4 easy ways managers can beat year-end work stress before it starts

Believe it or not, the year is almost over and the holiday season is right around the corner. While the holidays bring cheer, fun and togetherness they can also bring stress and a poor work-life balance.

Before you know it, you will find yourself with aggressive end-of-year work deadlines all while trying to spend time with family, prepare for the holidays, and squeeze in your last few vacations days.

Fortunately, it’s early enough in the year to mitigate some of the craziness to come.

Prep yearly reviews

You and your team have been together all year—you know how they perform and you know how they behave. So why not start preparing and writing their yearly review now?

In September, I always start my end of year review process by:

  • Going through my notes I keep throughout the year to remind myself of employee accomplishments, strengths and areas of opportunity;
  • Requesting performance reflections and input from my direct reports;
  • Pulling applicable data and metrics;
  • Creating a starter template for each employee which includes my year to date feedback.

If you use this approach, by the time December rolls around, you will only need to add three months worth of data and input, drastically reducing the amount of time you need to spend on reviews.

Review your end-of-year goals

Dust off your yearly review, look over your goals and then put together an action plan that allows you to comfortably deliver on all of your commitments well before the New Year.

Chances are you can’t accomplish your remaining goals without the help of others so it’s wise to start working with those key people (such as your boss and subject matter experts) now.

If you wait until the end of the year to ask for their help, they may be too busy working on their own goals to invest in yours, leaving you frazzled and without the support you need.

Finalize the end-of-year schedule

There is nothing more stressful than dealing with understaffing issues, especially around the holidays. If you haven’t done so already, request your team members work with you to plan out the rest of their vacation days.

As a good rule of thumb, you should have your team’s end-of-year calendar finalized no later than November 1st.  This is what I have done in the past and it has worked out great.

Planning ahead will prevent your staff from trying to take their time off last minute and all on the same day, ensuring you don’t get stuck dealing with the unhappy co-workers who are picking up the slack.

Book the holiday party

It’s never too early to start planning for the holiday party. Reach out to your team now for location and date suggestions and get something on the calendar asap.

If you wait until November or December to book a location, you risk the chance of your ideal venue being booked when you want it, resulting in unneeded stress, disappointment, and extra phone calls trying to find somewhere that isn’t already booked.

Danielle Clark is a human resources manager with more than 10 years of HR and customer service experience in healthcare and retail organizations. Her work with Fortune 500 companies, in addition to a diverse professional and academic background, has trained Clark to be results-driven, people-focused and a thought-provoking leader. Her goal is to educate and inspire professionals to change their way of thinking. She is also an adjunct professor, active community volunteer, wife, mother and passionate lifelong learner.

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