Managing People / Next Gen


DO YOU HAVE PRE-HOLIDAYS STRESS?The pre-holiday wrap up can really increase the stress levels within your teams. I’d like to share some ways to help you make the most of the season (and the lead up to). We tend to notice a rise in employee complaints, performance issues, team conflict and sick days during the lead-up to the summer holidays.

Right now is the exact right time to explore some common challenges your staff may be facing during this time and how, as leaders, you can support them, help them enjoy their break and them back refreshed in 2015.

The pressures


Extended families coming together at this time of year can really be stressful and cause potential conflict. People can feel dragged back into old family roles and dynamics they have worked hard to distance themselves from, and this can be very frustrating.

On the other hand, absence of family and friends is also an issue. Employees who are estranged from their family or have few friends outside work can feel isolated and despondent over the Christmas break as they’re left with their own thoughts and without their usual routines to distract them.


For people who barely keep their head above water during the year, living with a maxed-out credit card, Christmas can certainly cause some anxiety. They’ll worry about how to give their family a nice Christmas experience with the associated cost of food, drinks and gifts.


When clients, colleagues, other departments, suppliers and senior managers are all requesting a pre-Christmas deadline, it can put the crunch on employees who need to put in extra hours to deliver.


With the pace and intensity of work these days, getting to the end of the year can feel like crawling across the finish line of an iron man competition. The realisation that, after a week or so of rest, a person must begin doing it all over again can be overwhelming.

There are signs you can look out for, and here are 3 ways to help colleagues deal with pre-holiday stress.

  1. Look out for warning signs.

While some level of stress is normal, and actually desirable for high performance, there’s a point where it stops being ‘just stress’ and becomes something more. Symptoms like irritability, conflict with colleagues, angry outbursts, avoiding people or difficulty completing tasks, where these symptoms present for an extended period and are out of character, can indicate a mental illness.

  1. Review Workloads.

Under-resourcing is a fundamental contributor to chronic stress and burn-out, especially in organisations with fast-paced, ‘just get it done’ cultures. Leaders who experience patterns of stress claims and absenteeism in parts of their business should look closer to see if the workloads and resourcing are appropriate in those areas.

  1. Say ‘Thanks’

Send a personal email or, better yet, sidle up to the person and let them know you appreciated their help this year and that you’re looking forward to working with them next year. Whether you’re a leader acknowledging a team member or a team member saying thanks to a colleague in a support department, it shows that we respect that person’s abilities and their contribution to the team. It doesn’t have to be a formal presentation or elaborate awards night. Sometimes a quiet, genuine and personal thanks works better.

If you want to hear more about how you can help your teams cope with the pre-holidays stress and get your teams motivated ready for return of work before the end of this business year, join me online and register your details below for my “Motivate Your Team” webinar: