Supporting Employees Through a Challenging Holiday Season

In the time of COVID-19 and our newly imposed self-isolation guidelines and travel restrictions, it is reasonable to expect that this festive season will be a challenging one for many of us. This year more than ever before, it is vital not to underestimate the importance of supporting the most valuable assets of your company: your employees. There are several easy practices you can implement this holiday season to show your employees that you care. Some of them can even become a part of your regular practice for establishing a culture of empathy, understanding and flexibility. Below are a few practical tips on how you can bond with your team, show your support and retain the talent that is essential for your company’s success.

Throw a Virtual Christmas Party

Laughter is the best medicine for the stress and anxiety 2020 may have brought to your team. If you and your employees work from home, then you’re probably familiar with Zoom meetings. Why not add fun to the agenda by throwing a virtual Zoom Christmas party?! Challenge your co-workers to a home office decorating contest to get the creative juices flowing and give the backdrop of their home offices some holiday cheer. Plus, you don’t always get the chance to see all of the tacky festive décor that your co-workers have hiding at home!

The cohesion of a team is another challenge to maintain over the distance of remote workspaces. Get creative and focus on fostering the feeling of a cohesive team with some team trivia contests or Zoom karaoke (but please don’t cause any feedback). Just remember, it’s not embarrassing, it’s just having fun!

Finally, connect with your employees over a glass of your favourite festive drink and cheer each other virtually to a year of hope and progress in 2021!

Show your gratitude

Money may be tight this year for many companies and you may not be able to treat your employees to their usual gifts or bonuses. Most will understand this, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do something meaningful for your staff. You can connect with them on a deeper level. Many people choose their work based on internal motivations (intrinsic factors) and not because of money, bonuses or gifts (extrinsic factors). Take this time to reflect on the shared values you and your employees share, as this is the internal drive, which encourages them to work hard every day. Show them your appreciation for this with a thoughtful letter, praise them publicly or in a one-on-one meeting. Showing that you recognize these internal factors will make your staff feel more appreciated than any gift card for coffee ever could.

Make self-care a priority

Many employers have been taking good care of their employees this year by encouraging them to practice self-care. Have your staff share what they do for self-care on a daily basis. Create self-care challenges amongst staff and encourage them to share pictures or their experiences. You can also create a self-care first-aid kit at work with healthy snacks, a gift card for coffee, sanitizers and masks and fidget-spinners just to mention a few. Lastly, remember the good old saying, “take care of yourself before you can take care of others” has never been truer. If you set a good self-care example, your employees will follow.