With the holiday season now upon us, personal lives seem to become busier than ever. There are gifts to buy, spaces to rent for holiday parties, decorating to be done, food to be cooked, travel plans to be made, and so much more. In the workplace, stress and productivity are tied closely together. When there’s so much going on outside of work, how can manufacturing employees find the right balance and lower their stress levels so they can put their best foot forward on the plant floor?
Tips for individual manufacturers
You can’t always control your environment and events around you — especially during the holiday season — but there are some things you can control. Start simply by understanding that this time of year brings about added stress, and take a few steps to keep yours in check.
- Consider your diet. The holiday season is filled with rich food and lots of it. While it might be tempting to grab a holiday cookie from the break room, save those treats for holiday parties. Healthy foods can help maintain balance, so try to stick to unprocessed foods and remember to drink plenty of water.
- Plan as early as possible. Since there’s so much to do throughout the rest of the year, get a to-do list and calendar ready early to manage your holiday activities. Prioritize based on absolute musts to can-dos so you don’t have to hold yourself accountable for everything. Delegate tasks to friends or family members when possible, and remember: You can add items to your list any time — and take things off the list, too. The earlier you start, the more you’ll be able to map out your free time leading up to the holidays and the better chance you have of being fully prepared — without forgetting anyone on your gift list!
- Support your co-workers. While you probably don’t want to do their holiday shopping for them, that doesn’t mean you can’t support your co-workers on the plant floor.
The more mindful you are of holiday stressors, the more apt you can be to mitigate them through proactive steps.
Tips for manufacturing leaders
If you’re in a manufacturing leadership role, those you oversee or manage likely look up to you, so it’s important you set a positive example. In addition to following the individual tips above, you can also help to make a holiday workplace culture that lessens stress for yourself and your co-workers on the plant floor.
- Be flexible. It can be difficult when it seems like everyone wants a day off, but try to make that happen when you can. Those who are asking you are likely not simply making the request for themselves: They tend to have family waiting on their answers or are planning their holiday celebrations with friends. When they know you understand and are doing your best, it helps keep morale high — and productivity, too.
- Make it fun. Plan a game that lasts a day or throughout the holiday season. Inviting your crew to a simple holiday potluck in the break room can inspire camaraderie and get everyone in the seasonal spirit of giving.
- Schedule time off. While it’s necessary you schedule time off for those you manage, don’t forget about yourself. Take time for a much-needed break whether it’s just to relax or to spend time with loved ones.
- Say “thank you.” When you have an attitude of gratitude and thank your co-workers for a great year, you help set them up for success next year. Those who know they’re valued are more likely to do what they can to earn your kudos again. Although your company might not offer big bonuses, paid time off, or a holiday gift to employees, that doesn’t mean you can’t acknowledge and thank them for their efforts.
While an ugly holiday sweater day might be dangerous on the plant floor, there are plenty of other opportunities for manufacturers to enjoy the season — and keep productivity high as they do.