Managing end-of-year work stress

Last updated: 08 December 2021

Get tips to support your staff to stay mentally healthy during the busy holiday period.

man delivering packages wearing a mask

Industries most impacted by the festive season

Most industries face unique challenges prior to the holiday season. However, those working in retail, hospitality, travel, transport, postal, and logistics all see a significant annual spike in demand at this time of year. This increased demand can lead to workers in these industries experiencing higher levels of pressure and stress.

Managers and business leaders have a legal responsibility to identify and manage mental health risk factors in the workplace. A key risk during this time is inadequate resourcing, which can put strain on employees, leading to lower engagement and a potentially negative impact on workers’ mental health. A lack of support can also lead to poor relationships across the organisation, making leadership less effective at managing staff performance or morale.

Tips for supporting staff 

  • Plan ahead: It’s important leaders understand how to plan for the right support and resources early. Recruiting and onboarding casuals early can reduce stress by providing time for all employees to understand their capacities and expectations, while keeping new staff informed of their Work, Health and Safety (WHS) obligations. 
  • Give and get support: Leaders should recognise those who are struggling during this time, whether that’s due to their increased workloads, isolation, loneliness, financial or family stresses.  Employers should also ensure all staff have access to the right information, support services and opportunities to discuss their mental health and wellbeing in a welcoming environment.
  • Build your culture: Any organisation facing a busy and difficult holiday season should be provided with opportunities to connect as a group. Creating a sense of community helps maintain an open and positive environment where staff feel supported.
  • Recognise achievements: Recognising and rewarding good performance helps build a culture people want to work in. Recognition and reward can be achieved through career development, training opportunities, certificates of achievements or awards.
  • Provide training: The NSW Government offers free training and coaching to help promote, manage, and support mental health in your workplace.
  • Take a pulse check: Find out how mentally healthy your workplace is and get tailored recommendations for improvement using our free Workplace Pulse Check tool.

By providing a positive environment and the support necessary, your business can keep staff safe for a productive and enjoyable holiday season.


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