Aside from a holiday party, there are lots of creative, inexpensive ways to bring your "office family" together.
December is the busiest month for many companies, including mine. Here at VerticalResponse, we've got our noses to the stone and working 'round the clock to make sure our small business customers are successfully promoting the heck out of themselves through email marketing campaigns, social media and holiday events.
During super busy times like these, I gotta be honest, it can be a little tough on our employees. I'm sure they'd rather be out shopping and spending more time with their families than working.
But the holidays are also a great excuse to boost company spirit, and remind employees that time spent with their "office family" (which, let's face it, we see more often than our real families a lot of the time) doesn't have to be all work and no play.
Sure, there's the big holiday party. But you can also sprinkle in some fun, inexpensive things to do around the office to create a more festive mood.
Here are six easy ways to get into the holiday spirit and bring your "office family" together:
1. A little decor goes a long way.
Last week, we set up and decorated a holiday tree in the reception area. People still can't stop talking about how wonderful it smells the second they walk into the office. Not a bad way to start the work day!
2. Unleash everyone's inner sweet tooth.
Around the holidays, it's all about sweet stuff--cakes, cookies, chocolate, oh my! (There goes my diet.) We recently held a cupcake bake-off that created a ton of buzz around the office. There were a lot of rumors about "secret recipes" days before the event.
3. Have a festive contest.
We have an epic competition every year where each department goes all out to decorate their area of the office. The winning team gets a nice chunk of cash to do something fun together off-site. Last year, our marketing team constructed a full-size gingerbread house, our support and sales teams went crazy with the tinsel and lights. I have no idea what's in store this year, but I'm sure it'll out-do last year's.
4. Donate to a worthy cause.
Our building does a toy drive every year and puts out big bins in the lobby areas for people to donate unused toys. VerticalResponse also donates $10,000 at the end of every year to organizations like Water.org, Baykeeper and the Humane Society.
5. Host a fun gift exchange.
This could be done by department or company-wide. Don't forget to put a limit on how much money people should spend on their gift.
6. Do some good.
Lots of community and non-profit organizations need extra help during the holidays. In October, a big group of us spent a day at the San Francisco Food Bank and even got a picture with former mayor Gavin Newsom.
Does your company organize any special events this time of the year? Inspire us and let us know in the comments!
JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick