Help for Employees Who Have the Holiday Blues

Beth Dean 12.09.15
51 Woman Laptopping With Tea

The winter holidays are a time of wonder and wassail, with cocoa and caroling and twinkling lights permeating our senses.

But let’s be honest; the holidays can be flat out stressful. Between the extra financial burden, crowded shopping centers, and family drama, the season can leave employees feeling frazzled. Or conversely, the season of holiday cheer and togetherness could amplify feelings of loneliness for employees who don’t have a family.

Whats a manager to do when employees have the holiday blues? The answer really depends on the person and the nature of the problems.

Stress can be expected during the end of the year, and luckily, there are several ways to combat it, as we recently discussed in another HR Tip. Start by encouraging employees to manage their schedules and make time for short breaks throughout the day.

Another source of relief can be paid time off (PTO) from work. The end of the year is often a difficult one for accommodating extended PTO, but even the most vital employee can usually be spared for at least one day during this time, allowing him or her to handle the additional personal obligations that pop up during the holidays.

Sometimes employees have more than just the holiday blues, though. Seasonal depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, often occurs during winter. While personal health conditions are not the employer’s responsibility to solve, depression may be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and may require reasonable accommodations or time off from work under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

There are several resources to help achieve work-life balance or connect employees to counselors in their area, including Nextep’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). An EAP is a no-cost service for employees, providing advice on every-day issues from a confidential, third-party provider. For more information on our EAP, please contact Nextep’s Benefits Department.

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