Cyber Monday and online shopping isn't the only thing distracting employees today
By: Niki Campbell
The cost of these distractions and stress is staggering -- $300 billion in related absenteeism and presenteeism, increased health care spending, and reduced productivity.
However, business owners can do something to reduce stress in the workplace without compromising business plans or year-end goals by bringing wellness to work.
"Wellness works, and it pays off for businesses that do it right," Niki Campbell, workplace wellness consultant commented. "Bringing well-being programs and services into the workplace during the holidays shows employees that you care. And, it gives you, the business owner, happier, more productive employees. It's a win-win."
Campbell offers these Six Strategies for Creating a Happy, Healthy and Productive Workplace this holiday season.
• Offer Flexible Work Arrangements. If your operation allows for it, give employees the option to work from home one day per week in December. This gives them one day a week to not worry about dressing up, fighting morning traffic, and rushing home to make the Christmas show at their child's school. If you can't give everyone a day at home each week, offer flexible hours that allow them to work around holiday obligations and celebrations.
• Bring Wellness to the Office. Employees are time-strapped this season and likely don't have time to hit a spa or the local yoga studio to de-stress. Bring the relaxation to them. Hire a local massage business to come in and do free chair massages or sponsor a lunchtime yoga or meditation class.
• Socialize Support Services. If a business has an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) or other available health or wellness services, make sure employees know about them, and that the services are easily accessible. EAPs can help point employees in the right direction for a myriad of challenges. From financial planning to finding babysitters to helping a relative who is struggling with illness or addiction. It's a confidential resource that can alleviate some of their stress during a hectic time.
• Survey before Celebrating. Not everyone loves a fancy dinner or banquet for the office holiday gathering because it may require spending money on a new outfit and babysitter. And, some may hate the idea of an office potluck when they are already cooking for the holidays. Find out how employees would like to celebrate before planning an event. While you can't please everyone, a quick survey will provide insight into what makes employees feel appreciated in a meaningful way.
• Encourage Fitness. Exercise is proven to reduce stress, and boost creative thinking, productivity and energy. Make fitness part of an anti-stress workplace in December. Bring in a health coach or personal trainer to do a workshop on 30-minute workouts. Run a step challenge for prizes or partner with a local gym to offer employees a free one-week membership during the holiday season.
• Stock up on Healthy Snacks. When people are stressed, they often turn to food for comfort. Be prepared with a breakroom or kitchen stocked with snacks that will fuel the team in a healthy way. Fresh fruit, trail mix, dark chocolate, protein bars and an always-full water cooler will ensure they are eating food that nourishes them without the sugar crash and empty calories.
Reducing stress in the workplace during the holidays doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. It's about knowing what will resonate with employees and offering small gestures of kindness during a stressful time of year.
"In the end, employees will not only be happier and less-stressed but they will be more loyal and productive, making it a win for everyone," Campbell added.
About Niki Campbell
Niki Campbell is a former corporate executive turned health and wellness professional. As an ACE-certified personal trainer and health coach she specializes in working with business owners, entrepreneurs and executives to bring wellness into their lives and their businesses. For more information on how to get (and stay) healthy, visit www.niki-campbell.com.