‘Tis the season to support your employees’ wellbeing

 ‘Tis the season to support your employees’ wellbeing

Christmas is just around the corner, and while it’s a magical time of year full of celebration, it can also be very challenging for some of your employees – particularly amid the current cost of living crisis.

People are gearing up to spend time with loved ones, share gifts and enjoy the festivities, but at the same time, many are also faced with overwhelming financial demands, work-related stress, emotional pressure and even the prospect of spending Christmas alone.

Supporting your employees’ wellbeing is therefore as crucial as ever over the festive period. Now is the time to consider your approach to wellbeing and make sure you’re looking at it holistically. To do this, it’s important to acknowledge the various challenges being faced across all areas of wellbeing at this time.

Financial wellbeing

Christmas can often lead to people overstretching themselves financially in order to meet various festive demands like buying presents, hosting events and travelling to see family. But, this year, with living costs higher than usual and budgets stretched to the max, more people than ever will be concerned about making ends meet to plan the Christmas they love. 

Recent research from PayPlan found that over half of parents will rely on their credit cards to cover their essential living costs this Christmas. While it’s often harmless to pop things on the credit card, when done excessively it can cause serious financial problems later down the line.

The result of all this? Lack of money, financial uncertainty and even debt.

Financial education is therefore absolutely crucial in order to help your employees plan and track their spending over Christmas. It’s all about encouraging your employees to be realistic about what they can spend and helping them make sensible decisions with their money, so they don’t end up in trouble.

Another way you can give your employee’s financial wellbeing a boost, both during the festive season and beyond, is by giving them access to a variety of everyday shopping discounts. With a shopping discounts scheme like the one we offer, your business could help its employees make great savings on food, fashion, gifts and homeware as well as travel expenses and much more from high street shops, big online brands and top supermarkets.

Social wellbeing

For most, Christmas is all about spending time with loved ones whether that’s close friends or family. However, for some people, it can be an exceptionally lonely time of year. Especially this year, with the cost of living crisis causing people to adapt, scale back or even cancel festive plans altogether.

The social interactions we have as well as our relationships with family, friends and colleagues can play a huge part in our overall wellbeing. This is why social wellbeing has become an increasingly important focus in the workplace. Having the opportunity to socialise with colleagues and forge positive relationships can make a huge difference to an employee’s wellbeing, especially during a social time like Christmas.

It’s therefore important to ensure you nurture your employees’ social wellbeing by organising events that bring everyone in your business together. From Secret Santa to a Christmas party, efforts can be made on a team, department or company-wide level to unite your employees. An open, inclusive and strong culture also supports employees’ social wellbeing. So, if you can detect gossiping or there’s a clear division among employees, it’s time to think about how you can resolve this.

Colleagues that have good relationships with each other tend to work better and in general, there’s a much better atmosphere in the workplace when this is the case. For many employees, it can have a really positive effect on their wellbeing and transform what could’ve been a very lonely Christmas into one that’s shared with others.

Physical wellbeing

Christmas is a great opportunity to take a break and for many of us, it’s an excuse to indulge (mince pies and mulled wine, yes please!). This momentary respite from the stresses and strains of everyday life is of course necessary, but many people tend to overdo it over Christmas to the detriment of their physical wellbeing. Come January, people tend to return to work feeling even more tired and lethargic than they were before the Christmas break.

Here are some helpful tips you can give your employees to support their physical wellbeing over the festive period.

1. Get some fresh air

Time spend outside, whether it’s a country walk or city stroll, is a great way of fitting in some light exercise over Christmas time. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous, but encouraging your employees to get their bodies moving from time to time will keep their energy levels and prevent them from feeling so lethargic when they come back to work.

2. Indulge but don’t overdo it

From mince pies and pigs in blankets to mulled wine and hot chocolate, most people will agree that Christmas wouldn’t be quite the same without indulging in festive food and drink. However, encourage your employees to try and maintain a healthy balance. This way, they’ll feel a lot less sluggish and be less likely to feel the need to embark on a severe diet in January.

3. Rest and relax

With late nights, days out and trips to see loved ones on the cards over Christmas, many employees can come back to work feeling more tired than they were before. While the festive period is about socialising and having fun, it’s also a well-needed opportunity for your employees to take a break. Encourage your employees to set aside some time to properly rest and relax over this busy time. This will mean they’re more likely to come back to work feeling energised, motivated and ready to get stuck in.

Most of the areas we’ve touched upon tie into emotional wellbeing and mental health. Stress, anxiety, depression and low mood can derive from the various pressures and demands that come with Christmas and the end of the year.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is also a very real issue which is often triggered during the Winter months. So, while an employee might not seem to have any palpable problems or be suffering from a mental illness, their emotional wellbeing might still be challenged at this time of year

To combat this, make sure to include important information about relevant mental health support services in your internal communications during this period. Encouraging your employees to get mental health support if they need it over Christmas is crucial. There’s an expectation that we’re all supposed to be happy at Christmas, but this isn’t always the case. Let your employees know that it’s ok to not feel ok at this time and any time of year.

Hopefully this has given you some food for thought about how Christmas can come with many different challenges to employee wellbeing. If you’re interested in giving your employees access to a suite of wellbeing services through one easy-to-use platform, you can find out about our health and wellbeing solution, here.

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