December is a particularly hectic month for all kinds of businesses. Whilst retailers work around the clock to keep on top of consumer demand, most offices are filling their sales funnels so that they can hit the ground running when the new year arrives. There is one particular workplace, however, that experiences the most frantic and stressful conditions by far at this time of year. This is due to its immovable quotas, global audience, stringent standards and time-sensitive delivery period. We are of course talking about Santa’s Workshop, where elves from all walks of life come together to produce a wide range of gifts to suit every hobby, passion and fleeting fancy imaginable.
A recent study showed that despite being considered the jolliest place on the planet, Santa’s Workshop hosts more than its fair share of low workplace wellbeing. In fact, a staggering 39% of its elf workers said that lack of sleep is a primary cause of stress, whilst 18% blame demanding workloads for their daily anxiety.
Executive Bear Stuffer, Shaggy Wetwang, said: “Don’t get me wrong, Santa’s Workshop is a magical place and we’re very lucky to be here, but the crux of the matter is that rainbows and sprinkles only go so far. The hours are long and the targets uncompromising. There’s zero mental health support provided by our employer. And don’t get me started on the total lack of ergonomic furniture across production lines and admin offices alike. It’s an absolute shambles and our staff turnover is enough to make a snowman weep.”
Following an independent assessment of Santa’s Workshop by an occupational health specialist, a number of worrying scenarios were brought to light. Whilst the elves work in picturesque surroundings, receive free candy lunches, and are offered the opportunity to partake in upbeat karaoke throughout the working day, there is a distinct absence of a structured employee health programme.
“Back when I were a young elfling, I could happily carry fifty Lego sets a thousand yards,” said Brickles McDickles, Head of Interlocking Plastic Brick Distribution. “These days I’m lucky if I can shift a single baseplate from one workbench to another. My body’s a ruddy mess and my brain’s faring no better – I blame the boss, plain and simple.”
Though shocking, this total inadequacy in regard to occupational health provision and mental health support is not uncommon. The Health and Safety Executive (North Pole branch) recently found that 1.6 million elves suffer from a work-related illness, with 38.8 million working days lost each year.
“Just because there are over 100,000 elves on Santa’s payroll doesn’t mean that our health and welfare can be taken lightly,” said Plumsworthy Duffcake, Apprentice Pâtissier. “Every elf is a living, breathing individual with hopes and dreams of their own. They deserve an employer who cares about their health and mental wellbeing, not some crimson-clad industrialist who values production rates over the happiness of his workers.”
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations of all shapes and sizes are urged to focus on workplace wellbeing more than ever before. This can be achieved through a range of tailored services, such as health surveillance, immunisations and vaccinations, biomechanical analysis of job roles, and mental health training that puts people first.
“The elves are in bad shape,” said Jack Latus, Managing Director at Latus Health. “Our analysis uncovered countless shortfalls in regard to worker requirements. Granted, they have jingly bells sewn into all of their clothes, but they need so much more than that. If only Santa would invest in bespoke employee health programmes, his elves would be much happier in their roles and no one would ever receive a pair of socks in place of a PS5 ever again.”