Hidden Heroes: The workers who dedicate their Christmas to looking after the vulnerable

Christmas is just around the corner, and as the majority of Brits are looking forward to a festive feast around the table surrounded by loved ones, there are millions(1) of hidden heroes among us dedicating their Christmas to looking after the vulnerable as they head to work on the big day.

However, as seasonal workers across various sectors, including nursing, social care and hospitality prepare for Christmas in the workplace, a recent study(2) by staff scheduling platform, Planday, reveals more than a quarter of workers (27%) don’t believe their workplace has a positive impact on their mental health. With staff shortages sector-wide, now more than ever key workers need to be shown just how important and appreciated they are this Christmas.

Georgina, a staff nurse in Liverpool who is working Christmas day this year has shared how she still manages to celebrate:

“This is my first year qualified, so it’s my first time working over Christmas, it’s all very new to me. We will be working our usual shift times starting at 7.30am and finishing at 8pm. With it being Christmas we try to make the day special for the patients as they too are away from their families, we decorate the ward with Christmas trees and decorations and try to make it as special as possible.”

“This is the first year I have worked Christmas, as in previous years I have been a student so we were lucky enough to have the festive season off. This year I am working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so I plan to travel home straight after work on Christmas Day to spend Christmas night and Boxing Day with my family in Cumbria. My family will still celebrate Christmas as normal on the day itself and I will join in when I get home. My mum has also promised me a Christmas dinner on Boxing Day so I’m not missing out on the best meal of the year!”

Donna Torres, UK Sales & Global Partnerships Director at Planday has provided some tips on how to improve staff wellbeing throughout the festive season:

Improve communication

Donna says: “Seasonal workers are extremely selfless people, who give up their own valuable time to serve others, whether it be working in a care home, as a nurse or serving up Christmas dinners at a restaurant, sacrificing their own Christmas.

“It’s important to ensure that communication, particularly throughout this period, is extremely clear, so staff know exactly what times they’re working. It’s also vital that people are given as much notice of the rota as possible, so they can organise their lives around when they need to work. 

“Also consider things such as limited public transport schedules and childcare availability into consideration when planning your staff rota, so people are able to make it work.”

Emphasise your staff wellbeing offering

Donna continues: “With our recent research showing a staggering number of employees say they don’t feel that their workplace has a positive impact on their mental health, and a further 46% stating that their workplace either doesn’t have (or they’re unsure whether it has) any processes to support mental health in place, it is more important than ever to ensure that staff understand your wellbeing offering. 

“Make sure that your team know exactly how you can support them when they may be struggling, and encourage conversations around mental health to create an open workplace where staff can see that their issues really do matter.”

Show appreciation and celebrate your staff

Donna suggests: “Many of the Christmas key workers are within high-pressure roles, such as health and social care. It’s therefore important to break things up a little, give back to your team and ensure they can see that they’re appreciated. 

“As it is the season of giving, perhaps purchasing a small, personal gift for each team member, or advent calendars, or organising an hour or two of fun Christmas craft activities would be a few great ways to show some recognition for their hard work.”

For more information on looking after workers’ wellbeing, visit: https://www.planday.com/uk/blog/3-ways-to-boost-wellness-in-care/

Author: Editorial Team

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