Workplace Holiday Dos and Don’ts

It’s that time of year everyone in the office looks forward to…and kind of dreads at the same time. The weeks leading up to Christmas can be filled with fun or fraught with social peril (usually both). Parties, activities, gift giving – there’s an upside and a downside to everything. Here are some suggestions for making the season bright with a minimum of angst.

DO keep the cost of gifts down. People enjoy grab bags and Secret Santa exchanges, but not when the price tag is too high. A price range of $10 to $15 is generally considered appropriate. And do be especially sensitive if there have been recent cuts in staff, raises or bonuses.

DO reward your employees. If you’re a manager, this is a perfect time to say “thanks” for everyone’s efforts during the year. Gifts shouldn’t be expensive, which is certainly a relief if you have a large team!

DO be equitable with employee gifts. It’s always okay to give everyone the same thing: chocolates, gift cards, coffee mugs, etc. If you can, make the gifts a little personal – for instance, give everyone a desk calendar, but tailor the choices to the employees’ interests: cats, dogs, puzzles, favorite TV shows, etc.

DON’T provide a nonstop holiday soundtrack. Avoid the temptation to flood the office with the Chipmunks, Celine Dion or the Three Tenors. Not only is it a distraction, not everybody likes the same Christmas music. Plus, we’ve all been hearing these songs in every retail establishment since just after Halloween.

DON’T go overboard. A holiday celebration is great, whether it’s an after-hours party, a department buffet with all-day grazing, or a pot-luck lunch in a break room. But pick one, not all. The same goes for activities like decorating contests or daily trivia games. You don’t want to send employees home too burned-out on Christmas cheer to enjoy it with their families!

Finally, one last DO, and it’s an important one:

DO remember the reason for the season. It’s all about giving, especially to those less fortunate. Take up a collection for a local homeless shelter or collect toys for a children’s hospital. Many organizations have Adopt-A-Family programs where employees can buy personal gifts for families in difficult circumstances. However your company celebrates the season, remembering those in need will make it brighter for everyone!



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