"Employee Wellbeing During The Festive Season" as discussed on Comms In A Nutshell

"Employee Wellbeing During The Festive Season" as discussed on Comms In A Nutshell

Comms In A Nutshell is your go to place to listen to discussions with industry experts, global brands and our hosts Vic McEwan & Scott Ritchie about the most pressing topics surrounding the world of work. 

In case you missed episode 2 hosts Vic & Scott delve into the future of work and what that looks like in two parts. 

Part 1 looks at an experiment within Oak Engage and how their New Business & Marketing teams trial a four day workweek and five hour days to see what these work patterns are like and if they could be the answer to the future of work.

In Part 2 Vic & Scott interview Cara De Lange, Founder & CEO of Softer Success,  a wellbeing consultancy who operate on a four day workweek policy. Cara De Lange is a wellbeing expert, author and Founder/ CEO of Softer Success. They discussed how the four day workweek works for Softer Success and Cara’s top tips for relieving burnout and managing your mental health in the workplace. 

Catch up on both parts, here

Comms In A Nutshell #3 

"Employee Wellbeing During The Festive Season"

Christmas is a time of mixed emotions and can sometimes be very high pressure in the workplace. In this episode Vic & Scott chat to Oak’s People Co-ordinator Bryony Solly and here’s what you can learn in this episode:

  • Tips for individuals on how they can look after themselves and unwind this festive period 
  • How employers can support their employees during the festive season
  • Ideas on how to get everyone into the festive spirit - those in the office, those at home and those who are hybrid workers
  • The top areas of wellbeing that businesses should be focusing on and how they can create a festive wellbeing strategy 
  • And as it is December after all, some quick-fire fun and festive questions to get you in the holiday spirit. 

Listen to the episode below and we hope you and your employees have a happy christmas and well deserved break. Until January!

Episode 3 Transcript 

Speaker 1 (00:10):

Welcome to Comms In A Nutshell, your go-to place to listen to discussions with industry experts and global brands about the world of work, internal comms technology and how you can get the best out of your workforce. At the end of each episode, we wrap up all the tips and findings in a nutshell so that you can start implementing them right away.

Speaker 1 (00:37):

Welcome to Comms In A Nutshell, I'm Vic, one of your hosts and I'm Scott, your cohost. And in this episode, we're gonna be focusing on the importance of rest and relaxation over the festive period as we come into December.

Speaker 1 (00:48):

So today we are joined by Bryony, our people coordinator. So for the listeners, do you wanna give everyone a little bit of an overview about you?

Speaker 2 (00:57):

Thanks guys. Hi everyone. I'm Bryony I'm the people coordinator at Oak. I've been, I think, coming up to about four months now. So it's still relatively new, but I have been working in the people world for about five years. Um, I guess I care I'm sort of all about wellbeing care, all about kinda looking after yourself, looking after your body, looking after your mind. Um, so I'm really excited to talk about everything we have today. Excellent. Thank you. Good.

Speaker 3 (01:22):

So I'll, I'll get started then. So why is it important over Christmas for people to focus on rest and relaxation?

Speaker 2 (01:31):

I think it is, it's quite easy to think about Christmas as, um, it kind of it's this it's this moment, but if you think about it, we've all been working really hard for the last 12 months. And while you must have had little holiday, most people haven't really had a proper rest and then something we have kind of quite a long time period of time off. So I just think it's really, really important that we give ourselves this moment. Just kind of switch off and take a breath after kind of take going on through the whole year. It's also really important that we actually give ourselves physically enough time to recover throughout winter we're in the UK here. It's pretty much snowing outside. Um, there's all kinds of bugs illnesses you've still got COVID knocking around. So not kind of burning yourself out physically as well as mentally is really important to just let yourself fully rest and give your body that time to recover.

Speaker 1 (02:21):

Yeah, definitely. And individually that's good. So how can companies kind of focus on helping everybody to wind down kind of in the run up to the festive period?

Speaker 2 (02:32):

Well, as we were just talking about burnout is just such a big risk. And for a company you can lose really valuable skill really quickly if people are for the afore mentioned bugs and illnesses or, or if people are just totally mentally drained from a year of pushing really hard and hard work. And, um, Christmas is quite often a time of big deadlines. Everyone kind of sees that the end of the year is this time where you want to just wrap everything up and get it all done before you go off for a long period of time and then start fresh in the new year. So there's quite a lot of risk there. You could just lose valuable staff.

