It’s the most wonderful time, and the most difficult time of the year. Statistics show that 40% are already stressed out before the holidays arrive. In a poll of 600 full-time employees, Accenture’s HR Services found that 66% of the respondents reported additional stress at work during the holidays. All this added pressure can put a serious dent in your team's productivity and harm their collaborative efforts if not addressed.
For some businesses, this reality comes at the worst time possible. Holidays are often when companies need employees at their absolute best to handle the increasing demands of the season. So what can facilities management do to alleviate some of the stress and help increase morale? We've gathered a few traditional team-building activities, and some new ideas to try out with your office this year.
If your facility doesn't hold a company-wide holiday party, consider having a nice luncheon for your department. Reserve a private room at a restaurant near work, and have them select a few lunch items that your employees can choose from. This way you can have a better control over budget. Play a few holiday games or just enjoy a nice hour away. The important part is changing the scenery, and allowing your team a chance to unwind together. This is a holiday tradition at iOffice that everyone looks forward to.
If a separate luncheon is too much to plan, have your facilities management team bring in items from home one day for a causal potluck lunch. Be sure people sign up for different course to avoid a meal full of dessert. For those who are afraid of the kitchen, have them bring drinks or serving utensils. Either way, everyone can participate! Here are some of the iOffice employees' favorite potluck recipes.
Nothing will bring your office together like a Secret Santa exchange. The trick with this game is the gift giver must learn more about their recipient. To keep costs down, have a spending limit. To make it even more of a surprise, don't tell employees when they have to give their gift. It will be fun for random gifts to pop up during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Here are a few office-appropriate secret santa gift ideas under $25.
The familiar office cookie exchange is always a classic option for your employees to mingle with one another. However, you take a new twist on this tradition and have employees bring their favorite healthy snack to share, or extras from a holiday party. The key is you want your employees in communicate on a new level, aside from work, without adding extra stress because of the event.
Everyone knows yoga relives stress and improves flexibility and posture. However getting yourself to a yoga class is another story. Hold one during a slow hour for your office. Or you could have two classes and allow people to sign up to avoid having the entire office away from their desks. Many yoga studios would be happy to bring their class to you if you have the space. Some may even provide the mats for you! If yoga isn't popular among your group or facilities management team, take a quick poll to see what activity is.
Providing for others is one of the best ways you can get your team to bond this season. If everyone can agree to bring an unwrapped toy, volunteer to donate them for your office. Or, you could select a few angels from the Salvation Army and have each member on your team bring a different item for a specific child. Either way, you're giving back to the community as a whole. To find a Toys For Tots drop-off center near you, click here.
Now this won't work for every office, however if you're not a brick-and-mortar store that can afford to close up shop early a few Fridays in December, try it out! Your employees will appreciate the extra time to finish holiday errands, and a chance to beat the traffic. To take it a step further, you could have employees work from home every Friday in December as well. This would cut out commute times allowing them a few extra hours to wrap up chores.
Many employers may be wary of this suggestion, however there is evidence to prove employees are actually more productive during their time working when they are granted special time off. One CEO recognizes his "employees' need to recharge". He mentions their half-days make "Friday mornings feel unique -- with a final productive sprint before the extra-long weekend."
A universal time-consuming task during the holidays is not only shopping for gifts, but wrapping them. Stop by Target's clearance rack and pick up a few rolls of paper, some ribbons, tissue paper, tape and a few gift bags. Have a small corner where people can go to wrap a few gifts at work without the worry the recipient of the gift will walk in on them at home. Just be sure to have wrappings out by December 10th, to give Hanukkah gift-givers time to wrap before the 17th.
Popular among college-aged students, the Ugly Sweater Party is now common with all age groups! Get your employees to stretch their creativity by having everyone dress up the last day before the break. It will be fun for everyone to showcase an outfit they haven't worn since 1993. Have a vote for the "ugliest" sweater, and maybe they could win a clothing store gift card to go buy cuter clothes.
It needs to be done, so why not get everyone involved? Have a simple lunch catered in, and allow everyone to help with setting up the tree, hanging lights or setting up a few fun displays. It will be a nice change of pace, and will allow your office to work together in a new way.
Kaitlan Whitteberry is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from the University of Missouri's journalism program, and currently focuses on iOFFICE press releases, software updates and related news.