Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
Have you ever wondered how managers feel when they have to lay workers off during the holiday season? It can't be easy. Stress can spread to staff, family and friends like a virus.
It is natural to feel sad for people who get laid off during these rocky financial and economic times, it can be twice as painful when it happens during the holiday season. However, no thought is given to those who have to do the laying off. I admit that I have never given much thought to the managers or the survivors of a company layoff, you know, the ones that are left behind to take up the slack, while they worry and wonder if they will be next to go. I am retired now and do not have to worry about layoff's or downsizing. But, I do recall what it felt like to be in the survivor seat. It was always hard, I missed my former co-worker(s) and often felt overwhelmed by the additional workload. The fact that it was holiday season weighed heavy in many ways, I felt the loss of a co-worker, overworked and often guilty because Christmas shopping and home decorating had to take a back seat. So what can you do if this happens at your work place? As a worker, take a step away from the noise and do not get caught up in office gossip about how or why the person was let go. Try not to become anxious or fearful about your own employment, just do your job as you have previously. If you are a manager, get into survival mode and do what you have to do to get back on solid ground, understand that morale may be low and that some worker's will be angry.
What can a manager do to keep the spirit of Christmas while doling out additional work to staff because there is one less employee? One of the things that can be done is to have a full staff meeting, this may not be the time for a meeting with supervisors only, nothing can cause more talk and anxiety than a meeting of supervisor's behind closed doors. In your full staff meeting, talk about what's going on in your work place, share any information that you can. Allow questions, but do set boundaries; ask for ideas and suggestions concerning the changed workload. Your staff will appreciate that the manager is communicating with them and keeping them in the loop.
And remember, donuts and hot coffee can do much to ease tension and create good will.