The holiday season is upon us! This week’s blog is going to be a little different. It’s inspired by the employee perks I heard about at one local workplace. This workplace does some neat rewards all year but their holiday perks are a fun way to celebrate the season and reward employees. In order for employees to reap the benefits of the reward they have to participate in some activities such as baking, singing, and giving. If they participate, the reward is extra time off at the holiday time. It’s a great way to show employee appreciation but it also creates some interaction among employees and build camaraderie.
I thought in this week’s blog I’d offer some possible suggestions on some activities you could do at your workplace to create a similar atmosphere among your co-workers. If you have some other suggestions, please respond with them so we’ll have even more and we can repeat this next year. Of course if you have a labor-management committee, or any employee committee, you might want to charge them with coming up with some fun holiday team activities but make sure you include the reward!
Below are my five or six suggestions that could be done as multiples or just done as a single. Some I found through one source on the internet. I’ve provided the link.
- Since it is a holiday time with different holidays being celebrated, have a carry-in and ask people to bring a food associated with each of the different holidays. If some knows of a traditional food item or even a custom associated with a one of the holidays, they could bring it. Maybe there are some employees from other countries and they could bring food and customs that are popular in their country.
- Help with local charities. Maybe a team building decision for each department or section could be to determine which charity they want to work on. A suggestion list of local charities could be provided if they can’t find one of their own. Maybe guidelines could be established such as an amount to spend or a time deadline. If possible, maybe a match on financial donations could be done between employees and the organization.
- This could be done throughout the organization. Employees could carol throughout the site or maybe sing at specific times. Other locations could also be a possibility such as nursing homes, food pantries or kitchens. A group decision could be done with the carolers deciding on the songs. Practice time could be allowed.
- Here’s a variation of one on Inc.com Do a holiday jigsaw puzzle. Give puzzle pieces to different departments or sections. To solve the puzzle, they will have to work together. Allow time for them to work on it.
- Another one from Inc.com suggests doing a holiday mystery. A variation on this would be to give employees clues to help solve a mystery. Employees within their departments or sections try to solve the mystery based on the clues they have. You also could encourage departments to work together to solve the mystery. You could give each department one extra clue the other departments don’t have. This could encourage even more collaboration. A representative from the department could get together with other representatives from the other departments to share the extra clue each department received.
- A Time-Out Room. Holidays can be extremely stressful for many and just having the opportunity to tune out the holidays at break-time may help. Quiet music, and if possible, some comfortable furniture can help. Other “de-bunking” items can be added, too.
These do more than just provide workplace fun at the holiday time. All of the above activities, including those at the local workplace, help people learn about each other and work together but in a way that relieves some of the pressure that comes with the everyday work world.
In addition, a few of those activities above can actually help with problem solving and group decision-making skills. Many workplaces complain that the ability to work together as a team and solve problems is lacking at their sites. The problem solving in these games are not typical workplace issues employees will encounter everyday but they can be a start on skills in group decision making and problem solving and that’s important. In fact, one of these is similar to an exercise we do with groups to help determine root cause.
And finally, having some great perks in the workplace simply helps to create a more positive work environment. It’s one where people will want to work because they realize they are appreciated and that helps employees have a sense of ownership. For the organization, there are lots of benefits to creating a positive environment. Less turnover is one of those benefits. The costs associated with turnover are reduced and it gives the workplace more experienced employees to help with issues as they come up or help develop customer relationships. The workplace also becomes more productive as that sense of ownership employees have is taken seriously. For example, when employees at this same local workplace were told they could go home early one Friday afternoon in the summer, some complained because they had meetings scheduled. The perk of the Friday afternoons off were later scheduled so employees could plan their work around them. How often do you hear employees complain about getting off early?