Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reduce Workplace Stress During The Holidays

Here we go again.  The Holidays.  It is one of the busiest times of the year in resort communities like the one I live, and it can be especially stressful  because it occurs at the beginning of the tourist season when companies are still staffing up and training new employees.  Helping your employees to deal with holiday stress is one of the most important things that you can do as your valued customers arrive in hordes.

5 Tips to Reduce Workplace Stress During the Holidays

Make the First Move To Be Friendly - You have no idea what kind of stress and strain your customer's have endured on their way to your front door, so it is best to welcome them warmly as soon as they enter.  Disarm your customers with kindness before they have a chance to "vent" about what a bad day they are having.   Smile, stay positive, and engage your customer in a conversation (just DON'T ask how their day is!)

Ease up on Criticism of Others - You should heed this piece of advice with your co-workers every day, and especially during the holidays.  Sharon Slayton of puts it best.  "If nothing is likely to physically change in the next 48 hours as a result of anything you say or do, then do not say or do it.  Keep your emotions and your commitments in check with this simple rule."

Ask for Help - When things get busy, ask for help from your fellow co-workers (and even your customers).  The busiest times often sneak up on you.  One moment you have only one customer at the counter, and the next moment you look up to see 15 people queued up behind them.  Don't panic.  Take a moment to call for assistance.  Even if help is slow to arrive, the customers in line will appreciate that you are doing something to help minimize their wait.

Look to Help - During the holiday season, there is always something that you can be doing to help.  If you find yourself with a break in the action, don't lean back and relax as you might normally do.  Somewhere, someone in your company is freaking out.  Do your best to be aware of other staff members who could use an extra hand for a minute or two.

Exercise - It is well documented that mental stress can be relieved by physical exercise.  Dr. Srini Pillay, M.D. reminds us in Psychology Today that you don't have to go to the gym to exercise.  A brisk walk, or even a few quick jumping jacks can be just the trick to kick start your metabolism when you feel stress coming on.  Here in Jackson Hole, where I live, many are fortunate enough to be able to take a quick "ski break," in the middle of the day.  This has the added benefit of reminding us why we live here and why many of our guests are visiting.  What a great conversation starter it is to tell people first-hand how great the snow conditions are.

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