Seasonal Stress: How to Make Relocation Easier During the Holidays

‘Tis the season to be stressed—if employees happen to be relocating during the holidays, that is. It’s that most wonderful time of year when two of life’s greatest stressors come together, heralding not joy, but anxiety.

After all, moving has long been recognized as one of life’s top three most stressful events. Even health experts like the Mayo Clinic note that the holidays rank high among the most universally stressful times of the year.

However; like it or not, sometimes that’s just how the timing works out. In fact, 5% of moves take place in December, so it happens more often than you think.

The thing is, when relocation takes place around the holidays, it’s up to you to come to the rescue. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ease seasonal relocation stress—and you don’t need to slide down a chimney to do so.


It Starts with Solid, Supported Relocation Benefits

One core purpose of your corporate relocation program is to help your employees plan and execute their moves smoothly year-round. That not only means covering their relocation expenses, but providing services that save them time, work and stress.

To that end, your relocation program ideally should include:

  • Easy-to-use relocation software that sherpas employees through the moving process, via helpful tools like planning timelines, checklists and guides
  • A quality network of proven suppliers, including movers and real estate agents
  • Access to important information about their new destination, including housing, schools, attractions, commuting options and more
  • The assistance of a knowledgeable relocation consultant to call on as needed

Offering these services is important every day of the year, but when Christmas and Hanukkah roll around, they’re more essential than ever. This extra care can serve as a base that you can build on to nurture holiday cheer.


A Stocking Stuffed with Stress-relieving Solutions 

Beyond your evergreen relocation benefits, there are any number of small-but-thoughtful things you can do to make holiday relocations brighter—and the more creative, the better. Here’s some ideas to get you started.


Encourage Employees to Plan as Early as Possible 

If you’ve ever traveled during the holidays, you know how hard it is to make reservations—for flights, hotels, you name it. For this reason, encourage relocating employees to book these tasks as soon as possible.

Similarly, because so many people take time off in December, scheduling everything from real-estate closings to the cable guy often requires more time and effort.

Therefore, it’s important to gently remind your people that, while patience and planning are necessary for any successful relocation, it’s especially true this time of year.

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Deck the Halls of Short-term Housing 

If a new hire or transferee will be spending December in temporary housing, consider simple ways to make it a happier, homier place.

For example, gift them with a small, pre-decorated Christmas tree or Menorah. Provide them with “Christmas in a box”—i.e., a collection of holiday-themed décor, lights and garland. It’s not chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but it will add a festive touch to generic short-term rentals.      


Be Sure to Include the Newbies in Your Holiday Festivities

Spending the holidays in a new city can be a lonely experience. Make sure that your newly-relocated employees are personally invited to all corporate holiday activities. And if one or two managers can find it in their hearts to invite them over for dinner or drinks, so much the better.

In addition, consider gifting newcomers with tickets to a popular holiday attraction or two. Provide them with the skinny on local events, celebrations, holiday markets and cool shopping venues.


Offer Home-for-the-Holidays Benefits

When extending a job offer that will likely result in a dreaded December relocation, consider covering a long-weekend home for the holidays, including airfare and time off, in your relocation package.

It’s a great way to differentiate yourself from other employers by showing that you “get it.” Plus, it will likely result in a happier new hire—and happy employees are more productive employees.


Add Some R&R to the Ho-Ho-Ho

While there’s no way to completely avoid the double-barreled stress of a holiday relocation, gifting a newly-arrived employee with a self-care experience—a massage, trip to a day spa, or lovely dinner with a spouse or partner, for example—may offer a welcome respite.

Besides easing stress, if only temporarily, such thoughtful gestures speak volumes about the kind of employer you are—and that will resonate, not just during the holidays, but long after Santa has come and gone.

Human Resources Today