The holidays are a perfect time to build relationships with your team members and focus on company morale. Catered parties at beautiful venues and indulgent gifts are great ways to show appreciation for your employees, but they can add up. If you overspend every holiday season, it could  call your priorities as a leader into question. Whether you lead a large, established company or a small startup, invest wisely in holiday celebrations. Here are a few low-cost options to bring some holiday cheer into your workplace.

1) Decorations

Decorations are an easy way to get your team involved in holiday festivities and give them some time away from the desk grind. Find a volunteer team to decorate a company Christmas tree, and provide craft supplies in your break rooms for artistically inclined employees to make ornaments, snowflakes, or whatever they want to put up around the office. Encourage people to dress up their offices or cubicles and hold a decorating contest to win coffee gift cards or holiday candies.

2) In-Office Parties

Offsite holiday parties are great, but also consider ways to entertain your team in the office. Use a conference room to screen a holiday movie and provide hot chocolate. Schedule a staff potluck or a cookie exchange where your resident gourmands can show off their skills. Host a Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange, and encourage silly, low-budget gifts that won't make employees feel pressured to impress others. No matter the type of party, take time to give a short toast to the hard work and dedication of your team.

3) Spontaneous Time Off

Sometimes the best gifts you can offer are a couple of extra hours that allow employees to run errands, exercise, or simply relax at home. In addition to the paid holidays already built into your year, reward your team with an unexpected early release day or two throughout the holiday season. Try to choose days that aren't already filled with other distractions, both for productivity and for the sake of surprise. Make the announcements early enough in the day for employees to work the change into their schedules and for managers to change meetings as needed.

If you put a bit of thought and creativity into your celebrations, your efforts won't go unnoticed and you'll have an energetic, motivated team in the new year.

Published on: Dec 8, 2017