Surveys have shown half of all workers will do online holiday shopping while at work. Managers face the annual challenge of meeting year end goals while trying to keep employees’ minds off the holidays and on task.
As a result some companies go too far and channel the Grinch by pretending the holidays aren’t happening to keep their employee’s focused on meeting year end objectives. However, this can backfire, with employees feeling unappreciated and overworked during what is supposed to be the best time of the year.
The best way organizations can manage this frantic season is by creating boundaries by planning time for employees to enjoy the holiday cheer so they can go back to focusing on work. We’re featuring three companies that do it right to keep employees engaged during the holiday season even if they’re not working in the office, check them out:
1. Throw a remote holiday party
LessAccounting.com, an accounting software provider, has employees in six different time zones. Co-founder Allan Branch told Entrepreneur.com, “We have no water cooler. It is really easy to have a whole bunch of strangers who do not interact at all.”
To counteract this and bring their team together during the holidays they throw a party at a time where all their employees can meet over Skype. They shop online together to buy each team member a gift while enjoying food and refreshments.
However, each gift recipient has to put their microphone on mute when the team is discussing what gift they should get for them. The team enjoys seeing the reactions on their co-workers’ faces as gift suggestions are bandied about.
2. Let them dine out, on you!
Financial services firm Brooks Macdonald bought all of its employees a subscription to the Gourmet Society for the holidays. Eleanor Ball, a marketing executive at Brooks Macdonald says, “At Christmas time, our employees will be able to take people out for meals or enjoy discounts on meals in January when everyone has less money to spend,” says Eleanor Ball, marketing executive at Brooks Macdonald. “We thought it was a nice idea that our staff could use it with their family and friends.”
It should come as no surprise that the company is one of the Sunday Times 100 best companies to work for.
3. Do a Secret Santa gift exchange, with a twist
North of Nine Communications, a full-service communications boutique in San Francisco, takes the traditional Secret Santa gift exchange and turns it up a notch.
Theirs is a week-long event they call Secret Santa Stalkers. During the week employees deliver prank gifts as well as legit ones to their co-workers. At the end of the week each employee has to guess who was their elf. “It is good team bonding,” says Emmi Buck, a client executive at the firm. “You have to coordinate 30 employees and even those in our remote offices are involved.”
The holiday season requires some give and take from management to their employees. By recognizing employees and empathizing with the stresses they are under during the holiday season, organizations can rally together to move mountains during the most hectic time of the year.
4. Alternative for office workers: Help employees relieve holiday stress.
Given the pressures of delivering on year-end goals and fulfilling personal holiday obligations, your employees are under a heightened level of stress during the season.
To compensate for this Jeremy Smith, co-founder & COO of on-demand parking startup SpotHero brings in yoga and meditation specialists to the office during holiday season to help employees relax. He told CIO.com, “Having someone come to the office makes it very easy for employees to take a break from their busy schedules and find a moment to relax.”
Are you interested in a solution to improve communication and engagement in your company next year? Get in touch with us to find out more about Beekeeper – mobile communication tool for teams, and we’ll be more than happy to show you how you can use it to reach and engage every employee.
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