How can we keep stress levels low and the management headaches minimal this time of year? Here are some ideas for limiting holiday-caused hassles within the office environment.
1. Review and remind employees about holiday policies ahead of time, and stay consistent with your practice’s employee handbook.
- Make sure employees know exactly when the office will be closed, all relevant scheduling details, and when/how they can use time off, especially around paid holidays.
- Clearly communicate that attendance at any office parties or holiday events is not mandatory.
- As much as possible, schedule any parties or activities well in advance.
- Don’t try to make changes to any holiday bonus policies at the last minute.
2. Be sensitive to those who celebrate in different ways and to different extents.
We all know not everyone celebrates the same holidays or in the same way, but it’s also important to keep in mind that some people don’t celebrate at all, or find the holidays depressing.
- Non-participation in your office party, or during any seasonal volunteer or charity event, must not be penalized in any way. Employees have the right not to take part, and may have a number of reasons for their decision (time, cost, stress, family, etc.).
- Likewise, employees may or may not wish to participate in company gift-giving for a variety of reasons – make sure it’s optional and that there is no undue pressure to take part.
3. As always, keep things religion-neutral, both in the office and at any company-hosted festivities.
- Keep invitations, decorations and traditions secular.
- Avoid prayers or other religious overtones at company-sponsored events attended by owners and/or managers.
- If an employee requests time off for a religious reason, try to accommodate it if possible. Failing to do so can create discord and legal vulnerability.
4. Be aware of the special stresses that come along with this season, and be prepared for all contingencies!
Most of us have a lot to juggle at this time of year: extra family and social obligations, travel and expenses, cold/flu season, short-staffed offices, and numerous other burdens. Any one of these can take their toll.
- If any employee coaching or management decisions are called for, make sure your actions are well-documented and in accordance with your overall policies.
- Remember that a great holiday attitude starts with you! Doctors and management have influence when it comes to the mood of the office. Try to stay positive even if you’re stressed yourself.