01 December 2016

Tis the season to be jolly… and healthy and motivated

With the festive season fast approaching The Health Insurance Group is offering some top advice and tips on how to help keep your employees healthy and motivated throughout the Christmas period.

Brett Hill, Managing Director for The Health Insurance Group comments, “Christmas is a time of good cheer and festive fun with numerous office Christmas parties and events. But for some it can also be an extremely stressful time, trying to juggle all the commitments and additional jobs and tasks that need to be fitted in before the big day, while coping with the additional stresses that come with entertaining a house full of friends and relatives, and the accompanying financial pressures .”

“It is good if employees are given the chance to let their hair down and have a bit of extra flexibility to reward them for all their hard work but it is also key for employers to recognise the tell-tale signs if a member of staff isn’t coping and give them additional support.”

Top tips

  1. Introduce Christmas Incentive package - employers may want to implement workplace saving schemes so that staff save money throughout the year and receive a lump sum in November or simply collect vouchers for high street stores which can be used at Christmas
  2. Try and keep to a healthy diet - it is easy to reach for the endless supply of chocolates and treats lying around the office but this can just give you an instant high followed by a sugar crash. Healthy snacks will keep your energy levels raised and your blood sugar level balanced. This not only means that you’ll be able to get more done with ease, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the things that are worth enjoying. Also, offer staff the chance to attend healthy eating workshops to help people survive the excess of food and drink over Christmas
  3. Offer flexible working policy to staff when needed but be consistent - there are endless commitments over Christmas such as children’s Christmas plays and the endless invitations to Christmas drinks. Giving your employees some flexibility and time off to enjoy those treasured moments or an afternoon off because of several late nights entertaining clients can lead to a more motivated and valued workforce.
  4. Be clear on what you expect during working hours - it is also important to be clear to your employees what you expect from them during December. If you are at year end and have targets that need to be reached, then get everyone’s buy in and the month will go much smoother
  5. Remember that not everyone has family - Christmas can be a difficult time for many people, especially those who recently lost loved ones through bereavement or family break up. Remind your managers to keep an eye out for those in their teams who may struggle with the festive period and may need some extra support. If your company provides an Employee Assistance Programme then make sure your staff are aware of the service it provides, and how they can get in contact.   
  6. However, have some fun in the office - arrange an office Christmas quiz, team night out or secret Santa presents to have some fun with each other in the office. If Secret Santa has lost it’s appeal, put a new twist on it by inviting staff to donate presents to a local charity instead, such as a local care home or children’s hospice, as a way of giving something back to the community.
  7. Encourage staff to keep active - encourage staff to get out and keep active by creating lunchtime walking groups. Fresh air can clear the mind and a brisk walk can help burn off some of the calories consumed, for example in a 30-minute brisk walk you can use up to 200 calories. The recommended 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on at least 5 days a week can help prevent and manage over 20 health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, and mental health.
  8. Thank your people - many companies are starting to focus on the coming year in December, and it’s easy to get swept away in the rush towards year end, but January is renowned for the month when people start to change jobs. It is important to keep staff motivated so be sure to make time and effort to show your appreciation for what they have achieved throughout the year, that way  they come back after Christmas still engaged and ready to get on with the job in hand.

Overall, the most important thing is for employers to try and wind down as much as possible, and not flog people hard up to Christmas day. But also, especially recognise the efforts of those staff members who are required or choose to work over the Christmas period.

We wish you a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year