Christmas for most people is a time of fun, presents, and slight over indulgence ..but for some it can be a time of worry, increased stress, or loneliness. The HR team needs to be aware of these aspects of Christmas as not all staff are going to be feeling the traditional Christmas cheer. In the multi-faith workplace, HR also need to be aware that not everyone will want to celebrate the Christian festival.
Caring for Others
Late December is a time of darkness and usually gloomy weather, so it’s natural that many faiths have celebrations including lights, good food, and presents – who wouldn’t want to be cheered up and have something to look forward to at this time of year? But worry about finance, relatives, loneliness, or even food allergies can have a significant impact on the well-being of many of your workers and their reactions to these pressures may be varied. Some may hide their inner worries and seem reluctant to interact with colleagues’ while others may seem to be constantly sharing their ‘misery’ with everyone else. Knowing how to handle people within the business around this time of year can be difficult as there is a societal expectation that everyone is having fun and loving every minute….but I think its important for Team leaders/ Line Managers to be aware that some of their team members may be struggling and they should make time to be there to talk and listen about worries – hopefully reassuring and offering support where needed.
HR Are Not Party Poopers! But…
For some people, the office ‘Christmas party’ is a great excuse to overindulge in food and drink, and in doing so their behaviour becomes unacceptable. I think it is worth any HR department reminding the staff that Christmas, both in and out of the office, still has to conform to relevant HR policies e.g. Anti-Harassment/ Bullying, Alcohol and Substance misuse, Holiday and Sick.
Nobody wants to wake up with a hangover of massive proportions and then face disciplinary action in the New year!
Social media is ever present, and it is guaranteed that if your Christmas Party gets ‘lively’ then someone, somewhere, will be filming and posting it online. Not only can this be used as evidence for any actions that may arise out of the behaviours, but it can severely damage your businesses reputation – what impression will customers, potential new hires, and other organisations get of your business from one such post across all social media channels?!
A good HR department at this time of year is looking to support and advise staff on how to have a good time and make the most of time off with relatives and friends. They can also be there to offer support, and maybe flexibility, around staff requests to take time off or reduce stress by encouraging well-being activities.
Christmas, like many other festivals at this time of year, shouldn’t be about spending, shopping, stressing or over indulging and making a fool or yourself or others ….it should be about sharing warmth, light, and good humour with the people you want most in your life and enjoying the pleasure of doing so…… even if it has to be online!