From heart-warming gatherings to cozy weather and time spent with loved ones, the holiday season is one many people look forward to all year.
Yet, for surprisingly many, the holidays can feel a bit stressful and even lonely. More than 11% of Americans report feeling extreme loneliness heading into the winter holidays, and 88% believe the holidays are the most stressful time of the year, with challenges like high expectations, travel, and family events contributing to these feelings.
The good news is that, as an employer, you have a unique opportunity to provide a safe haven and a happy place during this special time of year. That's why it's important to put some extra effort into boosting employee morale during the holidays - transforming holiday stress into holiday happiness and creating a joyful space for people to connect with one another and feel a sense of belonging in their work environment.
Make the office your employee's happy place
If your typical workplace holiday traditions are limited to putting up a few seasonal decorations and giving your employees a generic gift card, this is the year you can step it up by doing or giving something more unique, memorable, and engaging.
In this article, we'll explore a variety of creative ways you can create a cheerful holiday spirit in your workplace and get on the way to boosting employee happiness and making your employees feel appreciated and recognized.
There are so many different creative ways to generate an atmosphere of joy and belonging for both your in-office and remote employees during the holiday season. Here are some of our favorite ideas.
Deck the office halls
One of the primary ways to get people into the holiday spirit is to decorate your office with seasonal decorations such as lights, snowflakes, snowmen, and more.
But we recommend going beyond just having ops set up some decorations to actually allowing your employees to get in on the fun. A great activity can be to block an hour on the calendar for everyone, set out decorations, and allow people to decorate their desks while also having some time to have fun with one another. You can even host a holiday decor making workshop with an art's and crafts professional. Another option is to prompt people bring in their own holiday decorations to hang in the office.
And what about remote employees? Have them be part of the fun as well by prompting them to add a seasonal item to their workspace or even have them join the workshop via video streaming.
Offer seasonal Zoom backgrounds
You don't only have to keep your decorations in your physical office. Let the digital world get in on the fun too by having your design team create fun, branded holiday-themed backgrounds that people can use for their video calls. This way, everybody's screens will be lit up with holiday magic.
Go big on holiday treats
Whether it's a cookie decorating contest or an office bake-off, yummy treats and drinks are a surefire way to boost dopamine levels, especially when the weather outside is frightful. The holiday season is a perfect time to keep the kitchen stocked with a few extra on-theme treats or to give a sweet little surprise on a Friday by bringing in something special. An employee favorite is to create a hot cocoa bar in your break room with all of the best toppings, including mini marshmallows, candy canes, and whipped cream. Seasonal cocktails are also always a favorite!
Don't forget! To make sure your remote employees feel the love as well, send them something delicious directly to their homes. With Snappy's new Snack and Sweets collections, it's now easier and more delightful than ever to treat your remote workers and have them be part of the celebrations. Read all about the new collections here.
Open a dedicated holiday channel
With an increasingly larger portion of the workplace working from home, it's important to also plan for some holiday celebrations that include remote employees, too. A great idea for digital-first holiday fun is to create a channel on your company chat server just for holiday chit-chat. Participants can share photos of their decorated homes, exchange Christmas cookie recipes, ask for holiday movie recommendations, and more.
Build a custom office playlist
To encourage fun and cooperation, have everybody send in their favorite holiday song and combine them to create a custom office holiday playlist. This is also a great way to encourage everybody to share their own unique culture and background, letting employees hear holiday songs they may have never known of before. You can play this playlist throughout the season during happy hours, team events, and your office holiday party.
Host an ugly sweater contest
A newly beloved tradition that has emerged in the last few years, ugly sweater contests are a great way to encourage people to get creative by DIY-ing the ugliest holiday-themed sweater they can. Pets can join in the fun too!!
Choose a day and encourage your employees to wear their ugly sweater - in person or online. Then, give holiday-themed prizes to the most outrageous ones, with winners either chosen by a panel of judges or through an office-wide vote.
Run an online holiday GIF contest
Want a way to brighten up a dreary hump day or to celebrate the coming weekend? Consider hosting an online holiday GIF contest. Invite everybody to send or create a fun holiday-themed gif and let people vote on their favorites. You can display the winning gifs on an internal company page for all to enjoy throughout the holiday season and even offer a prize (or Snappy gift!) to the winners.
Include remote employees in your events
Throwing an office holiday party is a classic, even standard part of the holiday season, but it isn't necessarily the most inclusive for today's hybrid workplace reality. To make your holiday events accessible to your remote employees, here are some ideas to consider.
- Organize regional get-togethers for remote employees who live near each other
- Set up the tech ahead of time so that remote employees can video conference into your holiday party and easily see and be seen by the attendees.
- Consider send them party favors and decorations in advance that they can wear and use during the party.
- Send a gift during the virtual event so everyone receives it at the same time and shares the excitement
Give back as a team
You know what they say: a team that gives together, cooperates together. Okay, maybe they don't say that, but they should start! Because there is no better team-building activity than teaming up to give back to a cause.
Consider arranging an office-wide volunteering session or pooling funds to give a charitable donation in your organization's name, with the company matching employee donations. Another great option is to run a gift drive for families in need.
Top it off with meaningful holiday gifts for everyone!
One of the best ways to put a smile on your employees' faces during the holiday season is by giving them a thoughtful holiday gift. This gesture shows your employees that you appreciate them and all of their hard work, serving as a reminder of your gratitude for everything they've done in the past year. In fact, 45% of employees say that gifts from their employer are a reflection of their value at the company, making gifts a leading way to offer employee appreciation when they are looking for it the most.
If you're not sure what kind of gift to give this holiday season, Snappy has got your back with some amazing gift ideas for employees. They can all be found in our holiday gift collection, curated by our in-house team of gifting professionals.
Best of all, Snappy's easy-to-use platform allows you to send a great gift no matter your budget and to schedule ahead in order to make sure that it arrives in time for the holiday season.
May your office be merry and bright
You never know which of your employees are thrilled to spend their favorite holidays with their family and which tend to experience holiday loneliness and stress. But as an employer, you're in a unique position to make a big difference in your employees' lives this holiday season by creating a safe, positive space in your office.
By stepping in to boost employee morale, you can put a smile on your employee's faces this winter as they celebrate the holidays with their work family. If you already have a Snappy account, our Holiday Collection packed with plenty of additional employee holiday gifts is now available on your dashboard here. If you’re not a Snappy customer yet and want to learn more about our great gifting solutions, click here to get in touch!