They call it the crazy season. Its that time of year when as a business owner you will be pulling out the company credit card and allocating man hours to organising that traditional works Christmas party. Whilst many look forward to that once a year excuse to let their hair down and take to the dance floor with colleagues however many dread the invitation dropping into their mailbox. Whether that’s because they don’t celebrate Christmas for religious or other reasons, don’t drink, find the whole social setting difficult to deal with, have family, pet or other external works commitments it can be tough and sometimes impossible for individuals not to wanting to be seen the ‘party pooper’
The many benefits of the Christmas do are unarguable. A chance to show your staff how much you appreciate them by booking a fun venue (maybe one they could not afford to go to themselves). It can be a great ‘bonding’ experience an opportunity for the Team to spend some quality time together. And get to know each other better
Why do work Christmas parties not work for everyone?
It’s worth considering though if at that busy time of year do you or your staff really need an extra ‘do’ to squeeze into the calendar? That’s without considering the many pitfalls of the traditional ‘Christmas do’ I’m sure you are all familiar with. Pre do; The downtime organising how they are all going to get there, what to wear, pre-ordering food, the mither of the seating plan, if partners are coming not coming. Do they get an early finish if it’s on a normal working day? And that’s just before you go. The night itself is fraught with dangers which usually you don’t find out about until a text message or email land with you the next working day. You may find yourself consider complaints about inappropriate behaviour, sickness due to overindulgence (oh no should you have paid for all that alcohol are you going to be landed with any liability)? And even employees leaving due to events of the night. The traditional Christmas Do can be a legal and logistical nightmare
Ideas for alternative Christmas parties…
Now I am definitely no killjoy I love a Christmas Party as much as the next person however I do feel Christmas could be your opportunity to really show how seriously you are taking diversity in the workplace and offering your staff something they will individually appreciate. Maybe you can save some costs too or just invest the money in a way individuals will value more. As an example the Marketing Business I use Green Umbrella took the opportunity to cater for their Christmas gathering in works time by treating the team to a Weatherspoon’s breakfast. It provided a great venue for their morning team meeting, gave people an environment that opened up the conversation, didn’t encroach into personal family time and took away that pressure and cost of what to wear, how to get there and whether or not to drink. A great alternative to the Christmas party, however there are other ways to change it up a bit like:
- Giving back some of that down time by letting your staff have an extended lunch to allow people to get their Christmas shopping done
- Allow individuals to donate the cash to their favourite charity (or pick a company charity to donate a lump sum to)
- Do an activity together like help with a local Charity for an afternoon
- Run a fun facilitated ‘team build’ showing the teams you care about them whilst providing that bonding experience which will have beneficial business benefits
- Or open the company up for a family day so people can invite their nearest and dearest in
- Maybe give a morning or afternoon off to watch the school nativity or take a parent to a dementia club lunch or for those who prefer an afternoon to go to a gong bath (could be a fun activity for the whole team?
There are lots of ways of creative ways of showing your staff you care at Christmas and creating a team bonding experience they will talk about into the new year. I’d love to hear what you have tried for your works Christmas party……..