Speaker 2 (03:11):

I think a really useful thing you can do is try and look at the years as fluid rather than as a kind of start end point mm-hmm <affirmative>. I kind of don't see need that. You need to finish everything by Christmas and start everything fresh in January. Yeah. The whole process can just flow a bit more smoothly in between one to the next, just look at it like a bit of an extended holiday rather than a, a dead stop point. Definitely. Um, and just encouraging people to rest. You know, I think it's great for businesses to get people to, to rest and you'll get the more that investing in your employees, looking after the health wellbeing and resting, the more you are gonna get a, you are gonna get rewarded with a focused, engaged, productive workforce who are still feeling fresh, fit, able to do good work. Yeah, definitely,

Speaker 3 (03:53):

Definitely. So I guess from an employee point of view, what's the best thing that they can do to kind of unplug and unwind over the festive period.

Speaker 2 (04:00):

Yeah, it's a really, really good question. And I think the most important anything any employee can do is to be aware of their own sense of how they decompress. When I talk about decompression, I mean like knowing how you switch off and unwind, there's no one size fits all. Some people walk, some people exercise, some people, you to play video games, there's a huge mix, but knowing yourself how you do that. So you can invest your time in the right way to turn off and mentally, let yourself kind of slow down, put your phone away and your laptop away when you're not working kind of that physical shut switch off is really important and setting personal boundaries of, of when you are gonna do that, but then equally communicating with your team members saying, right, I'm off now, don't contact me kind of thing or try and avoid it.

Speaker 2 (04:52):

Cause if you are in your switch off time and you've got somebody hammering emails at you, it's really hard to properly switch off, then isn't it. So just being transparent with what you're doing, definitely.

Speaker 1 (05:01):

So as a business, what can businesses do to kind of look after their teams and make sure that they're supporting their employees over the festive season?

Speaker 2 (05:10):

Mm-hmm <affirmative> first thing I'd say to that is I do believe it is the individual's responsibility first and foremost. Yeah. As a business, you can encourage people as much as you want, but it is really down to whether the individual will invest in that. However, having said that you can definitely do things as a company. So one of the best things I think you can do is just really vocally encourage people to switch off. Don't set a culture of always on always working.

Speaker 2 (05:37):

One of the easiest ways to do that is to really lead from the top. And if your manager, or as a manager, you are actively showing people that you aren't emailing at silly o'clock in the morning, you know, you are saying, right, it's five 30, I'm turning my laptop off. Now you should do the same. You are gonna influence the business. And that's a really great way of getting people to just properly stop, cuz they'll feel accepted and able to do so. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and then I think as well, you can, over the Christmas period, do things like sort of metaphorically shut the office. So you could set a time where nobody in the business is working and you know, you're encouraging everybody to take two or three days off where the business is closed really.

Speaker 1 (06:18):

Yeah. I like that's having like a clear boundary of like switching off.

Speaker 3 (06:22):

Is it Portugal? Who've made it.

Speaker 2 (06:23):

Yeah. Is the law. Yeah, they have, yeah. You're not, you're not allowed to email after 4:00 PM or something, isn't it? I dunno. I might have made that <laugh>

Speaker 3 (06:32):

I thought it was, it was to do with managers contacting you out of office. It's something like that. Yeah. Yeah. And it's illegal, but they're legal charged apparently.

Speaker 2 (06:40):

I'm kind of, yeah, really. It's fantastic.

Speaker 3 (06:42):

That split between work and personal life, I guess. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (06:45):

Cause I think we spoke about haven't we, when you hear that team's like bing and the fear on a sunday afternoon. I'm not, oh my, yeah.

Speaker 2 (06:56):

I actually think one of the most important things that as a company you can do as well is just be aware that there isn't a one size fits all for Christmas and some people might have a different religion and they might not celebrate Christmas or they might have personal family situations where Christmas actually isn't a really fun thing. Yeah. So just not assuming that everybody has this festive kind of happy experience at Christmas, keeping your awareness of that is really valuable.

Speaker 3 (07:23):

That's good. And it kind of leads us into the next que question, which is around if people do want to get into the spirit of Christmas, how can employers support that kind of in the office or remotely and how do they kind of, you know, support Christmas ?

Speaker 2 (07:38):

<affirmative> I think you need to look at, I would look at this in kind of three different categories of employees that you've got. So you might have in office employees, you might have remote employees, then you could have, um, people who are working hybridly and each one of them kind of needs their own situation. Yeah. So if you're in the office, that's quite easy, you can do all the usual like festive things. You can decorate, you can put some lots snacks out or whatever. Um, a really nice thing you can physically do if you're all together is do a little donations box, kind of do a bit of giving back for charity rather than just making it all about consumption. If you've got people at home then sometimes an internet is useful for that. Cuz you can communicate really clearly with them. You might be able to do a little Christmas festive homepage on your internet or a scheduled homepage. You can post about whatever your Christmas wellbeing strategy is. You can post about financial wellbeing things. Obviously finance is such a, a big, hot topic over Christmas...spending. Yeah. Scary.

