10 Ways to Cultivate Compassion at Work in December

Joy. Celebration. Gratitude. Merry. Jolly. Happy. Magic…

These words are front and center during December and the holiday season. Our social media feeds reveal smiling children and joyful traditions. Storefronts are transformed into winter wonderlands. People seem to be nicer to each other. Friends and families are reunited. And the Lifetime and Hallmark channels continue to make us believe that happy endings are made possible by mistletoe, snow days, and holiday magic. This time of year is positioned as a time of celebration and new beginnings, and yet for many it is anything but. In fact, the holiday season produces higher levels of depression, anxiety, and sadness than any other time of year.

Recognizing this reality in workplaces is an important step, and leaders have a responsibility to pay attention and create environments that are safe, inclusive, empathetic, and supportive (not only but especially during the holiday season). Reloveution believes that compassionate and human-centered practices are at the center of this type of workplace, and we know that there are several powerful ways to cultivate compassion at work during a potentially stressful, overwhelming, frustrating, or generally unhappy month.

Here are our top ten strategies!

(1) Give time off and mean it; (2) Honor the traditions of all employees (even if there aren’t traditions or they aren’t your traditions); (3) Give the gift of gratitude; (4) Maintain boundaries, recognizing that this time of year isn’t joyful for everyone; (5) Give opportunities to be outside in the daylight; (6) Provide free childcare at your holiday party (7) Provide spaces for listening; (8) Avoid talking about your extravagant plans; (9) Celebrate the year together; and (10) Forecast 2020 and give opportunities to reset.

  1. Give time off and mean it. Every company is different and has its own policies for vacation and time off during the holidays. Some organizations give everybody the week between Christmas and New Years off. Others offer an extra mental health day to give staff the opportunity to catch up on holiday errands. Still others encourage people to take vacation during this time of year to reboot for the next year. Whatever your policy, encourage people who take time off to actually take the time off. This means not emailing or Slacking them and expecting to get a response when you know they are on vacation, and it means respecting boundaries and giving people the space they need to truly rejuvenate and reset. There are very few things that cannot wait one week, and we encourage you to honor the hard work your staff does year-round by giving them time and space for rest and renewal.

There are many more ways that you and your company can cultivate compassion during the holiday season, and we encourage you to explore and experiment in the coming weeks. You probably won’t be able to fully counter the stress and overwhelm of December in America, but you may be able to add a little magic and a little joy to a season that isn’t always easy. And at the very least, creating a more compassionate and human-centered workplace, might keep your employees from applying to new jobs during their time off!

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Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

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