How brokers can help SMEs survive holiday stress

By understanding the extra challenges Christmas season brings to small businesses, brokers can help their SME customers from burning out and to prepare for the coming year.

Speaking to MPA, Anastasia Massouras, founder of Sydney-based allied health employment services agency Pure Insights, said that higher pressures to close off projects, client demands and staff coverage around Christmas time can be a challenge for small businesses, especially for those in the customer services industry.

“The mentality around the festive season means that there is a lot of pressure and demands for fast turnaround, high quality of servicing and customer support,” Massouras said.

“On top of that, staff are often faced with their own personal challenges that can hugely impact their capacity to engage productively at work during this time.”

SMEs should provide some simple work strategies or fun healthy activities to their staff on how to maintain wellbeing and avoid burning out during the holidays. In addition, it would help to check in with staff members and offer them an assistance program.

“Ask what they have got planned and who are they spending the season with. Make sure they have a support network around them,” she said.

“Empower them to identify solutions or ideas that can be shared with others about taking care of oneself. Get them to share as a team.”

While watching out for their staff’s wellbeing, business owners should not forget their own, according Massouras. They should take some time out and do the things they enjoy. When pressure is mounting up, they need to find an outlet and be willing to delegate work.

She added, before capping off the old year and to be ready for the new one, SMEs may find it beneficial to revisit their vision, purpose, goals and commitment.

“Have a reflection. What have they achieved this year? What are the highlights? What are the downsides? Who to recognise? Recharge by creating a suitable self-care plan that is practical and sustainable for the long run,” Massouras said.       

"Instead of having a New Year solution, they should think of their commitment and obligation. What is the core thing that they will do? Break it down in terms of steps, preferably with a timeframe and a budget.”

“Celebrate the wins, and practice gratitude for the year that has been.”