Snow is falling, all around you, maybe, children are playing, having fun. But you’re in the office…
You want to bring just a little of that Christmas Spirit in to work.
There are so many things you can do to boost your team’s festive spirit, but you have to be original (and fun).
Your employees don’t want to get a fox, a chicken and some grain across a stream, or build a raft.
So, what can you do to bring your staff together and get them to bond, without being incredibly cheesy?
Here are just a few ideas.
1. Social work
Social programs are a big deal in America right now and are slowly filtering into Britain.
Get ahead of the curve and give your staff the chance to give something back.
Find a cause that fits your business and then ask your team if they’d like to take a day out the office and give their time to help others.
You can head to the homeless shelter to help feed less fortunate people, or even take presents to a children’s home.
This used to be popular, but has gone out of fashion in recent years and it’s something you could easily bring back as a company.
If you have a large workforce, you could even organize a clean up effort in your local park or river.
(Speak to the council and organize it properly if you go that route, as you’ll need to make sure you are properly covered and that they actually want your help).
This will show your staff that you do actually care about the community and it’s a big boost for your employer brand locally.
You can even do some subtle PR through social media.
2. Secret Santa
It’s cheesy, but so is Christmas. So, embrace the cheese and go for the full Secret Santa schtick.
This also clears up the thorny issue of staff buying presents for each other, and the simmering resentment that can take hold when some buy gifts and others don’t.
You know the drill. Everybody pulls a name out of the hat and buy a gift for that person.
It might seem pointless, but making someone buy a gift for someone they don’t know too well can make them take another look at people in the office.
It’s a bonding exercise in its own right.
3. Bring your kids to work day
You need to accept right off the bat that this is not going to be a productive day in the office.
But, if you’re prepared to accept the downsides, there are some big pluses.
Firstly it shows that you understand what a potential nightmare it can be to arrange daycare for children on the run up to Christmas.
[Being seen to be caring can score you some big brownie points…!]
It can be a real burden for parents.
So, the chance to bring their kids in to work could be a big deal for them.
It could also help staff members to bond with each other. “Kids say the funniest things…”
Some people will want no part of this, of course.
So, you might want to offer them a sanctuary, like a meeting room, or even a day off.
4. Decorate your office
Either you can stay late to throw up some tinsel and tangled Christmas lights, or you can get the whole office involved and really go to town.
Turn it into a tradition, mark it on the calendar and finish up with post work drinks or dinner to really make the most of it.
And you can add your own unique touches, like getting the newest member of staff to put the angel on the tree.
These are small things, but they’re subtle ways to show that you value every member of your team.
It really will give your employees a boost and bring them all together.
Just make sure it’s safe, because you really don’t want someone taking a tumble and bringing the whole event crashing down.
5. A company outing
The amount of red tape involved can turn companies away from group outings.
But they are a great way to bring your team together in a social setting.
You can insist on taking them to the dog races, or a casino, but that can actually breed resentment.
The best way to do this is to come up with 3-5 suggestions, then put it to a blind vote.
Let staff decide where you go, but make sure you turn it into an adventure. Hire a bus, actually go somewhere and really let your hair down.
It’s a great way to bond, put any tension behind you and start the New Year afresh with a better team spirit.
6. Games day!
Remember that last day of the school term, when everybody brought games in?
Everybody does – and it will give your staff that warm, fuzzy feeling of being a kid again.
So set up a PlayStation, Xbox or a Wii (even better for group games), bring in board games and tell your staff they can feel free to bring in what they want.
Yes, it’s childish, but it’s also awesome.
While people are clearing their desks, they can play games, have fun, wind down and remember that they do quite like their colleagues after all!
7. Office Party
Even I’m not 100% sure about office parties anymore.
They might be more stress than they are worth.
But if you decide to do this, you could save money!
Dust off the Christmas CD, break out the party hats and tell your staff to forget about work, kick back and enjoy each other’s company for a while.
Don’t structure the party, it’s too try-hard and can make you look like David Brent.
Just let them get on with it.
Make sure you take the time to speak to them all individually, thank them for their efforts and then let them get on with it.
8. Awards ceremony
Host this right before the Christmas party and it’s a nice way to show recognition for the people that drive your company forward.
Yes, give awards for peak performers.
But also make sure that you recognise the people that really hold the office together.
These are the unsung heroes that actually let the stars shine and it’s all too common for them to get ignored.
If you take the time to show them that you really appreciate what you do, then they’ll keep going above and beyond for you year after year.
The festive season is a wonderful time to show your team how much you appreciate their hard work over the last year!
Take full advantage and make sure they head off for Christmas with a smile.
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