office party

While the holiday season brings joy and excitement, the 6 weeks of celebration, from Thanksgiving to New Years, are a challenge when it comes to balancing work, stress, and home life. Decreased productivity, an increase in illness, excess food and drinks, and hectic schedules coincide all at once. This combination often leads to healthy habits being left to the wayside during the holiday season and through winter.

You can help keep your employees focused on their well-being and health goals at the end of the year by trying out these tips around the holidays:

Support Emotional Health

A survey from 2015 found that 44% of people said they were stressed during the holidays, with more than 18% reporting being “very stressed” (Holidays Can Be Stressful. They Don’t Have to Stress Out Your Team). Increased stress around the holidays can mean more employees who need support. More family obligations, the pressure to cook meals, buy presents, and missing family members can all play a role in how an employee perceives the holidays. An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a great option to have available. Covering mental health counseling, legal support, financial resources, and more, employees can confidentially use these services at no additional cost to them as needed to get the help they require.

On top of providing resources for your workers to get help, encouraging, and allowing for PTO is important. Taking time off is a form of self-care and a sign that the employee is focusing on their well-being. Productivity may be higher when someone is allowed to take time off to run errands rather than them sitting at work thinking about everything that needs to be done. Allow for PTO to truly be time off and have no expectations of someone checking in or answering emails.

If you’re able to splurge a little around the holidays, bringing in professionals to perform massages, hosting breathing or mediation classes, or offering free yoga classes can be a great way to show your appreciation and your support of an employee making their emotional health a priority.

Offer Healthy Options

Picture it: Your employee break room is filled with a variety of baked goods, sweets, and other dishes that aren’t the healthiest choices set to celebrate the holidays. Having these sorts of foods available to employees can lead to unhealthy habits, weight gain, and can be detrimental to managing stress. Eating more sugary foods and less foods filled with nutrients can have an impact on overall mental health by causing an imbalance in brain chemicals. The average American adult consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar in an average day. That’s 13-16 more teaspoons than the daily recommendation! How much of this is coming from your breakroom? (Health: Sugar and the holidays)

Balance out the sweet treats this season by offering healthy snacks in the break room. Stock the fridge with fresh options, like fruits and vegetables, nuts, low-fat cheese, and yogurt. Apply this same technique to potlucks or lunches you hold. Find healthier options to cater your event or promote a healthy holiday potluck. Encourage employees to try a new recipe or swap recipe ingredients to make their traditional recipe healthier!

You could even hold a contest to see who can make the tastiest healthy holiday recipe. Have everyone vote on their favorite and award the winner with a gift card. An event like this will not only provide employees with more nutritious options to help them stick to their goals but can also boost office morale around the holiday season.

Encourage Wellness Challenges

Another way to boost morale, make health a priority, and keep employees engaged over the holidays is to host a wellness challenge. A focus on gratitude, activity and exercise, self-care, or weight maintenance are just a few ideas that work well around the holidays. It not only has the employee focus on their health, but they can also include their family members to join in on the fun, so everyone is getting involved.

One participant who is enrolled in the Corporate Health Partner’s wellness program told their coach about holiday challenges: “I love the weight maintenance challenge we hold each year over the holidays because it makes me more mindful about what I do. I think twice before going for that second plate of food because I know my health coach is going to be checking my weight after the holidays!”

Offer incentives for employees to participate and create a little friendly competition by forming teams or sending out a weekly leaderboard!

Want to learn more about EHG and the Wellness Challenges we offer? Contact a health representative.

Don’t forget that employees who feel appreciated are more likely to feel motivated to be productive around the holidays and will continue engaging in work. Make sure you take the time to try out the tips above and don’t forget to thank your workers for a job well done, whether that is face-to-face or in a personal holiday card. Communication goes a long way in making an impact!

About the author

Lizzie Waldo

Lizzie, one of EHG's Client Success Managers, completed her Dietetic Certificate and Internship at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist and Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine. Her interest in nutrition and exercise field comes from a passion for helping people meet their goals. Being a part of someone’s health journey by listening, providing them with accountability, and encouraging them every step of the way has been the source of her coaching success.

Engagement Health Group