According to the greeting cards and television commercials,
the holiday season should be nothing but merry, jolly, happy fun. But as anyone
who has juggled a job, family responsibilities, and a whole host of other
seasonal obligations surely knows, the reality isn’t always quite that simple.
Although the holidays are a wonderful time of year, they
often entail a whole lot of hustle and bustle that can really pile on the
stress. For many workers in the hospitality industry, the holidays are the
culmination of one of the busiest periods of the year. Add to that financial
worries, scheduling concerns, gift shopping, off-the-clock parties and
entertaining – and before too long, the stress and anxiety can start to
overwhelm the seasonal glee and fellow-feeling.
There’s one key factor that separates holiday stress from
garden-variety tension and anxiety: it’s highly predictable and largely
preventable. Unlike other stressful life events that tend to rear their ugly
heads unexpectedly, the holidays come around at the same time every year.
According to HR consultant Peter Burki, the annual nature of holiday-related
stress offers employers a unique opportunity to lend their workers an extra
helping hand during this often-trying time of year.
Implementing a few simple techniques geared toward
alleviating your team’s holiday stress is a win-win solution – you’ll help your
employees enjoy the season, you’ll ensure that their performance won’t be
adversely impacted during a key busy period, and your organization will embody
the ethos of care and generosity that defines the holiday spirit. Here are some
ideas to help your team members dodge the holiday doldrums.
For many in the hospitality
industry, the holiday season is one of the busiest times in the year. Don’t let
this peak period sneak up on you! Make sure you’ve begin the planning and
scheduling process as soon as the leaves begin to turn – or even earlier. Ask
team members to provide their leave requests and seasonal schedules as soon as
In the interest of fairness, it’s
usually a good idea to establish a seasonal scheduling policy that sets forth
the minimum hours that you will expect from each team member during the
holidays. However, since many employees will be traveling or housing guests, do
your best to accommodate reasonable requests for changes.
No one can predict their holiday traffic and staffing
needs with crystal-ball perfection, but it’s important to make the most of the
resources and data at your disposal to make the best estimates possible.
Overstaffing or understaffing during the holiday season can result in
not-so-jolly employees, so aim for accuracy and adjust schedules as necessary
as the season unfolds.
Double shifts, split shifts, shared shifts, swapped
shifts – everything’s fair game when it comes to holiday staffing and
scheduling. Demonstrating an openness to out-of-the-box staffing solutions will
help your employees cruise through the holiday season with a minimum of fuss
Sure, the holiday season can be stressful, both on and off the clock.
But try to set aside some time each day to celebrate the diverse values and
traditions that make this time of year special. Small gestures like seasonal
treats, holiday-themed contests and games, and special prizes can help defuse
some of the tension that your super-busy staff is likely to be shouldering.
Hospitality industry employers are in a unique position to
help their team members take the edge off of work-related holiday stress. Make
the most of it and spread the good will this season!