WADE LAW GROUP
THE LEGAL ISSUE 408-842-1688
SPREAD HOLIDAY CHEER AT WORK
THROUGH GOOD DEEDS AND KINDNESS
The holiday season is a time of festive joy and an opportunity to create lasting memories with the people closest to you. Inevitably, that includes the folks you work with every day. Only the Grinchiest of business owners keep every semblance of the holiday season from entering the office. Spreading a little cheer and creating a festive environment can help boost morale and end the calendar year on a high — but only when you go about it the right way. Unlike traditions held among your family and closest friends, there are some rules to follow for celebrating the most wonderful time of the year at work. It’s important to make sure that you don’t create distractions or allow things to get too rowdy at the office. Striking the right balance can be delicate, but it’s much easier if you remember the following suggestions. CELEBRATE INCLUSIVELY It is perfectly acceptable to put up a tree, string lights, and adorn your office with Christmas-themed decorations. Heck, you can even invite Santa to stop by if you like. That being said, the holidays should be a time of inclusion and celebration, not a time of leaving people out. If you have members of your team who celebrate holidays other than Christmas at this time of year — such as Ramadan, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa — be sure to include some nods to their personal and cultural traditions. And it’s just as crucial to ensure that you don’t force anyone to participate in activities that could make them feel uncomfortable. The workplace is not an ideal setting for, say, Nativity reenactments. Focus on aspects of the holiday season that resonate with everyone, and you’ll avoid awkward situations and unneeded controversy. GIVE MEANINGFULLY Sorry to say it, but nobody on your team is going to remember the cookie-cutter, generically messaged cards you printed off en masse. There’s no use in giving meaningless gifts to employees or colleagues out of a sense of obligation. Put some thought into it, and your staff will be thankful. If you have a small team, you can probably come up with something personalized for each employee. Gift-giving at the office shouldn’t be required, but it shouldn’t be forbidden, either. Again, the key is to create an atmosphere where people can participate in what they want to and opt out of what they don’t. A powerful way to put the
spirit of giving to good use is to partner with local charities to provide presents to children in your area who are underprivileged. There are countless organizations that do this sort of work, and it’s a way for your company to give back to the community. That’s a type of shopping even Scrooge could get on board with. DECORATE TASTEFULLY It’s cute when a kindergarten classroom features a hodgepodge of amateur holiday decorations, but it’s less charming at a place of business. You have to create rules to keep decorations to a level below outrageous, especially if you have customers visit your office. In general, it’s a good idea to mark which spaces can and can’t be decorated and set some boundaries in terms of what’s acceptable. You also need to monitor how much time decorating takes away from work. If teams want to make paper stockings at their weekly meetings, you should allow it. However, if somebody wants to spend multiple hours to really get in the spirit — time that could be spent on other tasks — don’t feel bad about asking them to clock out for it. Decorating may be within the purview of the role of office manager, but it’s certainly not what you’re paying salespeople to do. THANK PEOPLE RELENTLESSLY Gratitude is one of the core values of the holidays, making it the perfect time to express your appreciation to your staff. You should give props and share kind words year-round, but upping your efforts during the holidays will have a huge impact. For some businesses, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year. For others, it’s the slowest. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, odds are you have employees who are stretched thin and expending extra effort. Maybe they’re covering for others on vacation. Perhaps they’re juggling work and creating a memorable season for their kids. Acknowledging their presence and thanking them for all the work they’ve done this year is bound to put a smile on their faces.
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