As the festive season gets underway, it’s worth considering the various elements that can make or break a workplace Christmas and what can be done to improve our goodwill to all men (and women).
The gift of time
A lot of the good stuff in the run up to Christmas happens during working hours. Many schools and nurseries stage their nativities during the afternoon; there’s much shopping to be done in shops that are less busy during the working day and many people have dependents who require a chunk of their time between 9 and 5 as the 25th December approaches.
Providing staff with flexible working hours during December is a great generator of the fore mentioned goodwill as it enables workers to be part of the Christmas buzz and to honour particular commitments, without taking annual leave or compromising their work arrangements. It also removes stress and makes people happier as they have the autonomy to manage their own day.
Promoting work life balance and supporting workers with families and external obligations captures the Christmas spirit and reflects well on the company overall.
Getting the party started
Moving on to a different type of spirit, the office Christmas party is a time old tradition that has morphed over the years from drinks and turkey sandwiches in the office itself to spectacular, themed events, depending on the size of the budget.
Where drink is in the mix, there’s always an element of caution. This is backed by reports from over the pond of companies cancelling the office party in a bid to remove the risk of misbehavior and, in particular, sexual harassment. As the #MeToo campaign has gained momentum, there’s been a growing reluctance from a number of corporations in the US to put their workers in potential vulnerable positions from the outset.
Over here, the trend is to party outside of the office, for most big businesses, providing individual departments with their own budgets so that they can celebrate at their own discretion.
The big Christmas event doesn’t have to be at Christmas, either !
Some of the larger corporates are opting to throw their most significant bashes at other times of the year to reduce the pressure on time-strapped staff and to create family events, such as large scale summer barbecues, that are inclusive and will appeal to a wider mix.
As Generation Zers, or post-millennials value perks and workplace benefits more than any other age group, Christmas is, however, a great time to implement some of these benefits and, if possible, allow for a range of events to mark the occasion.
A great way to meet all purposes is to provide a budget for some out of office socializing for individual groups, while also planning a more structured in-house get together. The traditional, large office drinks and nibbles party then gives everyone the opportunity to catch up and mingle with people from different departments, including those they may not often get chance to converse with.
Deck the halls
Christmas decorations can boost morale and create a good atmosphere but they must maintain good taste. Due consideration should be given to ensure that they complement the existing office décor and the brand.
Ultimately, decorations are subjective. What may be a manifestation of jollity and celebration for one worker might be the equivalent of a migraine and the source of great irritation to another, so there’s a definite need to get the balance right.
Remember, as the season extends each year, these decorations could be up for a significant amount of time…
This is where agile working, once again, comes into play. With an office that contains a mix of activity-based spaces, those who have a hefty workload can seek some sanctuary away from the Christmas cheer and complete what needs to be done.
Christmas is often a time of winding down; people have more time for chitchat and to generally socialize and begin to relax in the office environment. The parties and the décor reflect and encourage that desire to be social and to share but, again, it’s not for everyone.
With different work points, and a selection of areas to accommodate different needs, there’s room for everyone to experience the office Christmas in the way that works best for them.