How to Support Employees Over the Holidays

Covid Holiday Scaled

Editor's Note: The following article has been summarized from its original version, which was first published here.

Normally, end-of-year holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving are a chance to gather and reconnect with friends and family. But this year, things are looking a little less jolly.

As coronavirus cases accelerate, several U.S. cities and states have implemented stricter restrictions on gatherings to try and slow the spread. Health experts warn that a “normal” Thanksgiving could compound the public health crisis and create a “superspreader” event.

But these restrictions could take a toll on the already apparent mental health crisis that came with COVID — and business managers should take this seriously.

Happy workers are more engaged and productive, and workplace well-being can increase organizational performance. There are several ways leaders can help employees deal with their potential sadness and isolation over the wider holiday season:

  • Reach out. Check in with employees individually. Be compassionate, empathetic and understanding toward your employees.
  • Be positive. It’s important to help employees understand how important this is, but doing so is difficult. Many make the mistake of simply telling others to cheer up. The key to encouraging a positive mindset is asking the right questions to help people change their own mindset: for example, prompts about the negative effects of poor mental health and the positive effects of happiness.
  • Make the most of it. Help employees find solutions for this holiday’s disruption. Lots of families are exchanging recipes via email, or cooking together on Zoom. Nothing beats being physically together, but for now, these connections are better than nothing.
  • Provide a sense of companionship. Organize virtual social events for the company over the holiday season.
  • Show appreciation. If some of your employees are working from home, the remote work environment can make it hard to evaluate performance and receive praise. Help keep spirits up by showing your appreciation for the work your employees have been doing.

Overall, make sure to balance supporting your employees in their personal life and respecting their privacy. Even if support gets rejected, it’s better to have offered your support than none at all.

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