Yesterday, we feasted on turkey, gathered with our loved ones, and spent time counting our blessings. The relaxing time together laughing and reminiscing are always some of my favorite moments of the year.
I’m fortunate enough to say the sentiment of gratitude extends beyond my traditional family to my Businessolver family, too. Throughout the year, we spend many hours working together to deliver delight to our clients. I’m thankful for our workplace culture rooted in empathy that encourages us to collaborate, innovate, and celebrate our successes.
While an empathetic workplace culture is critical throughout the year, it’s especially important during the holiday season to boost employee morale and engagement – generally a time when employees are stressed covering for colleagues who take time off, all while trying to squeeze in some holiday shopping and extra family time themselves. This makes the holidays the perfect time to give the gift of empathy – to your employees and your organization: 77 percent of employees are willing to work longer hours for an empathetic employer.
So, ‘tis the season to celebrate empathy! Need a few “gift ideas?” Here’s a little fun inspiration:
A yoga mat, as a reminder to stay flexible. Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also one of the most stressful. Whether navigating family dynamics, preparing for a big vacation, or finishing a project before the end of the year, we all know the holidays can make it feel like the walls are closing in. Make it easier for employees by being flexible – options to work remotely when appropriate and feasible, or opportunities to work flex hours can be the gift that keeps giving this year. Nearly all (95%) of employees have flexible work hours and location high on their empathy wish list!
Outlet covers, to encourage employees to unplug. Flexibility alone isn’t enough; another meaningful way to demonstrate empathy this holiday season is encouraging employees to truly unplug from work. WiFi, hotspots, and VPN make it virtually impossible for employees to disconnect from email and the office. However, no one will enter the New Year resolving to “spend more time on my laptop.” So, start the culture change now: Empower employees to shut down their computers, focus on friends and family, and genuinely recharge.
A mirror, to remind that you must model empathetic behavior so employees will, too. Employees universally agree that HR is better equipped to be a model for an empathetic workplace. So, work to be the change you wish to see. Try to restrict yourself to a short window of time each day to check email that doesn’t interfere with quality time with loved ones. Then, commit to fully powering down and tuning in to those around you. Who knows? Great Uncle Gary may surprise you with some out-of-the-box thinking that could spur your next big idea!
As you look ahead to the rest of the holiday season, I encourage you to think about how you can be more empathetic towards your employees, and hope the data in our Workplace Empathy Monitor can help.