The holidays are here – and it’s time for fun, relaxation and joyous celebration. But all the fa la la-ing, hall decking, shopping and reconnecting with loved ones also can cause added stress and anxiety, especially if work turns hectic on top of it all.

Emotions run high during the holiday season and the crunch is on to meet year-end deadlines, study for finals, make it on time to the school concert, and agonize over whether that much-wanted toy will still be available after the Black Friday tsunami passes.

How can you help your employees to truly enjoy the spirit of the season – without being plagued by sleepless nights and stress-crammed days?

This really can be “the most wonderful time of the year” when it comes to team building and setting the stage for success in 2015. Try these options at your workplace:

Give Back

Encourage your employees to donate to charity. Add a competitive element by dividing people into teams and have a “charity challenge” to see which group can raise the most money or collect the most gift items or canned goods. As a prize for the winners, have the company match their efforts and then treat team members to lunch with the boss.

  • Employees also can volunteer their time. Send teams to local soup kitchens, nursing homes and other organizations who can use their assistance. They can serve meals, read to children or distribute gifts and sing carols.

Visits from “Secret Santa”

This is a great time to start a Secret Santa system. Change the name to a more diverse “Secret Pal” and you can continue it year round.

  • Set ground rules up front. For instance, limit spending on any single item to five or 10 dollars. Defining expectations ahead of time avoids anyone’s feelings being hurt.
  • Reveal Secret Pals at a holiday party. This can be a more elaborate lunch or dinner – or to keep things cost effective, have everyone bring a dish. Add interest and tradition by having them share favorite recipes. You can even have a quiz regarding who brought what and the story behind the items. Then distribute gift cards as prizes.

Keep Things Diverse

Whenever you plan employee events, keep diversity top of mind. You may want to establish an Activity Committee, with this as one of their overall objectives. Your committee also can plan, orchestrate, staff and keep records. Membership should include both veteran and new employees to ensure fresh ideas and continuity.

  • Honor multiple cultures. This may mean serving something in addition to hot dogs at your next picnic, for vegetarians and those who adhere to religious restrictions. If it’s Ramadan, offer takeout boxes for those who are fasting and if it’s a Friday during Lent, include fish on your menu.
  • Support dietary restrictions. Include sugar-free, gluten-free and nut-free foods. Have your committee look into any other specialized needs amongst your employee population.

Holiday team building done right can help position you as a caring employer who really knows, understands and respects the greatest gift of all: your people.

For additional morale and productivity boosting ideas, read our related posts or contact the workforce development experts at PrideStaff Modesto today.


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