I was interviewed in the following article for the Inova Workplace Health Newsletter which was distributed to 3300 HR professionals and Brokers
Stress and the Holidays
Tips to Help Your Employees Stay Focused and Productive
For most people, the holidays are happy times, filled with joy and celebration. But for others – especially those struggling with financial, family or substance abuse issues – the season can amplify feelings of stress or depression.
In the workplace, holiday stress impacts productivity. “Employees facing personal or financial problems take more time off during the holiday season, and those who do come to work are often distracted,” explains Rodney Orders, LCSW, LCSW-C, LICSW, SAP, Manager, Clinical Services, Inova Employee Assistance (IEA). “We call this ‘presenteeism’ – employees are present, but their minds are elsewhere.”
What can businesses do to keep employees engaged and productive? Here are some ideas from the front lines:
•Health & Benefits Fairs – As the holidays approach, many companies schedule health and benefits fairs. These events not only showcase available benefits, but also let employees know there is help for family-life issues if they need it. Innovative organizations use this opportunity to partner with the local yoga studio or gym to highlight healthy lifestyle resources in the community.
•Extra Time Off – A recent business trend is to give employees some extra time off at the end of the year. For example, Fairfax County employees will receive an additional 1.5 days of leave in 2010.
•Financial Fitness Seminars – The recession has intensified economic difficulties, so companies offer money management seminars with strategies to survive the holiday season.
•Stress Management Seminars – Savvy companies know that to take care of others, people must first take care of themselves. They provide their employees with tried-and-true tactics to manage stress before it becomes overwhelming.
IEA can partner with your business to reduce workforce stress at holiday time and throughout the year. “Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to employees and their household members,” Orders says. “Everything from an online savings center with great deals on hundreds of items, to Web or telephone consultation and referrals, to free, one-on-one counseling for financial or family issues. IEA is your one-stop shop to keep employees healthy and productive.”