Festive fatigue | Is December the worst month for employee wellbeing?

Is December the worst month for employee wellbeing?

After an extremely exhausting year, December is once again here and with it, the end of 2022. For some, December is month of celebration. Staff generally get some time off to be with family and friends, whilst workplaces offer out end-of-year bonuses and organise festive parties.

Yet, instead of merriment and festivities, for many it seems that this December is a time of acute stress. In fact, new data from Visier has found that around half of Brits believe that the 12th month of 2022 will be the most stressful.

According to the survey data, more than a third (36%) of Brits feel more stressed about the festive season this year when compared to last year, citing the cost-of-living crisis (79%), being able to afford Christmas presents (55%) and fear of new year redundancies (18%) as key reasons why.

Festive Fatigue

Due to economic uncertainty throughout the year, it’s no surprise that the festive season brings with it anxieties over cost and financial instability. Yet, it’s not just money that’s making Brits feel increasingly overwhelmed by the festive season this year.

The online survey of 2,006 full time employees who work at organisations employing more than 250 people in the UK, reveals that more than two thirds (67%) of employees currently feel burnt out, with many simply not having the energy to carry on into December.

A further 57% admit to feeling more burnt out than they did at this point last year.

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The data points to a worrying trend; more than a third (36%) of Brits still have more than ten days of annual leave allowance left to use before the end of the year, further signalling a clear cause of exhaustion and burnout.

“December should be a time of celebration; a time to unwind, spend time with the family, and celebrate the successes of the past year. But 2022 has not been a normal year,” notes Ian McVey, EMEA MD at Visier.

“Understandably, employees are tired, and feeling concerned about the current economic climate we find ourselves in. The challenge for businesses is the knock-on impact that these feelings of fatigue will be having on employee morale, and overall business performance. Employees will look to their employers for support, direction and reassurance through the turbulent times ahead,” he adds.

How should you manage seasonal burnout?

Communicate with your team, openly and honestly

There are tough times ahead, so it’s important to take your team on the journey with you and ensure they understand the tough decisions you have to make. In fact, nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) said more transparency into the business strategy for the year ahead and the organisations financial performance would help to alleviate feelings of stress in the workplace.

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Ignore wishful thinking and trust the data

Ensure that you are capturing the right insights on your team to get a sense of how they are currently feeling. Detailed analysis of resignation rates, pulse surveys and absence data can in fact paint a clear picture of burnout. And correlating these findings with business results helps leaders to understand why and where investments are required to reduce burnout.

Let the data patterns do the talking

Businesses should look at their data to determine patterns among specific demographics, such as whether there is a link between gender, remote working arrangements, and the perception of employee performance as work related stresses affect people differently.

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