Speaker 3 (08:39):

Just coming out a black Friday, Just all the emails, that everyone gets bombarded with.

Speaker 2 (08:45):

It is stressful. All these things do actually add into kind of the Christmas stress. Yeah. So encouraging all of, all the good things that you're doing in, in an internet. It's amazing. Um, I think the other thing for people who are remote or hybrid or based at home that is really valuable is just being aware of the fact that they have chosen to be at home. Yeah. So if you are gonna schedule kind of an online social or something, which is really important to definitely include people who aren't physically in the office. Yeah. Still make sure we have all the relevant meetings and doing something fun with them, but just be mindful of the time you're doing it in mm-hmm <affirmative> because I expect if you've chosen to work from home, you probably want your personal time to be off zoom and off offline.

Speaker 2 (09:30):

Really. Yeah. So my recommendation is if you're gonna have a social or something, do it within working out, always if that's available, you're gonna get much more engagement that way.

Speaker 1 (09:38):

Yeah. Like we have things on Friday morning, don't we? And then it kind of gets you in that Friday mood, but then it's not like, oh, at 5:00 PM on Friday, can you come on for an hour? Exactly.

Speaker 2 (09:47):

Yeah. Like nobody's thinking at that point like, oh Greg, I can't wait to sit on zoom again and spend some more time with my oh colleagues. You wanna go and do their own personal thing by that point.

Speaker 1 (09:54):

You spoke about a Christmas wellbeing strategy. Do you think there's like things that people could take from this that they could include in that like any ideas.

Speaker 2 (10:04):

From what we've already spoken about?

Speaker 1 (10:05):

Yeah. Like maybe key things that you could have in a <laugh> like key things that you could have in a Christmas wellbeing strategy.

Speaker 2 (10:14):

Yeah. I think for, if I, I was doing a Christmas wellbeing strategy, I would be focusing on financial wellbeing, definitely getting some posts about how to kind of spend sensibly and just be, be aware of your own spending really. And kind of understand that you don't need to spend the world and people to give a nice gift. Yeah. I would be encouraging people to focus on maintaining good habits that you might, I built throughout the year and not just letting everything go, just cause it's Christmas. Yeah. I'd be focusing on things like exercise and diet and saying like don't, don't burn out. Don't use alcohol as a way to relax. If you can like definitely have fun, but don't just turn to alcohol as your solution for switching off and, and winding down. Cuz actually you end up tiring physically tying yourself out more as your body works to kind of process this alcohol through your system.

Speaker 2 (11:04):

It's actually really unconducive to rest and relaxation. Yeah. So I would just, I think if I had strategy, I would just, I'd probably do a sort of 30 day thing of Christmas. Like just giving little hints and tips every day of what you can be doing to kind of just be kind to yourself through Christmas period. Yeah. Definitely. I mean, when you start thinking about the consumption, that is Christmas, it's absolutely terrifying. Yeah. The shopping, the booze, the food, the, yule logs, the chocolate cakes the mince pies, your log.

Speaker 3 (11:33):

You pulled out a yule log there is that personal favorite?

Speaker 2 (11:37):

I do love a yule log especially it's got a bit Brandy or something that's lashed in there.

Speaker 1 (11:43):

It's great in the throws of it, isn't it. And you're like, oh I'm eating and drinking and eating, drinking, but then come the week after then when you need to come back to work and you're just full of alcohol and yule log. You feel sluggish, but then that's why it's hard.

Speaker 2 (11:56):

It's why everyone ends up doing like dry January or like V January and all these things, which are great. I absolutely support people who do that. Yeah. But to me it's quite bingey you kind of will like binge and will have nothing mm-hmm <affirmative> and then you'll go back into normality. I think what I was talking about the kind of fluid year, there's no reason why you just need to like hammer it really hard, go completely cold Turkey. You should just be thinking about it as a more fluid situation.

Speaker 1 (12:26):

Yeah. Cause everyone goes into dry jan don't they? Yeah. It's yeah, yeah, no, I like that. Having the balance. Definitely. Yeah, absolutely. And I think were you gonna go, no, you go and I think some of them points that you covered, they kind of link into the next question. Like the areas of wellbeing that people should put a focus on over the festive period.

