Team Building 101: Holiday Office Parties vs. Partings

Team Building 101: Holiday Office Parties vs. Partings

What’s the difference between an office cubicle and a jail cell? One doesn’t have Wi-Fi. A basic precept of Team Building 101 is that both weak and strong teams are made of fragile, flawed but generally well-meaning individuals. For 50 to 80 hours a week, they are imprisoned in their workstations, revving up, sucking up, cranking out, burning out and sticking it out for a promotion, a paycheck and the hope of a stable future.

In this volatile and convoluted economy, a stable future is as valuable as a goldmine.  When companies tighten their belts by canceling holiday office parties it can be unsettling as well as disappointing. Is this cut a prelude to future job cuts? How happy can the holidays be when you’re worried about losing your job? Here’s another basic tenet of Team Building 101: Don’t isolate and alienate people if you want to build a team!

Work assignments and the cubicles in which they’re executed can isolate people. After weeks and months with their minds, hearts and glutei maximi glued to the job, everyone needs a break. A holiday office party can be more than just a party. It can be the glue that binds the staff together – as colleagues and maybe even friends.

Just as the staff shares the burden of work, they can also share the financial burden if the budget won’t stretch far enough. A well-planned potluck doesn’t have to be haphazard or hit-and-miss. It can satiate everyone’s palate and even reveal hidden culinary talents. In a culturally diverse office, a holiday office party can provide a golden opportunity to share ethnic fare.

To get everybody’s minds off the company’s coffers, the party can become a modest but useful fundraiser in partnership with a local charitable organization. Nothing takes your mind off of your own woes like helping someone else with theirs. A caring donation of cash or brightly wrapped children’s gifts can turn the whole affair into an affair to remember.

The ultimate takeaway from this year’s office party is that you’re “all in” – all in the same boat, all inclusive, all for one and one for all. The office morale for the New Year will soar and so will the company’s productivity.  No doubt, your company will be at the head of the class in Team Building 101.