More than one-third of employees stressed at work during holidays: Survey

Offer flexible schedules, show appreciation to reduce stress levels

The holidays can be a stressful time for many employees. Thirty-eight per cent of workers said it is more challenging to manage their workloads during the holidays, according to a survey of 309 workers across Canada by Accountemps.

"Professionals are especially busy during the holiday season because of the mix of end-of-the-year projects, events and personal obligations," said Kathryn Bolt, Canadian president of Accountemps. "As a result, it can be challenging for employees to juggle competing priorities — and managers should make certain that critical projects are completed without overexerting those who may be feeling stretched too thin."

More than four in 10 (42 per cent) said there is no difference and 20 per cent said it is less challenging, found the survey.

The additional burden comes at a time when many professionals are already feeling the pinch: More than four in 10 respondents (42 per cent) indicated their current workloads are too heavy. Fifty per cent said their workloads are just right while eight per cent said they are too light.

There are many things employers can do to help employees manage end-of-the-year workloads:

•Ensure staff have the resources needed to successfully complete their projects.

•Consider bringing in skilled temporary staff who can assist with key initiatives and help maintain productivity.

•Encourage employees to leave early on a Friday or take an occasional long lunch to attend to errands so they don’t feel so pressed for time.

•Offer flexible schedules or telecommuting options to staff whose jobs do not require them to be on-site.

•Express appreciation to staff members for their work throughout the year.

•Keep the mood around the office from becoming too serious. Close the year with a department celebration, such as a group lunch or gift exchange, to build camaraderie.

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