Christmas is meant to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year – but too often real life doesn’t get the memo.
For many people the festive season is all about family, gifts and parties, but for plenty of others it just represents stress. Worrying about what presents to buy and whether you can afford them, forking out for nights out and new outfits, buying extra food.
These seasonal pressures can manifest in both our home and our work lives. It can be especially challenging for people working in businesses such as retail or hospitality, where Christmas is the busiest time of the year. Even organisations that are not dependent on Christmas often have end of year deadlines that increase pressure at this time.
You can’t wave a magic wand and completely take the worries and chaos out of your employees’ lives. But there are some straightforward, low-cost ways you can make things that little bit easier.
Don’t be a Scrooge
An annual bonus or gift or the promise of additional leave come high on the list of many workers desires according to the Love2shop Employee Value Report 2023. Love2shop is a leading provider of corporate reward programmes with decades of experience.
The Employee Value Report 2023 reveals 57% of people said days off, multi-retailer gift cards or flexible working are the best workplace rewards.
Taking a common-sense approach often works best. Unlike Dickens’ famous Ebenezer Scrooge, who saw taking Christmas off as an ‘inconvenience’, you can be a bit more flexible at this time of year. For example, allowing people to work from home a little more can help support those with families.
And a few hours off to allow parents to see a child’s nativity play or Christmas concert, without it coming off their holiday entitlement, would be welcomed by many.
We know that at least some of the weekdays in between Christmas and New Year are technically normal working days. But it tends to be a quieter time for many businesses, so maybe offer extra time off or shorter days during this period to compensate for any increase in pre-Christmas pressure.
Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy workforce
This is also a good time to remind people of the workplace benefits they already have access to. That could be reduced gym memberships or helplines that offer one to one support at times of stress or crisis. Anything you offer that helps support mental or physical wellbeing will not only help them cope, but make them feel cared for.
It can also be a good idea to introduce your team to some basic relaxation, breathing or mindfulness techniques that can help them if they are feeling overwhelmed during the day. HR may be able to arrange a short taster session in the office at relatively little cost.
But, as the Love2shop survey points out, tangible rewards can also prove invaluable when it comes to supporting your staff. Other findings included:
- 34% of people would spend a multi-retailer gift card from their employer on the weekly shop. 12% would spend it on school essentials for their children
- Six-in-10 employees said spontaneous gifts or gifts or vouchers at key times of year (like Christmas) would make them feel more valued.
- 90% said a surprise gift of a multi-retailer gift card would make them feel more valued.
Love2shop is one of the best known gifting brands in the UK. Available as a physical voucher, gift card, email or smartphone voucher, Love2shop is accepted by around 150 retailers.
These include well-known brands such as Marks & Spencer, Iceland, Matalan, Argos, Costa, Harvester, Tui, Jet2Holidays and many more.
What’s important to remember is that this isn’t just about Christmas. Since the pandemic the phenomenon of people being prepared to switch jobs to improve their own circumstances has grown rapidly.
People still want to be paid well, but they also want to work in places they feel valued, where achievements are rewarded and where wellbeing is seen as an intrinsic part of business performance.
People want to know their employers genuinely care about them as people. A little investment this Christmas could reap long-term dividends in terms of staff retention, productivity and higher revenues.
If you want to implement an employee engagement programme that delivers long-term benefits for your team and your business, contact our expert advisers here to discuss Love2shop’s Engagement Platform and our Gift Card, Contactless Gift Card and e-Gift Card options.