Speaker 2 (12:39):

Yeah.

Speaker 1 (12:39):

So yeah. Do you wanna cover those?

Speaker 2 (12:39):

Of course.

Speaker 1 (12:39):

Thank you.

Speaker 2 (12:40):

So we, um, we looked at a C, C I P D article for this and they're with, there was six areas that were highlighted as the kind of key areas of wellbeing, which I completely agree with. So you've got health, good work, social, personal growth, good lifestyle choices and financial wellbeing, which we've actually already spoken about in all in, in this already. Mm-hmm <affirmative> but I guess if you are gonna break down each one, I think health, just what we were talking about then, you know, try and avoid the utter gluttony of letting everything you've already done go and just go completely into excess. Good work again. What I mentioned before, just knowing when to switch off and letting people know when you do and just having your own personal boundaries of this is my family time.

Speaker 2 (13:34):

Now this is my personal relaxation time. This is my sort of self care time, whatever it is. Social, I'd say with that, you should be setting personal boundaries and trust yourself that it's okay to say no to something. You don't have to go to every single event cuz again, that's say fall into the excess trap of you're out five nights a week drinking or something. So just do what you feel is right, but say no, if you want personal growth is a great one. Christmas is a time rest and relaxation and you can really use that time to, um, to kind of invest in yourself. There might be something which you have on your agenda for the new years as a resolution. Start it now, you know you as the time <affirmative> yeah. Good lifestyle choices. What we were already saying, you know, don't forget about your usual routine, keep your exercise going.

Speaker 2 (14:23):

If you can try and eat a couple of healthy meals in the mix where you can think, think that fluid process and financial wellbeing, um, just be mindful of your own spending. Try not to get into too much debt if you can. Use anything your business is sharing to, to kind of be aware of that.

Speaker 1 (14:43):

Mm-hmm <affirmative> I think financial wellbeings a massive one over Christmas, cuz I mean, I know I'm a bit like stressed with so many secret santas and I cuz it's the time of year you get everyone gift. You're like, I wanna get everyone something really nice, but yeah, it's important to maybe set budgets.

Speaker 2 (15:00):

Yeah. Set budgets. Or if you do think I'm gonna spend quite a lot more this this month because of Christmas then maybe set yourself a goal of in January, you are not gonna buy yourself any clothes or you're not gonna go out for a meal every week or whatever it might be. Kind of think about how you can recoup that money. So you don't step into the new year. Mm-hmm <affirmative> with a great big pile of debt that you don't know how you're gonna yeah. Claim back.

Speaker 1 (15:24):

A bit of planning and prep. Absolutely. And not just apple pay.

Speaker 2 (15:27):

Absolutely. Yeah. But yeah. Budgets are great. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (15:32):

So, um, in a nutshell, what are your top three tips for ensuring employees rest and relax of Christmas.

Speaker 2 (15:38):

Top three, allowing yourself to switch off and just truly giving yourself that time to rest and recover, I think is really important.

Speaker 2 (15:51):

Being mindful of what you eat and drink is really important and just stopping yourself from falling into the trap of excess. Um, and yeah, I think financial wellbeing is really important as well. And, and using something like a, an intranet to post about send articles around, loads of banks and things have guides. So use that as a space to share your knowledge.

Speaker 1 (16:16):

Amazing super fab. And as it's a Christmas episode, we've got some Christmas quick five questions to throw you.

Speaker 2 (16:24):

<laugh> Okay.

Speaker 1 (16:25):

So do you have any family traditions?

Speaker 2 (16:29):

Yeah, so we are quite, we're quite weird actually. We see how long we can open our presents throughout the day. So we get, we BA <laugh> go again. <laugh> yeah, my family's quite actually we, we basically see how long we can take to open the present throughout the day. So we don't just kind of open all in the morning. It's literally a test of how will powered you can be about opening gifts. So it gets like six o'clock in the evening and we'll suddenly be like, oh, we've all got five presents left. Let's just open them. So then we can have some dinner.

Speaker 1 (16:59):

How long do you last?

Speaker 2 (17:00):

Pretty well, it does normally go on til about a six o'clock.

Speaker 3 (17:04):

I was gonna say is, is there a record?

Speaker 2 (17:07):

Oh, good question. I mean, I have nieces and nephews, so they always win because they've all got about 6,000 presents.

Speaker 1 (17:15):

It's always the case when you get older and then you have, it's something really small, but it's really, really lovely, but it's just like one thing and you're like, oh.

