With the festive season fast approaching, work at this time of year can be a pretty stressful time for some of us. We have to balance the demands of our day job with planning Christmas activities and our personal lives, too. But do you know how to recognise and deal with stress amongst your employees? Symptoms of stress can vary from person to person.  Some examples may include feeling negative and withdrawn, crying, shaking, not being able to sleep, lack of concentration, changing eating habits, drinking or smoking more, mood swings, and a general lack of motivation. So, what can you do as an employer to help your employees keep their stress levels at a minimum and remain productive in the build up to Christmas? Here are some of our top tips:

  • Communicate regularly with employees

Be approachable, have an “open door” policy and ensure early intervention if you detect a problem.

  • Monitor workloads

Review workloads regularly to ensure that an individual isn’t trying to deal with an excessive amount of work on their own.

  • Don’t see stress as a weakness

Stress shouldn’t be regarded as a weakness in your employees. Encourage open discussions with them on possible sources of pressure and take action where required.

  • Use job descriptions

Have clear job descriptions in place to outline roles and key responsibilities and ensure that your employees are clear about them.

  • Tackle performance issues

Tackle poor performance and attendance to investigate whether stress is a potential causing factor.

  • Be aware of change

Change, however small, always has an impact on employees that could cause stress levels to rise. Ensure you talk any changes through thoroughly with them and address any concerns in private.

  • Share your plans

Be open with your business strategy, and where appropriate share any plans for the New Year so that employees know what is coming up. Let them look forward to it with you.

  • Encourage some festive cheer!

A few decorations and secret Santa (where appropriate!) in the office will help your employees to look forward to their Christmas break, wind down and enjoy the festivities.   Finally, if you haven’t already got one, consider creating a Stress Policy that covers some of the above areas, and make this easily accessible for employees. They need to know who to turn to and what to do if they need help! For further details and advice on creating a Stress Policy, or to discuss your existing policy with Helen, contact helen@thepersonnelpartnership.co.uk