For small business owners, entrepreneurs, and freelancers like you, business activities and holiday festivities often fill the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. If you’re a retailer, you might be counting on holiday shopping revenue to fill in slow spots from earlier in the year. Are you a real estate professional? Perhaps you’re focused on closing deals in December to end the year on a high note. If you and your team feel pressure from extra work and long days, taking advantage of these top tips for managing holiday stress may help everyone cope, enjoy the holiday season, and start the new year with renewed energy.
Review the Year and Set Priorities
Looking at the successes and challenges you overcame during the year can often motivate you to push through to December 31. If you make a chart of the year’s goals, benchmarks, accomplishments, and shortfalls, you’re able to put things in proper perspective. Assembling your team, sharing your findings, and hearing their feedback helps everyone focus on what needs to happen for a strong year-end finish.
Setting priorities relieves the tension that comes with trying to do too much without clear direction about what’s most important for the business. You might decide to let some things wait until after New Year’s Day and focus on activities that position you for future success. Say you’re a retailer with a brick-and-mortar boutique, and your inventory includes some slow-moving items. A top priority might be increasing revenue by 10% in December compared to last December. Consider putting the slow movers on sale before Christmas and tying them in with related popular items. That way, you get them out of your store, boost your cash flow, and make room for items that sell. Ask your staff for tie-in and upselling ideas, and think about offering a special gift to everyone who submits an idea and a bonus to the person whose idea generates the most sales.
Establish Realistic Goals
Making realistic year-end goals helps everyone stay focused on their assignments, and it also feeds into a sense of accomplishment and encourages high spirits. Say you want to boost year-end sales by a certain figure. Is it realistic for each sales team member to make 10 additional calls a day? To help manage holiday stress and pressure, consider having them reach out to customers who haven’t made a purchase in the past six months, combined with new calls.
Need More Breaks and Flex Time?
You and your employees should take short breaks throughout the day to soak up some daylight. Research shows short breaks improve employees’ productivity, acuity, and alertness, while helping them manage their stress levels more effectively. Flex time in your workplace can be a great stress reliever during the holiday season.
Employees worried about finishing their shopping or getting to their children’s school holiday play on time aren’t focused on work. Accommodating reasonable employee requests, perhaps to come in late or to take long lunches, helps employees meet the demands of their personal lives, reduces stress, and creates goodwill for when you need them to spend extra time in the office next year for the new big project. Alternatives such as splitting, sharing, or swapping shifts for working around personal obligations are practical solutions that enable employees to cover their workloads. If you give them the freedom to do so, coworkers usually figure out how to get it done themselves.
Put Some Fun in the Workplace
Creating a lively atmosphere in the working environment goes a long way toward managing holiday stress. You might decorate with seasonal colors, host a holiday bash, hold contests, or set up a white elephant gift exchange. Show your employees you care about them and their well-being with personal touches. Activities such as these bring levity and laughter to your workplace, resulting in happier employees who pass their joy on to clients and customers.
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