more articles

It’s the festive season and most of us feel a little pressure at some point during it. Pressure on our time, pressure to find the RIGHT gift, pressure at work to meet end-of-year deadlines – or plain old wallet pressure. You’re not alone. This post aims to give some useful ideas to help make day-to-day working life more ‘for the living’ and less for getting a right old stress over.

Employers, read on. Employees – read on too, and why not push for change if any of the points below resonate?


Christmas shopping pressure

Why not give your employees time off dedicated to Christmas shopping this December? Whether they choose to online shop in the workplace or head out into the high street is their call.

Also, make sure the office is fully prepared to accept online purchases so your employees don’t have to be at home to receive them (and make sure they know it’s OK to direct them there).


Wallet pressure

Most of us have one thing in common – we’re all going to spend more money than we usually do. Make sure salaries are paid in good time, along with any bonuses.

Large organisations also have the clout to secure discounts from retailers – and this kind of support works for everyone. Why not approach some local retailers to see if they will offer discounts to your staff? Whether artisanal gifts, chocolate or wine – a few per cent discount will boost the Christmas spirit no end.

You could also encourage a shared forum or board for sharing gift ideas. Most of the time spent Christmas shopping is spent working out what to buy.


Deadline pressure

Pressure in the office to meet deadlines or wipe out the ‘to-do’ list before holiday season? Do your bit to relieve this by offering more flexible working conditions around the festive season.

This will give your employees the time out they need for important family commitments such as seeing their kids’ school performances – without it affecting their holiday allowance.


Fractious relationships

Where there is pressure, relationships can suffer. Make sure relationships are nurtured around this time with plenty of bonhomie and generosity of spirit. Encourage teamwork and provide generously for fun (festive grub or after hours mulled wine is rarely turned down). In essence, don’t just make it about a Christmas party blowout – keep the goodwill fires burning for the duration of the festive season.

Don’t forget those who don’t celebrate Christmas, however – and make sure any festive jollities don’t cause any discomfort.


A new take on Secret Santa

Don’t assume everyone likes the trusty old traditional Secret Santa. To some it’s just one more pressure. Throw caution to the wind and provide the fun gifts yourself this year.

Alternatively, if you want to avoid adding to the rampant consumerism, why not create a personal ‘letter from Santa’ to each employee, thanking them personally for specific contributions they’ve made during the year, either in a personal way (the great way you dealt with Fiona’s meltdown) or in a business capacity (you massively contributed to the success of this project and here are the additional reasons I really value you). Just make it authentic and avoid referring to Fiona’s meltdown with those precise words.


Festive thinking time

Encourage your employees to consider the space between Christmas and New Year as ‘thinking time.’ Whereas strictly speaking they may be working, be realistic about productivity levels during that period.

Ask employees to use that time as space to think about their objectives for 2017, to clear down any admin, and generally just get themselves in good mental shape for the new year.


Gluttony and lethargy

Along with all the fabulous Christmas gluttony can come lethargy or simply a feeling of being nutritionally off the rails. Consider counterbalancing this by offering some healthy office events for all those heaving mince-pie laden bods?

After hours Pilates in the office (if you have the space), some free Zumba lessons once a week or even securing a discounted rate for your staff at a local gym? Eat hard, but burn it off hard, too!



At a time where we tend to overspend on friends and family, you could also get your business involved in a charity and liberate festive cash in a whole new direction. Strengthen teamwork by having a mutual cause to support and help everyone get some perspective beyond this year’s John Lewis advert.

Why not kick off January with a fun raffle made up of unwanted gifts? If there isn’t one this year, use last year’s spoon rest from Auntie Jean. Nobody ever has to know.


Mental wellbeing

Wellbeing has been quite the buzzword in 2016 and we’re glad of it. Why not kick off the day at work with a meditation session at the office over December? Make it just before work officially starts so it’s entirely optional.

If you have a suitable space, either play some ambient music or use a pre-recorded guided meditation for 15 minutes or so. The main thing is to establish a quiet, meditative environment to clear the mind of unwanted clutter and energise for the day ahead. You may even want to extend this beyond December if it proves popular.


Christmas isn’t compulsory

Be fully aware while you organise party season that not everyone loves Christmas and not everyone celebrates it. You may also want to consider leaving the office open over the Christmas period if there is a call for it.

If you’re doing a Santa letter, don’t be afraid to voice your support. Your kind words regarding a recent illness or bereavement may make real positive changes to someone’s state of mind. Hopefully you will have taken enough time this year to know your employees well – and that extends well beyond examining their absence time or achievements.

If you haven’t made time to get to know your employees – this year between Christmas and the new year, why not give yourself time to think about that?