Skip to content

10 things that will boost the mood in the workplace during the holidays

The holiday season is now in full swing, and employers are busy planning Christmas entertainment, Christmas gifts, Christmas coffee, Christmas buffets, and anything else that can be labeled as "Christmas" for their staff.

Here on this list you will find some ideas of holiday treats that employers can implement in order to engage employees with and build a positive atmosphere during one of the happiest or most difficult periods of the year for many.

Christmas meal / Christmas buffet

In many workplaces, Christmas meals are held for employees, whether it is in the form of a buffet or a meal, is eaten in a restaurant or the food is sent to each workplace separately.

It is important that all employees have an equal right to a seat at the table, and that the event is not organized at the workplace for some, but as a 10-course meal at a fancy restaurant for others. It is also important that employers have in mind the composition of their staff and are aware of different needs when it comes to diet and accessibility.

The purpose of a Christmas meal is to unite the staff, not the food itself or the time spent eating, and this only happens if the entire staff participates as a whole.

"Christmas"-Baking day

It is customary for some employers to give employees leave for half or a full day to "go home and bake". This is paid leave from work that is unrelated to sick leave or vacation rights.

It is important that employers keep in mind that baking day does not create class divisions or that staff perceive inequality or disrespect towards their work requirements when granting this time off, and that permission to take this time off is distributed equally to all staff, regardless of job title and location, to office staff as well as front and back line workers.

Christmas gifts

Giving Christmas gifts is an old and valid custom that many employers take great pride in when it comes to choosing good Christmas gifts that are of the best use to employees, and the work on Christmas gift shopping often starts at the end of August/beginning of September for many employers.

It is important that when choosing Christmas gifts for staff equality is at hand, and that emplooyers avoid giving managers bigger, more expensive or nicer Christmas gifts than front and back line workers as this would create a clear class division that would set up a difficult conditions between "upper and lower" classes.

If there is a difference in Christmas gifts between job titles/departments, it is often like receiving a slap in the face from the employer for those who receive less, and a step towards diminished trust and respect towards the employer regardless of other events and conditions in the workplace.

Christmas scents

For many, the holidays are associated with certain smells. It may be difficult to bring the smell of ham into the workplace, and that is possibly a smell that will not be appreciated by everyone. Similarly, it is not always possible to fill the workplace with the fragrance of freshly baked cookies. But you can give employees access to tangerines and cloves or scatter Christmas flowers all over the workplaces. Holiday treats needn't be complicated or expensive, as long as the satisfaction and happiness of the staff is held paramount.

Christmas coffee-breaks

Christmas coffee-breaks, unlike Christmas meals, is always held on site and is usually organized by middle managers or the staff themselves, and it is therefore normal that the Christmas coffee-break varies between worksites. However, it is important that employers keep in mind that all staff benefit from the Christmas coffee-break tradition, and that middle managers consider the needs of all individuals regarding diet as well as accessibility where appropriate so that everyone can participate. Staff who work outdoors, or who are on the move between worksites and possibly have no permanent place of work, need to be specially managed and it is important that employers have those individuals specifically in mind and have solutions ready for them, even if the employer themselves is not planning the Christmas coffee-breaks.

Christmas entertainment

Christmas entertainment often happens in conjunction with Christmas dinner/buffet, but some employers organize Christmas entertainment separately. During Christmas entertainment, for example, employees (often with their families) walk around a Christmas tree, Santa Claus comes and entertains the staff's children, or entertainers are brought in to give a stand-up show or a concert for the staff.

It is important that Christmas entertainment is well advertised and organized so that as many employees as possible can benefit from it and enjoy being together with their colleagues. The purpose of the Christmas party is not to show superiority or originality, but to strengthen teamwork and give employees the opportunity to relax and create pleasant, positive and cheerful moments together.

Let's put all pride aside, let's not have photographers come to the area to get a headline about the employer's Christmas entertainment in the media, and create an environment and conditions to create positive memories with the staff without using the situation as a public relations event.

