Recovering from One of the Most Stressful Times of the Year- Open Enrollment
Focusing on healthy stress relief is important. A survey of 1,505 full-time U.S. employees from Colonial Life revealed that, more than 20 percent of workers spend more than five hours on the clock each week thinking about their stressors and worries, according to the survey. An additional 50 percent of employees said they lose between one and five hours of work to stress each week.
For many HR and business leaders, including benefits consultants, open enrollment is an intense season with multiple points of communication with employees, numerous questions, complaining about benefits (no matter how much work was put into getting the best options), and management of expectations. Open enrollment requires focused stress management skills both during and after.
Tips for De-stressing After Open Enrollment
Tip 1 – Recognize that emotional exhaustion has lifted
When the deadline has finally passed, the stress of open enrollment has lifted. There should really be a party to celebrate this momentous occasion!
While there are still appeals that need to be filed for those who missed the deadline, long days in the office and the feeling of leaving the office drained have come to an end. It’s time to focus on beginning the new year and a new benefits program. Take a breath before focusing on how to ensure your employees are maximizing available tools you’ve selected for health improvement, prevention of chronic conditions, and navigating the complex healthcare system.
Tip 2 – Acknowledge that compassion fatigue is real
Dr. Charles Figley, Professor, at Tulane Traumatology Institute, explains that “Compassion Fatigue is a state experienced by those helping people in distress; it is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can create secondary traumatic stress for the helper.”
Compassion fatigue is a common problem for those working in the HR field because of long hours, high expectations, and challenges with culture in the workplace according to Laurie Ruettimann, a writer and speaker that helps executives and HR leaders improve workplace culture.
When choosing a benefits package, people often need help so they will sit down with someone from HR to go over their options. In general, personal health histories or family situations do not need to be discussed but oversharing happens and these interactions can leave those who work in the field of HR feeling emotionally exhausted.
If there is anyone who understands compassion fatigue, it’s the HR professional who has spent countless hours listening to intimate health details during open enrollment. Take time to debrief with colleagues or your manager and journal to release any pent-up emotions.
Tip 3 – When it feels like everyone is mad at you, it’s time to change the narrative
Supervisors are frustrated because of all the extra meetings about new benefits. Employees are mad because it’s such a process to use the enrollment platform. Several have voiced their anger about premiums and out-of-pocket costs going up again.
As a company leader, it would be helpful if things would be easy and the benefit options were perfect for everyone, but the unfortunate truth is that people are going to be frustrated no matter how generous the benefits. The narrative (or story you tell yourself) ought to be that you’ve done your best to build a benefits program that meets the needs of the company and its employees.
Tip 4 – Getting support from your team helps
Despite all of the challenges of open enrollment, it helps to have a team.
Venting can really take the edge off and having someone to consult when more complex situations pop out of nowhere really does make things easier. Take advantage of conversations with your team and your manager about how open enrollment went, what could be done differently, and what you’re proud of as a team. Open up and bound with one another.
Tip 5 – Turn to healthy coping skills
Even with the best team in the world, it’s still possible to leave the office feeling exhausted during open enrollment. As an experienced professional, it has become clear that it is important to level up your coping skills during open enrollment. We liked these 5 Tips for HR Pros to Survive Open Enrollment.
Everyone has different strategies for coping with the stress of this busy time. For some, it’s a conversation with a friend after work, time with family, a glass of wine, while others need an extra-long run and bubble bath to reset. Since stress can lead to unhealthy behaviors like overeating or drinking too much, it’s important to find a healthy way to release the stress. In fact, since out-of-control stress has a significant impact on health, the Newtopia program is designed to help with stress management.
Leveraging Stress for Positive Change Post Open Enrollment
Reflecting on the impact of the stress endured during this year’s open enrollment period can be helpful. After all, it’s no secret that every person will go through a phase that requires new tools to manage stress. What tools do your employees have to manage stress?
Stress is a leading cause of many health-related issues. When addressing employee well-being in the workplace, consider partnering with a company like Newtopia that focuses on the whole person, helping individuals at risk of developing chronic conditions learn how to prevent the onset of diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke through sustainable habit change and one-to-one coaching. Armed with these new insights and ongoing support, employees and business leaders are empowered to set goals that will help them enhance their overall well-being by addressing their health-related risk factors.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Newtopia can make a positive impact on your organization visit our website.
Cheers to successfully wrapping up this year’s open enrollment period! Now, onward!