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Photo of a young woman having a virtual happy hour with her friends; enjoying a glass of wine in the living room of her apartment while having a video call with a group of friends.

The most wonderful time of year can quickly turn into the most stressful time of year for many people. Nearly 80% of workers said that balancing extra demands at home with work tasks is the No. 1 source of holiday stress, according to a study by the American Management Association.

There are plenty of ways an employer can give back to employees during the holidays—and we’re not talking about the annual fruitcake giveaway.

Give the gift of time

As noted in the AMA study, several workplaces have instituted the idea of a “shopping day.” Basically, it’s a rebranded vacation day—but one that’s taken between Thanksgiving and Christmas so employees can get some of those holiday errands taken care of during the workweek.

Stay flexible

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that remote work or a hybrid schedule won’t tank your businesses. The AMA study notes that more than half of its respondents say that the availability of flexible hours during the holidays is a big stress reliever. If a shopping day isn’t going to fit into your workplace, then allowing an hour or two here and there might be what works best for your team.

Consider no party

Gasp! Holidays without a holiday party? Would that ruin Christmas spirit? Or would it give your employees one fewer thing to schedule? A study from MetLife found that 37% of employees opt out of holiday parties because they take place after-hours and interfere with childcare or responsibilities outside of work. The holiday party can be a great way to reward your team, but make sure it isn’t backfiring.

Accept that December is different

Nearly 60% of workers report declines in productivity starting in mid-December, according to the data analysis firm Peakon. Rather than ramp up the expectations, which can lead to more stress, readjust goals or see if any of those year-end projects can be pushed back into early next year.

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