Christmas decorations

More often than not, an individual is asked to decorate for Christmas at an employer. More often than not, it is an individual from the office whose job responsibility allows that person to have available time to do the decorations. But a note should be made that decorating for Christmas is often seen as a positive part of the holidays, and allowing one person to enjoy this tradition can make staff perceive that person as a "favourite".

It is a good idea for employers to organize Christmas decorations as a time for all staff, in all departments, regardless of job title, where everyone participates in making the workplace festive for the holidays.

Santa Claus at work

It is important that employers organize entertainment and announce it well in advance so that all employees have the opportunity to plan their work and enjoy at least part of the entertainment with their colleagues. This applies especially if masked people are invited into the workplace during working hours.

It is important that employers realize that some employees do not like unexpected events, and feel very anxious about expecting masked actors at their workplace at any time during the holidays, and that interacting with a random person under a thick white beard can be difficult for many.

It is good to both announce visits from Santa Claus in advance, as well as clearly define where the visits will take place in the workplace for those individuals who choose to avoid all contact with Santa Claus.

Secret-Santa games

Employees are as different as they are many, and there are many reasons why secret santa-games can be fun, or downright difficult/devastating in the workplace.

Many secret-santas enjoy finding Christmas gifts for their coworkers, and sometimes there are gifts in the plural. Workstations get decorated as a surprise, and fun messages are passed between people in complete anonymity until the secret Santas are revealed with great fanfare.

Others perceive this as pressure from societal code of conduct to show behavior that is not natural or difficult for them, and those secret-Santas perceive themselves as a laggard that makes them feel uncomfortable during duration of the game. Not only do the secret-Santas worry about "not being as much fun as everyone else", but also are having to fight the feeling that they are letting their gift-recipients down by "not being fun enough". Also, secret-Santas are often obliged to buy at least one gift for their recipient, something that many secret-Santas either find difficult to choose or are financially incapable of covering during this often most expensive time of year for most.

Similarly, the gift recipients themselves often feel left out during the game; seeing co-workers receiving numerous gifts, funny messages, and lots of laughter and fun from others, while they themselves worry that their secret-Santa maybe just doesn't like them.

Secret-Santa games are therefore fun, if all employees are in the same place and are given the same opportunity by the employer to stand on equal footing in the game.

Employees themselves

We, the employees, tend to focus on what our employer can do for us during the holidays. We talk about what we get from an employer, how often something is done, and what mentality accompanies what is done for us. The holidays are often seen as a period where the monetary amount the employer spends on the staff is added up.

But we forget that the money spent is not the most important thing, but our own well-being. We ourselves are responsible of putting the festive spirit in ourselves, regardless of how much an employer spends on us, and we are in turn responsible for having a positive effect on the people around us.

It is not our job to save other people's holidays, or to make sure that everyone is in a festive mood every day. But it is up to us to make sure that we are not the reason why someone perceives a situation as difficult, negative or hostile in any way.

This is something that is important for all of us to adopt in the workplace, regardless of the employer, the time of year, and events in our local environment and society.

In conclusion

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is clear that it doesn't really matter what employers choose to do for their staff during the holidays as long as equality is held in high regard, respect is shown towards the different needs and requirements of as many people as possible, and that satisfaction and joy towards (and with) staff is an absolutely paramount.

The holiday treat does not have to be expensive, or complicated, but to be organized in such a way that it supports the entire staff and gives them satisfaction at work. Whether it's hiring full-time Santa Clauses with accompanying Christmas meals and gifts every day, or simply allowing staff to decorate their workplace together, any positive and thoughtful steps towards Christmas treats will be paid back many times over to the employer in the form of positive memories and a stronger relationship with their employees.

Let's be the employers (and employees!) who fill our colleagues with joy and happiness during the holidays!

Article appeared first on Smartland 18.11.2024 [link].