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  • Writer's pictureBurk Moreland

Three Ideas To Help Your “Work Family” Get Closer For The Holidays—

Most people invest half of their waking hours at home with their family. The other half of their time is invested at work with their “work family.”

What does your work family look like? Is it smooth and easy? Or is it dysfunctional and difficult? If yours is like most companies, it is somewhere in between. Unfortunately, as the holidays approach, the dysfunctional, difficult parts tend to become a little more dysfunctional and difficult.

As holiday stress begins to take its toll, you must, as Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” In other words, in the “world” of your company, it is up to you to create the team environment you desire. In fact, whenever I work with clients on their company culture, I always remind them that, whether it is intentional or unintentional, conscious or unconscious, they are constantly creating the culture that shapes the environment of their work place.

This is especially true during the holidays when your employees are trying to do the same amount of work they always do in a shorter amount of time. They are probably frustrated, thinking things like—“Yay, we get the day off—BUT, it’s the end of the year! The end of the year means extra work so a day off only means more work when we return!”

These same employees are also distracted by added responsibilities at home like extra expenses—can we really afford to feed that many people? And family visits—whose family are we visiting and whose family is visiting us this year and why? All this extra stress and responsibility when all they really want is a vacation from stress and responsibility!

To help with this annual stress, I recommend short mental vacations. Treating your team out to one holiday party is great, but it is not enough. Instead, I coach my clients to plan smaller, more frequent distractions—activities that are unusual, unexpected. Turn up the ‘servant leader’ in you to 11 (Spinal Tap movie fans out there?).

Plan to do one creative and quick (fun) thing every week. Choose a day and let your teams do something fun in the middle of the day. I have outlined three suggestions below.

Three ideas to help your “work family” get closer for the holidays—

· Minute to win it. I absolutely love these games. If you go on the web and search this, there are hundreds of different challenges that, with practice, almost anyone can do—the important thing is that almost everyone has to practice to master the activity. Whether it is throwing a playing card so it sticks in a watermelon or bouncing a ping pong ball to try and make it stick to a piece of bread with peanut butter on it, the games are good for almost anyone to try. Each game only takes about 10 minutes and costs next to nothing.

· Ice Breakers. There are so many “ice breakers” and team building games on the Internet. Games like “two truths and a lie” where everyone around the room tells everyone else two things that are true and one lie, and the rest of the team has to guess which one the lie is. This is a great game for getting shy people to talk about themselves. It’s even better if you have an entire team of introverts. Again, the cost is minimal for most of these things, and they take very little time.

· Gingerbread house build-off—another of my favorites (especially for people in the construction industry). Break your team up into smaller teams (put people together that normally don’t work together and with different skill sets) and give the new teams a week’s notice. Tell them that they will be building a small house (give them size maximums) out of edible materials. The entire house must be edible, but they can use any materials they would like. Give them the week to work on designs and material lists. Then, during your team holiday party, the teams build their houses. Houses can be judged on themes, quality, creativity, etc. Prizes are up to you. You might, for example, treat the winning team to a lunch on the company.

The most important component of all of these ideas is that people are working together on something that is not exactly “work” related. They are interacting in new ways, forming bonds, and strengthening trust and friendships.

Also, keep in mind these are great photo opportunities—you should always take lots of photos and videos. And you should encourage social media posting of appropriate things (of course, remember to ask permission before you post anyone’s picture online). Frame some of the best pictures (especially if there are smiles and laughter) and put them on the wall to help everyone remember how it felt to have fun together. You can even give the “winning” team a trophy. Then you could start a quarterly contest and pass the trophy around to a different team each quarter.

Mainly just do SOMETHING that gets your team talking, laughing, and having fun. Work is hard—it doesn’t have to be boring.

Contact us today for help with building your team, your company or yourself as a leader. The investment in any of those will return profits in the end. or (832) 356-4585

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