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How to Avoid Employer Burnout During the Holidays

Published December 7, 2022 (last updated on May 15, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Copywriter and Content Creator


November and Christmas can be an opportunity for small businesses to catch up after a slow and difficult year. While it is important to maximise the Christmas window, it should not lead to employer burnout.

Small business owners and mental health

It was already hard enough to run a business in New Zealand before one of the greatest workplace disruptions ever. Add a tight labour market, increasing inflation, and rising expenses, and you have business owners pushed right to the edge. Managing employee-related processes, compliance, and recruitment creates headaches for small business owners. 36% of small business owners in Aotearoa New Zealand believe managing employee processes and compliance is taxing their mental health.

Aotearoa small businesses are labour-intensive. They rely on labour productivity and staff rather than capital or technology. This reliance is causing an additional strain on small business owners in New Zealand as staff shortages abound and lead to employer burnout.

The main stressors for business owners are:

  • Survival of the business

  • Profitability

  • Feeling obligated to work when sick

  • Long working hours

  • Sense of having to do everything on their own

  • Staffing challenges

Small business owners are time-poor, unable to take leave or spend quality time with their families. Research has found that even when employers or business owners take leave, they find it tough to detach from the business.

There is a gender divide in the stress faced by employers with more than 50% of women in leadership constantly feeling burnt out. Working parents are disproportionately impacted with 47% of mothers and 38% of fathers feeling the impact significantly compared to others.

How can small business owners handle the stress of the holiday season and avoid employer burnout?

Mental Wellbeing Guide for Business Owners

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Build a sustainable work culture

If you’re a business owner, you may work exceptionally long hours during the holiday season leading to stress and anxiety. Build a sustainable and supportive work culture that is realistic and practical.

  • Set ‘no emails’ hours- It can be tempting to check your inbox regularly and answer all emails immediately. Set hours where you don’t check emails, so your brain can recharge and focus on the moment. You can also fix a time every day when you check and reply to all emails before calling it a day.

  • Define working hours- Being a business owner means being available 24/7 for your employees and customers. This also means you push yourselves to mental and physical exhaustion. Define your working hours and days and communicate them to your employees and customers. Ensure they know you will not be available outside of these times.

  • Delegate- Small business owners have trouble delegating because they are used to doing everything. Delegating minor tasks can help you free up time and headspace that lets you focus on other tasks. Does this need to be handled by you? Can your employee or manager tackle this? Learn how to delegate effectively.

  • Take regular breaks- Don’t eat lunch at your desk or in meetings. Take regular breaks, take a walk, go for a coffee, or chat with your employees.

Focus on well-being

  • Try stress management techniques– Try breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga to help manage stress.

  • Exercise– Finding time to exercise can be tricky, but having a regular exercise routine can dispel energy and clear your mind.

  • Drink water– Hydrate regularly

  • Have a hobby– Having something outside the scope of work can engage your mind, improve creativity, and relax you.

  • Meaningfully connect– Use this time to be present with your family and loved ones.  Instead of overcommitting to work, try and connect with your family and embrace the holiday spirit.

Safeguard your business

Small business owners are trying to remember all their duties and keep track of the changing regulatory environment. Preparing your business gives you breathing space to take a step back and take it slow over the holidays.

  • Know your duties- 48% of employers say managing employees in an ever-changing regulatory environment is stressful and confusing. Know your duties and obligations by reaching out to Employsure. We have helped 30,000 business owners across Australia and New Zealand in employment relations.

  • Have all documents and policies in place- Having accurate documents and policies is half the battle won. The right policies protect your business and communicate expected standards of conduct to your employees.

Grow with Employsure

Employsure has worked with 30,000 employers across Australia and New Zealand. We understand the challenges of running a business and managing employees.

Call our 24/7 Advice Line today!

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