December 21, 2018

The Roundup: Working over the holidays? Here are some ideas for being stress-free and productive

This week, we round up some tips for how to deal, and how to make the most of your time, if you’re working over the holidays.

Is your password on the “Worst Passwords of the Year” list? Change it.

Here’s an idea for creating a sense of accomplishment while you’re working over the holidays: change your password.

Security application company SplashData recently released its eighth “Worst Passwords of the Year” list, for which it “evaluated more than five million passwords leaked on the Internet,” according to Time.

“The company found that despite massive, headline-making data breaches, users continue using the same predictable, easily guessable passwords putting themselves at risk of being hacked and having their identities stolen,” Time reports.

The top two worst passwords? “123456,” and, simply, “password.”

Time assures readers that they’re not alone in using bad passwords: “The Pentagon left the passwords on their weapons systems set to defaults and Kanye West had his passcode set to “00000”.

SplashData CEO Morgan Slain adds in Inc. that hackers are also successful using celebrity names and terms from pop culture and sports to break into accounts because so many people use these words.

TL;DR: Security is important. Your password is probably terrible. Put some effort into it.

Use the holidays for networking

Fast Company advises to make the most out of the busy holiday season with effective networking. The face time, gatherings, and good spirits help to strengthen relationships, the pub adds. Here are some of Fast Company’s tips:

  • Make a list: Corporate connections consultant Judy Robinett suggests making a list of who you want to meet, and why. This ensures you’ll be strategic and maximize your time with key people, helping to establish lasting connections. She adds to approach people “with mentorship instead of profit in mind.”
  • Be a connector: Kevin Hamilton, SVP marketing at restaurant tech platform Toast says connecting people is one of the most valuable things you can do for your network. So connect people you think could help each other in the new year, whether for mentorship, learning new skills, or to break into new industries.
  • Plan for reconnecting in the new year: If you’re overwhelmed and super-busy, wait until the new year – but plan ahead with this mindset. Start strong in January by connecting or re-connecting with people right away, Brian Rowe, CEO and founder of educational tech company Perceivant advises.

Prevent “festive fizzle-out” by not stressing out your team

Harvard Business Review offers some advice for leaders on how not to stress their teams out during the holidays.

The HBR article notes a survey in which almost half of respondents said finances are their main reason for feeling stressed – and feeling overscheduled and remaining healthy are also contributors to stress.

Ellen Braaten, PhD, says increased multi-tasking during the holidays sends our brains into overdrive, causing higher levels of stress. And in the workplace, stress comes from shortened deadlines and meeting end-of-year requirements, to name a few sources. A study cited by HBR found that workers in the U.S., U.K. and Nordic countries report lower productivity in December.

Further, nearly half of the workforce experiences “festive fizzle-out” by Dec. 18, a situation where workers worry more about the holidays than work.

So what can employers do to help employees combat work stress during the holidays? “Bringing more awareness to the increased pressure your employees are feeling at home and at work during the holiday season can go a long way toward helping to keep both productivity and employees’ spirits up,” the author writes.

For one thing, ask employees how they want to celebrate the holidays this year. And be inclusive of the different ways that people do celebrate – make it a priority to create a comfortable environment for everyone.

HBR also advises that employers can provide more support in helping employees balance work and life. For example, consider giving employees an extra day off in the lead-up to the holidays to deal with their personal needs – family time, shopping, down-time, etc. As well, review workloads to see if any projects can be extended into the new year.

Bonus: fun stuff

If you need an ice-breaker, a hit of nostalgia, or just a laugh, check out this Google Assistant ad featuring Macauley Culkin reprising his role in Home Alone, this time as 38-year old Kevin.

And here, Entertainment Weekly has compiled a list of the most popular holiday movies – debate and discuss at the dinner table.

Lastly, some lessons we can learn about work life from holiday movies – including not being a Grinch, and not letting work get in the way of family time.


Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Senior Manager, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

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