More than half of employees feel stressed in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with most calling for employers to allow for more flexibility

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According to a survey conducted by workplace consultants and office design specialists Peldon Rose, 54% of UK employees admitted they feel an elevated amount of stress in the lead up to Christmas. While most companies tend to offer the standard Christmas perks such as Christmas parties (71%), Secret Santa (46%) and team outings (42%), what employees actually want is completely different.

The survey found that the Christmas perks employees desired the most included:

  • flexible hours or early finish (60%),
  • relaxed dress code (34%),
  • team outings/lunches (33%),
  • Christmas tree/office decorations (32%)
  • Christmas party (30%)

Employees desire more flexibility during this time as it will help relieve the stress of purchasing Christmas presents (56%), finishing work and projects (49%), increasing workload to complete (44%) and managing their personal expenses (43%) which were cited as the leading causes of stress.

Unsurprisingly the office Christmas party remains popular amongst workers as 69% believe that these parties help them bond and build better relationships with colleagues and the majority of staff (65%) said they enjoyed attending the office party. There is, however, a minority who see no bonding value in the events.

Provide opportunities for bonding outside of a traditional Christmas party

The survey revealed that 71% of respondents have a Christmas party, the majority of which are held at a venue (78%) compared to the office (7%). While the majority of staff (65%) do enjoy attending their Christmas party and see it as an opportunity to build friendships with colleagues (69%), there is still a large portion (35%) of the workforce who do not enjoy attending their party. Instead of hosting a Christmas party, employers should talk to their employees about what activities they’d like to attend and that will allow for increased staff bonding but also help to reduce holiday related-stress.

Partake in Christmas activities but remind employees of proper party etiquette

Tis’ the season for holiday parties, and while they can serve as an opportunity for employees to unwind and celebrate a successful year, it can also be a time that is fraught with stress for some employees. When it comes to party etiquette, employees name drinking too much (66%), flirting with a colleague/boss (55%) and gossiping about the company or colleagues (51%) as the biggest mistakes to make. To help reduce any worry around the holiday party, employers should speak to their employees and provide gentle reminders of proper party etiquette.

Jitesh Patel, Chief Executive, Peldon Rose, the office design specialists, says:

“While the Christmas holidays are a time of celebration for some, it can also be a time when employees feel more holiday-related stress due to buying presents, finishing projects and managing their personal finances. They also want to partake in social events with their colleagues but often this interferes with their work and personal plans.”

“As our survey reveals, it is clear that employees don’t feel that they have the time or resources to complete all of their holiday-related tasks and even things like Secret Santa gifts can add to feelings of angst because it is just one more personal task to do. While a cheerful work atmosphere is important for boosting morale, employers should recognise that the best way to boost engagement and motivation during the holidays is to provide employees with more autonomy and flexible working and encourage their input on office festivities. When employees feel that they have more control over their work and have more time to complete their personal errands, they will be happier and more productive leading up to Christmas.”