Speaker 2 (17:23):

Yeah, you always know. I always have, you have an idea of what like a present might be. So I kind of think like, oh, open that, cuz I think that might be like a slightly smaller thing and this might be a bit more of a special one. It's all. It's a weird mind game in my family. It's strange.

Speaker 3 (17:37):

Psychological christmas.

Speaker 2 (17:39):

It is <laugh>.

Speaker 3 (17:42):

Uh, what's your favorite Christmas film? I'm sucker for something like the holiday or love actually I just love a romantic Christmas film.

Speaker 1 (17:51):

Me too. Me too.

Speaker 2 (17:52):

Can't help myself. <laugh>.

Speaker 1 (17:53):

Um, favorite Christmas dinner item?

Speaker 2 (17:57):

Probably stuffing. Maybe mm-hmm <affirmative> um, I didn't eat meat for a long time. So this is gonna be my first year of having a meaty Christmas dinner in a long time. And I'm pretty excited about not going to lie.

Speaker 3 (18:06):

Are you going for the Turkey?

Speaker 2 (18:10):

Oh yeah. I'll be going for the Turkey. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (18:12):

Um, any curveball favorite Christmas foods.

Speaker 2 (18:17):

I like brussel sprout as long as it's got bacon in it. I mean, again, she's changed. She's her tune.

Speaker 1 (18:22):

Added flavour. And that's our next question. Brussel sprouts? Love or Hate?

Speaker 2 (18:27):

Well love. Yeah. Wow.

Speaker 1 (18:29):

Get vitamins in <laugh>.

Speaker 2 (18:31):

Yeah. So nutritious <laugh> this is what I mean. Get your greens in when you can guys eat your sprouts, eat your sprouts.

Speaker 3 (18:39):

What were you in your school nativity play?

Speaker 2 (18:42):

Well, I was a little blonde girl, so I was always the angel.

Speaker 1 (18:46):

What age do you stop getting an advent calendar?

Speaker 2 (18:49):

I oh, I don't think I'm gonna get one this year. Although I've just gone and bought one for my house. Cause I didn't think I would get bought one.

Speaker 2 (18:56):

So I was like, I'll take matters into my own hand here.

Speaker 1 (18:58):

Yeah. You can buy your own advent calendar.

Speaker 3 (19:00):

What is your stocking? Is it like sack or an actual stocking or what?

Speaker 2 (19:06):

Oh, this is so embarrassing in my family. <laugh> We Uh, when we were kids, my mum used to get her all tights, her actual tights and put things in them.

Speaker 1 (19:17):

I suppose you can't have a heavy present in that.

Speaker 2 (19:19):

It was always like the real challenge to try and get things out of the tight without like tearing the tights up.

Speaker 3 (19:24):

Does this tie into how long it takes you open the presents?

Speaker 2 (19:26):

Probably <laugh> but now it's just evolved to the supermarket shopping bag.

Speaker 1 (19:33):

Lots of stuff in there.

Speaker 2 (19:33):

Yeah. Yeah. <laugh> and also we get it given then because we're all grownups. Now we get given them the night before at like 10 o'clock at night. My mom was just like, don't open it. And it's like, again, the psychological game. Can you not look at it?

Speaker 1 (19:47):

A test of resilience. What do you usually get in your stocking?

Speaker 2 (19:50):

Little odd bits really might get some foody things. Probably some toiletries. I always know. I never need to buy eye makeup remover. Cause I'll always get that in stocking. Maybe a notepad. It's mostly just like little bits and bumps. Useful bits. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (20:08):

That's good. Uh, and then what top three things remind you of Christmas.

Speaker 2 (20:14):

Oh, it's a good question. Christmas music never fails to get me in there. Get me in the mood. Um, the twinkly lights are good as well. And what's the third one? Um, probably just seeing my family. I have such a big family. We don't get together very often. So it always feels really festive and lovely when we do. Yeah. That's good.

Speaker 1 (20:37):

And this year, touch wood. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (20:40):

Although I was waiting for yule logs. <laugh>.

Speaker 2 (20:43):

Do you want me to go through again and say yule logs?

Speaker 3 (20:46):

No it's okay.

Speaker 1 (20:46):

Add it as fourth.

Speaker 2 (20:49):

And yule logs. <laugh>.

Speaker 1 (20:51):

Well, thank you very much for your Christmas wellbeing insight and your quick fire Christmas questions. We hope everyone listening has a lovely Christmas and you look after yourselves over Christmas and we'll see you in the new year.

Speaker 3 (21:05):

Yeah. We'll see you see you then.

New Speaker (21:07):

Thanks guys. And have a great Christmas, everyone.


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