Tuesday 17 December 2019 5:29 am

Dear Santa... please no more office politics?

Matthew Kay is managing director of Vario from Pinsent Masons.

Christmas can be difficult for some, personally as well as professionally, but there is a lot that an organisation can do to ease pressure and show staff that it values their hard work. 

So how can you sweep away those cobwebs, “deck the halls”, and help mitigate the potential for office politics this festive season?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

How can you bring together everyone during a period of high political tension, without an angry debate in your office following the results of the General Election? 

Why not hold a Christmas quiz to distract and bring your team together? Mix up those in different departments when choosing teams — this bonding will boost internal networking. And the number one rule? No squabbling allowed, unless it’s over the last mince pie. 

’Tis the season to be jolly

There are some who may struggle to join in with the Christmas spirits. Importantly, have compassion and understanding, and don’t put pressure on people to enjoy Christmas. There are many reasons why people don’t want to celebrate the holidays. 

But equally, make sure that no one feels like an outsider. After all, Christmas is a time of generosity. 

Why not hold a fundraising event internally to raise money for charity and boost spirits? A promise auction, for example, can encourage everyone to do kind gestures for their colleagues — as well as being fun. 

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree

Even if drinking and dancing all night long or a golf day is what some staff want for their Christmas party, these are not necessarily inclusive. 

Initiatives introduced to encourage diversity and inclusion, and support for mental health also need to extend to the Christmas party, so staff feel rewarded and welcome. For example, even if the working day is tight, consider lunchtime events so that staff who have to juggle family life with work don’t have to leave early or skip the party entirely.

Other alternatives include a culinary class, dinner at a restaurant, or an inspirational talk given by a key figure in your business sector, or even a mindfulness session. These could all be alcohol-free events too. 

Making spirits bright

How can you reward  employees and make them feel valued, as well as positive, for the challenges in the New Year ahead? Make sure that development reviews are in the diary, and assess whether you’re doing enough to make sure that employees’ concerns are listened to, and that they are getting support where needed. 

For example, can you offer more flexible working options? Are you doing enough for wellbeing? This year, we held a series of events for our contract lawyers around topics to help them personally — these included mindfulness, sleep, and imposter syndrome. 

Whatever internal politics or personal dramas are stopping your office from feeling festive, it’s worth remembering the iconic line from Miracle on 34th Street: “Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind.”

Main image credit: Getty

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