The holiday season has always been a stressful time of year for some people. But this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has ratcheted stress levels to a new high, with even the most even-tempered, calm individuals experiencing some anxiety. While a stress-free holiday would be the stuff of pipe dreams, there are things business owners and operators can do to mitigate the situation, at least somewhat.
1. Put Reinforcements in Place
As we discussed in a recent blog, 2020 will be a banner year for holiday e-commerce. Neglecting to ensure that there are sufficient human resources to help with increased demand will cause stress not only for management but for employees themselves as they struggle to keep up with orders and customer service issues. Scheduling extra staff—and outsourcing resources, if needed—should help to minimize stress, of this type.
2. Ensure that Technology is Up to Snuff
From server space to payment systems, to websites and in between, continue to monitor technology to be certain that it has the capacity to handle customer traffic, an increased volume of payments, and the like. For merchants of all types, few things are more stressful at holiday time than the “double-whammy” of scrambling to obtain critical tech support (which may be in shorter supply due to the pandemic) and thinking about business lost to tech trouble. Situations such as this can also put undue pressure on employees, making it doubly important to be prepared.
3. Give Yourself—and Employees—a Break
This doesn’t necessarily mean time off—although providing some for employees to decompress from such pressures as working from home while supervising their children’s online learning AND trying to prepare for some semblance of a holiday celebration is definitely a good idea. It also means giving yourself and your employees a “pass” when it comes to things going wrong in the business. Make the pandemic a catalyst for putting matters in perspective. Mistakes happen—correct them and move on.
4. Do Something—for Someone Else
Studies have shown that performing acts of kindness or other types of volunteer activities is a potent stress reliever. Look for—and support—events or programs in your local community and encourage employees to do the same. Some organizations can hook businesses up with virtual volunteer opportunities.
5. Engage In—and Support—Healthy Eating
Many people have been “stress-eating” since the pandemic started—and are eating or considering eating even more as holiday treats are brought or sent to the office or to remote workers’ homes. Overindulgence in too many food and drink favorites can backfire, though, as the thought of having to undo the damage with a weight loss or detox regime after January 1 will only result in more stress. Enjoy things in moderation—and encourage employees to do so too. If you’re sending treats to employees, think about opting for healthier fare such as fruit or popcorn rather than sugar-laden items.