business, they are more likely to be motivated. This can be extremely beneficial throughout the holiday season.

3. Offer support and foster a safe work environment

During the busy period, staff may become highly stressed and seek support. Establishing a safe working environment is imperative so that employees feel comfortable enough to turn to the business for emotional aid. 

Customers can take a toll on employees throughout the rush of the Christmas season. Similarly, co-workers can also do the same. Because of this, it is important to reinforce a zero-tolerance policy for misdemeanours and any negative behaviour towards staff. This will ensure employees feel safe in the workplace and allow them to report inappropriate incidents. It will enable employees to feel comfortable confiding in you if any problems do occur. 

4. Prioritise sufficient time for breaks

Regular breaks should be encouraged for employees’ mental and physical well-being. The holiday period can be extremely busy, and this can take a toll on your staff if they aren’t able to have an appropriate amount of breaks during a shift. It can also harm productivity. By scheduling breaks, employees can recharge, refocus, and stay motivated throughout their shifts. 

5. Organise a holiday social gathering

The Christmas period is a great time to organise a social outing for your staff. Not only will this give employees something to look forward to, but it can also strengthen co-worker relationships. 

It is a lovely way to round off the year and celebrate all the hard work that has been put in over the festive season. Nurturing relationships within the workplace can be beneficial for businesses, as employees feel more connected to the company and can make the day-to-day work environment more enjoyable. 

6. Appropriate clothing

Throughout the longer holiday shifts businesses should offer guidelines regarding employee dress codes, if a uniform is not already required. In certain industries, a dress code is necessary for safety and comfort. 

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Employees may need to wear more breathable clothing if their working environment can get warm, especially for those working in retail or hospitality over the Christmas period. Appropriate footwear should also be considered when the job requires staff to be on their feet for a long time. 

If employees are comfortable in their attire, they are more likely to be productive and engaged in their work, without any discomfort. It can also decrease the risk of them getting hurt or flustered over the holiday season.

7. Promote a work-life balance

Employees will have other priorities aside from the business. Especially throughout Christmas, staff will need sufficient time to rest and take time for personal obligations. If you eat into employee downtime, they are not likely to feel motivated and passionate about work. 

Promoting a healthy work-life balance can help your employees to be more productive. This is because there’s a clear distinction between their home and work life. Prioritise this balance with an appropriate amount of paid holiday to help prevent burnout. 

8. Make sure staff are up to date with health & safety procedures

As this time can become hectic for businesses, staff should be reminded of the correct health and safety procedures in case any incidents occur. Employees need to understand how to react to any workplace accidents accordingly, to protect co-workers and any visitors/customers that come into contact with the business. 

With this, they should remain vigilant regarding any hazards that could take place and do what they can to minimise any risk.

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