The month and a half leading up to New Year’s is full of joy and celebration. But from stress and germs to distraction and overindulgence, it’s also fraught with hazards that can leave your employees ill, injured, or dispirited. Be sure that wellness at your company doesn’t fall by the wayside during the fun!
Although the “official” holiday season lasts just weeks, the dark, chilly months present significant safety, health, and wellness challenges. Below are a variety of occupational safety and health antidotes and reliable solutions to help your employees get through the holidays.
They’re Present, but Are They Thriving?
Renee Moorefield, PhD, is CEO of Wisdom Works Group, which helps business leaders create a healthier workforce and a healthier world. Moorefield assists clients to improve wellness through team building, coaching, and launching campaigns for diverse businesses, including some of the world’s most well-known corporations.
She sees work as an activity in which people can leave more refreshed than when they came. Workplace wellness is an alignment of mind, body, and spirit under the leadership of individuals committed to employee thriving.
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To achieve wellness, work and workplaces must be designed in a way that helps those at the top get the best thinking, creativity, and decision making out of their people. It starts with relationships.
“Making sure employees have a terrific relationship with their leaders can be as impactful to bringing a culture of well-being as quitting smoking,” Moorefield says.
While the holidays can be stressful and exhausting, Moorefield sees several ways employers can use the season to enhance workplace wellness. The first way is to help team members connect with a deeper meaning by encouraging personnel to pause and reflect on the real meaning behind a given holiday, not just its commercial image.
One way to do that is to create a special ritual. For Moorefield and her husband—who do not have family nearby—that means hosting a “Friendsgiving” event before or after Turkey Day. It’s a way to celebrate friendship, especially at this time of year.
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Another idea is to use “fun events and active, healthy living” to connect coworkers. “So often celebrations are designed around food and alcohol,” says Moorefield. Instead, she suggests creating opportunities to play, like a family fitness challenge or group caroling outing. Some other ways to bring well-being to the season are:
- Use daily reminders to reinforce the spirit of the holidays. Wisdom Works develops 5-to-10-minute refresher messages for leaders to share with their teams. A number of websites offer daily reminders about gratitude and mindfulness.
- Avoid overspending. Moorefield believes that for most people, the season is about the gift of one’s presence, not presents that you wrap. Giving of yourself without going into debt helps guard against holiday-induced stress and regret.
- Focus on boundaries. Bring in a local psychologist or employee assistance program counselor to conduct a lunch-and-learn session on setting boundaries during the holidays. Saying “Yes” to too much hosting (too much eating, too many parties, etc.) is a recipe for stress and exhaustion.
- Don’t forget your needs. Help employees understand what they need to stay centered and healthy despite seasonal demands, such as regular exercise or a daily spiritual practice. If possible, employers should make space or provide opportunities for these activities at work.
We’ll feature more holiday wellness tips in tomorrow’s Advisor.