Support Lonely Employees At Christmas

It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Among the buzz and busyness, this period can be the loneliest for many Australians. It results from geographic separation from family, marriage breakdown, illness and even financial stress. All of these situations have a detrimental impact on workers’ physical health and mental wellbeing.

For some, home is not the place to escape these concerns, and they may find workmates as a source of companionship. So, what happens when the office shuts down for the holidays? It can be a very isolating time. Fortunately, there are simple ways to support employees who find the holiday season stressful or lonely.

Here are five ways:

Promote optional activities over the holiday season

There’s more happiness in giving. So, why not organise a group volunteering activity on or close to the holiday period. The choices are many depending on what interests your team. Help at an animal shelter, serve food to the needy or visit sick children in the hospital, remember to make it voluntary and not compulsory.

You’ll be surprised at the effect this can have on both employees who feel alone and those who don’t. It helps in combating loneliness, feelings of isolation and even depression.

Keep budgets in mind

An employee may be feeling stressed for financial reasons. That type of issue is not easy to detect. Be kind and keep work-related celebrations or gift-giving ideas practical. Can staff ‘make’ something rather than buy it? Can they use their talents as gifts instead? For example, your accountant could offer a one-hour basic financial advice coupon rather than another novelty mug.

Create occasions to be active together

Not everyone will be jetting off to some exotic location. For those staying locally, there might be a chance to get moving. A group bike ride, dog walking groups or even a ‘summer fun in the sun’ running group. Make it something everyone can take part in and keep it informal.

Why do it? It’s proven that physical exercise helps in reducing depression.

Use inclusive language

When sending out an all-company holiday message, be mindful of your words. Don’t assume that everyone will be spending time with family and friends; some won’t. Your tone need not be sombre, but be careful and think about how those who will be alone during the holidays.

Talk about help available (all year round)

Tools to support employees in coping with stress and loneliness, like WorkScore’s MindHub, are available all year round. No need to wait for the holiday season to promote it.

The most wonderful time of the year shouldn’t just be about presents. Make it a happy time no matter what your employees’ situation might be. It’s good for their wellbeing and great for happiness.