Top tips for reducing pre- and post-Christmas holiday stress

The festive season isn’t far away, but how relaxed will your employees be while they’re out of the office?

As well as the seasonal stress of family gatherings and cooking the Christmas lunch, surveys show that many workers find it stressful to disconnect from work during the holidays.

Shows a tablet with a planner on the screen. Words read Christmas planning.

Why aren’t employees taking their annual leave?

Stress is the main reason people don’t take a break from the office. Top holiday vacation fears include falling behind on work (34%) and believing no one else can do the work while they are gone (30%), according to the Wrike survey. 

However, we must take a holiday for our mental health. Here are some tips to help you and your employees ensure that they can switch off when they take a break. 

1. Take a break

2. Set an Out-of-Office message

There’s also a fear of what you’re returning to in the office, with 84% of UK workers reporting feeling stressed when they return to work, says Wrike. Reduce stress by setting an Out of Office message that helps to manage expectations. Whilst you might be returning to the office on a set date, the chances are it’ll take a couple of days to catch up. So let people know that they may not receive an immediate response.

We recommend:

  • Be clear about the dates that you’re away
  • Let people know if there’s someone else that can handle queries in your absence
  • Add a buffer for replying to emails on your return

3. Set a flexible email policy

Of those who do take a holiday, many employees say they’re planning to work while on holiday. According to the same report, some 40% of men and 30% of women plan to work while away. 

4. Have an open conversation

Start a conversation with your employees about holidays. Are they avoiding taking them because of stress? Ask them what you, as an employer, can do to help minimise the stress. For example, can you have a meeting before they go away and help prioritise the workload? A FREE ClearTalents profile brokers conversations between employers and employees about reasonable adjustments, mental health and more. 

5. Encourage employees to take all their annual leave

Make taking a holiday a positive thing that you encourage. Planning will help reduce stress. You could set up a shared calendar where people can add their holidays to ensure there are enough people left in the office to temporarily take the strain.