Let’s face it: In the bustling world of office life, the month of December can sometimes be gloomy. As everyone hustles to meet end-of-year deadlines, the cold makes it harder to wake up and go in t morning. Fewer hours of daylight and Vitamin D deficiency can lead to chronic lethargy – or at the least, a persistent “meh” feeling.
For the creative Office Manager, however, the holiday season presents a unique opportunity to infuse a much-needed dose of cheer into the workplace. Against the drudgery of winter, the holiday spirit can act as a balm: sparkling lights, the spirit of giving… why not seize upon the chance to infuse a bit of cheer into the workplace?
First and foremost, celebrating the holidays is a powerful way to boost morale and foster a sense of community. End-of-year workloads can be heavy, but a festive atmosphere eases stress and promotes a more relaxed, collaborative environment as people wrap up work before vacation. Social events on the office calendar are also important to break up the routine, giving the team a chance to reboot so they can check off their remaining projects with energy.
With this in mind, here are eight ways to liven up the office for the holidays, courtesy of your friends at Bevi.
1. When in doubt, decorate
A little décor goes a long way to make the office more cheery. Remember when choosing decorations that it’s important to keep your office décor inclusive. Snowflakes and winter scenes foster a festive spirit without invoking any specific religious affiliation.
While traditional tinsel is made with a metallic coating that’s destined to rot in landfills, there are lots of small independent vendors selling recyclable alternatives. Incorporating poinsettias, strands of cranberries, and found greenery are also easy ways to add some much-needed reminders of nature, which can be much-appreciated in the dead of winter. If your office has even just a handful of craft-oriented employees, making holiday decorations together can be a great small-group bonding activity.
Lucky for you if crafts aren’t your thing — you can also outsource the whole thing. Known for their interior landscaping services, the company Ambius also provides holiday decorating services for businesses. They can provide a full range of decorations, from wreaths to lighting, all designed to fit the specific aesthetic of your office.
2. Add some musical ambiance
We all know music can be transformative. Have you ever been feeling out of it, put your favorite song on and noticed your mood improve trifold? When it’s dark so early and ever so cold outside, you can fight the lethargy by offering energetic beats in the breakroom.
Creating a collaborative office holiday playlist can be a great way to learn about your co-worker’s taste and inevitably provide some fun water-break banter. If your worried debate over which holiday song cover is better would spark conflict between your office’s resident music heads, you can instead lean on the analytics-driven holiday playlist that came out of a recent Spotify and LinkedIn collaboration. Apparently Michael Bublé really is popular.
3. Bring everyone together with a potluck
Nothing makes people feel more invested in others than giving them the fuel that feeds them. What about adding a good-old fashioned potluck to your company’s calendar this holiday season? Not only are food-related activities guaranteed to be popular, a potluck is also a great way to learn about different cultures and foster a spirit of inclusivity. To ensure no one leaves hungry, consider assigning every department to bring either entrees, appetizers, or desserts, and run a quick survey of your employees to plan ahead to make sure you’re accommodating for dietary restrictions. No matter what, you’ll learn something about your colleagues – perhaps Kevin will surprise you and turn out to be an amazing chef when he’s not busy coding, or you’ll discover Pam’s hidden talent for Moroccan cuisine.
4. Elevate your happy hour
The wine tasting: an oenophile’s dream, and a sophisticated twist on the typical festive revelry. At a time when many of us are anxious to get on vacation, the wine tasting experience lets coworkers indulge in a little fantasy and imagine the luscious vineyards of France, California, or Italy. Imagine: the sound of clinking glasses and notes of oak and berry tantalizing the senses. Joyful, communal, and just a little indulgent – what better embodies the holiday spirit? Plus it’s interactive and educational, leaving everyone that participates more enlightened about their preferences.
Led by specialists in creating engaging and interactive team-building experience, the company Confetti leads wine tastings which can accommodate both remote and in-person workers. Just choose your company’s budget and input the addresses, and Confetti can have wine kits delivered to you for your next virtual or hybrid bonding event.
5. Let Bevi be your bartender
You know it already: the holiday season can be a time where people go overboard on drinking. One way Office Managers can encourage responsible consumption is by distributing drink tickets rather than offering a full open bar, a strategy that can subtly encourage moderation. Make sure you serve plenty of food at your office party: a well-fed crowd is less likely to overindulge in alcohol.
Also, offer plenty of enticing alternatives to alcohol. For a healthy alternative to alcohol, how about a sparkling water seltzer? Not to brag, but each Bevi machine comes with mix-and-match natural flavors, with the option to add electrolytes – a trick for extra hydration which can help ease any hangover.
6. Secret Decors: Deck the Cubicles
A creative twist on holiday decoration, the game Secret Decors assigns each co-worker to secretly decorate another team member’s desk or workspace over the course of the holiday season. Employees get to step into the shoes of stealthy elves, brainstorming and executing a festive makeover and testing their knowledge of their co-workers’ tastes. Right before your office vacation, the elves will reveal themselves. It’s a clandestine operation of holiday creativity, inviting office workers to learn more about their assigned colleague. When decorating the space, remind your co-workers to respect one another’s privacy, and don’t be like Marc in Ugly Betty — the holiday season is no time for catty cruelty.
7. Turn the spirit of giving outward
Organizing a food drive or volunteer trip is a great way to create a sense of purpose and togetherness, transcending the usual office dynamic. Research local volunteer opportunities and consider what would resonate most with your co-workers. If pooling funds for a company-wide donation is more your style, the watchdog organization Charity Navigator provides a comprehensive rating system for charities, making it easier for businesses to find reputable organizations. Their website allows you to search and filter charities based on various criteria, like cause, rating, size, and location, to help ensure a good match for your company’s values.
8. Look to the future
Creating a company-wide New Year’s Resolution Board where employees are invited to share their personal and professional aspirations is a great way to foster a sense of optimism and forward-thinking. More than mere decoration, a Resolution Board also serves as a conversation starter and community builder. As employees share their goals, whether it’s returning to the gym, improving work-life balance, or finally spending their ten minutes a day on Duolingo learning Spanish, they inadvertently contribute to a supportive network where colleagues can motivate and hold each other accountable.
That’s it – eight ways to liven up the office for the holidays. By incorporating some of these ideas, you can help beat the winter blues and ensure a warm start to the New Year, where everyone returns to the office having learned a little bit more about their co-workers.
Engaging in holiday festivities is not just about decorations or parties – it’s an expression of appreciation and care for employees. Plus, unlike the decorations, the effects aren’t just seasonal – when you’re encouraging team bonding and sparking creativity, the dividends are long-lasting.
Happy holidays from Bevi! Interested in more office tips and tricks? Check out our other blog posts.