Embracing Holidays in the Office

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The holidays in any setting can bring great joy- however, at the office they can bring about some tricky scenarios.

From sweet treats, holiday parties that serve alcohol, to employee engagement- it is sometimes hard to ensure that the office is still running as usual.

For employee and people teams, the holidays can raise touchy points. In a 2016 TriNet Survey, 37% of employees said they were somewhat excited for the office holiday party and 46% said that there were always 1 or 2 employees acting inappropriate at the gathering.

Moreso, a gift swap or holiday party isn’t what most employees want for the holidays. Instead, in a survey conducted by Ranstand, it was found that 90% of employees would rather have a bonus or extra vacation time in lieu of a holiday party.

While each companies circumstances is difference, it’s important to think about your workforce needs, especially when wanting to show appreciation during the holidays.

Here are some ideas to encourage engagement during the holidays as well as spread the holiday spirit and joy in the office:


Cater in Lunch- if some employees are working deadlines close to the holidays, cater in a themed lunch. Providing employees with a free lunch can show a great appreciation for their work and also allow them to step away from their desk and interact with coworkers.

Provide an Extra Day Off- Traveling for the holidays can be stressful with limited vacation. Providing an extra day off allows the stress of holiday travel and balancing a workload to ease up.

Provide Bonuses in Lieu of a Party- Holiday parties can be expensive, especially if providing food and an open bar. While parties are a great way to celebrate the company, sometimes employees would prefer a bonus. Review your expense for the previous year’s gathering and determine if it would be more cost effective to provide bonuses.

Encourage Unplugging During the Holidays- Even though the holidays are a time for gathering of friends and family, some employees feel the need to still scroll through email and attend to work. Encourage your workforce that this is not necessary and they should take the time to enjoy family and decompress from work.

Give-Back Days- The holidays are about giving back. Whether going as a group from the company or allowing individuals to take a day of their choosing- find an organization to give back with. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, packing food at a food pantry, or donating as a company to a charitable cause, employees will feel gratitude and proud to work for a company that gives back to the community.

Employee engagement during the holidays can be tough since many are planning vacations, pre-occupied with gift-buying, or just itching to take time off to be with family.  By trying one of these methods to decrease holiday stress and improve joy in the office, employees will be more spirited during this holiday season.

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