With the holiday season officially in full swing, you may be looking for ways to bring the holiday spirit into the workplace, and at the same time support your employees during this busy and at times stressful time of the year.
We’ve pulled together a list of some simple things you can do to foster this holiday spirit and culture at your workplace, so feel free to pick any that you’d like . . . consider it my holiday gift to you!
Flexible working has many benefits to companies and employees throughout the year, but even more so during the holiday season. Your employees are faced with the challenge of time — time to buy all their gifts, prepare their food, and let’s not forget going to all of the holiday parties. So why not give them the ‘gift of time’ and bring a bit of flexibility into the workplace? Can they work a different shift so they can see their children in the holiday concert, get to the shops early or stay at home baking cookies? Work with your managers to give their teams more flexibility to work different shifts or patterns to accommodate their needs. It helps them and will also help your business as it not only shows your employees that you care, but will better the chances that they’ll be more productive and focussed when they are at work. (We’ve talked a lot about the benefits of flexible working before.)
A big part of the holiday season is celebration, so why not bring this into the workplace? There’s lots of ways to celebrate with a festive atmosphere, but here are just a few to get you started:
Party.Everyone loves a good party, so why not have one with your work family? It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, so even if you don’t have a budget you can throw one, having employees bring in their favorite holiday treats. (Those are some of our most festive RGers in the photo above, from this year's holiday party!)
Decorating.Decorations are a great way of bringing the holiday spirit to the workplace, having it around you every day. No budget for decorations? No problem. Go back to your childhood days of making decorations like cutting snowflakes out of paper. This doubles as a great team building exercise.
Food. A big part of the holiday spirit is around seasonal foods, so go on, bring them into the workplace. Whether it’s by having a holiday baking competition, bringing in your favorite treat, or even a push for healthy fruit prepared in a festive way, find ways to celebrate the season with food.
Holiday films. A tradition we have at Reward Gateway is hosting a holiday film afternoon. It’s only a few hours, but it’s a great time to sit together and watch a film (and eat lots of lovely treats).
Festive video. Another tradition we have at Reward Gateway is our festive video, which costs absolutely nothing to prepare and produces an endless amount of laughter and joy. We’re hoping to top the one from last year with this year’s pick!
Who doesn’t love saving money, especially at this costly time of year? If you have an employee discount program in place, get out there and remind your employees to use it to help them save money. Remind them how helpful it can be by making savings both online and in shops, so however they like to shop. If you don’t a have a perk, then you can still help your employees by giving them tips on how to save some money by shopping smart.
Studies have shown that giving thanks and expressing gratitude can make someone happier and more productive. This is important throughout the year, but during the holiday season it can be that much more special for these two reasons:
It’s the end of the year, so it’s nice to give and receive thanks to represent appreciation for a who year of effort and contribution.
When it comes to thanks, or recognition as we call it in the HR profession, there are many ways to do it — from a simple informal thank you, to peer-to-peer e-cards, to formal recognition programs. Try to build on your existing program but also find ways to add a special holiday twist. For example, at Reward Gateway we create a special e-card just for the holiday season so you can send something a bit different. (Check out our Thanksgiving one, below.)
So far I’ve talked about what you can give your employees, but my last tip is something your employees can give. As we know, the holiday season is about helping others, so why not bring this into the workplace? Here are two ways you and your employees can do this:
Giving tree. If your office has a Christmas or holiday tree, why not turn it into a giving tree? So instead of hanging decorations or ornaments, hang tags which represent a gift for a charity. Employees pick a tag, buy the gift, and then put it under the tree to be delivered to a needy child or family.
Volunteering. Volunteering is something which many companies do throughout the year, with many opportunities to so during the holiday season. If you can, give your employees time off to support these worthy causes, whether it’s through extra time or through flexible working arrangements. Our photographer Chris Parkes recently talked about his volunteering journey, for more inspiration.
So try out one or more of these ideas in your workplace over the next few weeks. They’ll give you a great opportunity to engage with your employees, showing them you care about them, their families and the wider community. I’m confident they’ll make a difference. We like to share our own festive spirit and office fun using the hashtag #RGFun on Twitter and Instagram, so please let us know what you’re up to, and we’ll be sure to share it.
Debra is the co-author of "Build It: The Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement," which she wrote with Reward Gateway Founder, Glenn Elliott. She's a Rewards guru, having over 20 years experience as a rewards leader, speaker, teacher and a frequent contributor to the Reward Gateway blog.