Now that you’ve made it through the Thanksgiving Weekend with or without a tryptophan induced hangover, and with or without bruises from the Black Friday melee, maybe you’re at work not quite feeling the gratitude the holiday name suggests. Understandable! Due to our sustained economic doldrums, many employers are cutting down on office celebrations, bonuses, gifts, benefit contributions and raises. Sure, you’re very thankful that you have a job, but don’t you wish there was a stronger air of appreciation and thanks for your efforts all year long?
If you are employed at one of the many businesses that have made the afore mentioned cutbacks, “holiday cheer” seems like an oxymoron. Maybe your employer will forgo the whole-office holiday party. Yes, those events present opportunities to meet, network and chat with coworkers whom you may not see frequently, if at all, during the course of the regular work day. But for some, being around so many strangers can be a bit daunting. And office parties also tend to break down into cliques of workers who do see each other regularly, and with whom they are comfortable.
So instead, take it upon yourselves to create some spirit. Do something nice for yourselves. Invite your closest work buddies to plan a group activity. There are so many things you can do among your coworkers and office pals to infuse a little thankfulness and appreciation, as well as holiday cheer that is sure to improve workplace morale. You don’t have to think expensive and complex; simple and sincere are good! A little effort, planning and cooperation will go a long way! Here are just a few suggestions:
Pick a date and plan to meet at a comedy or jazz club. Everyone will be responsible for their own ticket, drink and food tabs. Contact the venue and ask if they’ll give you a group discount if you bring a certain number of people. Clubs want butts in seats, so it’s not unlikely they’ll be willing to accommodate this kind of request.
If you live near a body of water, a dinner cruise may be an option (as is any group dining option) for getting together with your closest workmates to share an evening of camaraderie, food and spirit. As these can be popular options, particularly on weekends, you might want to book your gathering on a weeknight to increase your chances of getting seats.
Have brunch brought in to the office. It’s amazing how many smiles and how much good will can be generated over fresh bagels, cream cheese and smoked salmon.
Invest in a couple of pounds of really good coffee, and swap out the mediocre blend consumed daily.
Find out if any of your coworkers play musical instruments in their spare time. A few may play in garage bands. If they don’t, assemble an office band, and find a place to play for your associates. If no one plays, maybe a night of karaoke is in order!
Is your office involved with any charitable events or endeavors? Get a few people together and help prepare a meal at a shelter or collect food donations for your local food bank. Or, visit with, and read to seniors at a nursing home. How about putting on a skit or little play for children stuck in the hospital? You will feel a lot better about yourself and your own situation when you help those less fortunate. And that’s a good idea all year long!
And don’t forget to actually say “Thanks” to the coworkers who make each day bearable. Everyone needs to be appreciated, and a simple expression of your gratitude for others’ daily contributions can do wonders for boosting morale and wellbeing.
So now that the holiday season is officially here, take a few minutes to express your appreciation and gratitude in simple and meaningful ways. When it comes to letting others know they are appreciated, a little does go a long way.
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