It’s that time of year, when businesses around the country shut down early on a chilly Friday afternoon for the office Christmas party. Food and beverages are served and gifts are exchanged. Sometimes the gifts are good, sometimes they’re gags. Whatever the case may be, hopefully everyone has a good time, except maybe old Ebenezer from accounting. But what does it mean to us that many companies rarely take the time to relax and enjoy fellowship among employees outside of the holiday season?

I’ve spent the last semester in Dr. Doyle Lucas’ human resource management class at the Falls School of Business learning about the people side of business. Topics included, among other things, résumés, the job planning process, benefits, stress management and quality of life in companies. Perhaps the latter two topics are an appropriate discussion during the holiday season.

Check out a few stress-related statistics reported in the ’90s from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and Integra:

• 40 percent of workers reported their job as very or extremely stressful.

• 25 percent view their jobs as the No. 1 stress in their lives.

• Job stress is more commonly associated with health problems than financial or family problems.

• An estimated 1 million American workers are absent every day due to stress.

Sure it was the ’90s, and these reports are outdated. But business certainly isn’t slowing down these days. The number of employees calling in sick due to stress tripled from 1996 to 2000. I have little doubt that the trend continues to this day.

The point is we need to take a break sometimes to enjoy life. Enjoy work. Enjoy our co-workers. If you’re a boss, make like Scrooge’s old boss, Fezziwig, but hold the spirit of Christmas in your office year round. Discourage people from spending eight full hours staring at a computer screen in a cubicle. Encourage a break here and there to relax with coworkers. I submit that it’s your ethical responsibility to watch out for the needs of your employees.

If you’re more worried about the bottom line than your employees’ health, then I have good news for you: the bottom line will improve as productivity increases. It isn’t good for the business when employees start calling in sick because of stress.

In SIFE, we’ve been relaxing recently by playing some videogames and watching our favorite childhood show “Saved by the Bell” together in the evenings (we are college students after all). At the Falls School of Business we’ve been celebrating a handful of December birthdays recently. What are you doing at your place of work to improve the health and happiness and enjoy the presence of your coworkers? How about after the Christmas season, when the parties are over?

Merry Christmas, may God bless you.

Andrew Rosenberg is a senior at Anderson University majoring in business management through the Falls School of Business. He can be reached at

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