Office Christmas parties: A great opportunity to bond your team

by External18 Nov 2013

Between ensuring you meet your 'legal' obligations of creating a 'safe workplace' and 'consoling' an 'emotional' team member why bother with a Christmas party? Mike Symonds suggests a better way to celebrate.

AAAAAHHHH! You've got to organise the work Christmas party - as if there isn't enough to do already.

Why even bother? Half the team will take off early. The other half will get so drunk they make absolute fools of themselves. As for you? Between ensuring you meet your 'legal' obligations of creating a 'safe workplace' and 'consoling' an 'emotional' team member you'll have a whale of a time!.

There is a better way.

Work Christmas parties are a wonderful opportunity to improve and foster staff relationships. If organised properly you can bond your team through the spirit of Christmas.

Lets face it. We want more than just foggy memories, hangovers and regrets.

So how do you use your Christmas party to bond your team? 

1. Get some help

Discover what staff are passionate about and provide an opportunity for them to use those skills.

Got a team member who is passionate about food and cooking? They can organise the food. Staff who are creative? They look after the decorations. A few closet musicians? Get them to provide some background music.

Once you start scratching around  you'll be amazed at what you discover. The very act of organising the party becomes a team bonding exercise within it self.

2. Provide opportunities for staff to 'Give'

A high performing team is one who gives energy, ideas, commitment and enthusiasm to the greater cause. Encourage your staff to give.

There are a number of ways you can achieve this.

Run a Kris Kringle. Better still try an 'Act of Kindness' Kris Kringle. Instead of buying presents for each other, staff perform 'an act or service of value' for another team member.

Whatever you do find ways for your staff to give.

3. Reduce alcohol intake

"Oh come on!...It's Christmas!" Unfortunately there are some organisations who have a culture of heaving drinking. It might be fine for a local footy team, however for a workplace you want people to bond through respect and positive shared experiences. Have a couple and leave it at that. Find other ways to get your staff engaged and interacting.

4. Include an activity or game

Using fun, interactive, team based games is a wonderful way to generate a sense of togetherness. Whether you run a few quick 5 minute games to 'Funergize' your team or a longer 2-3 hour activity there are a few things to consider: 

Use teams - This is a great way to get people interacting with people they wouldn't normally interact with.

Ensure the game is easy to participate in - It's important for staff to feel comfortable and relaxed. When an activity 'pushes' someone outside of their comfort zone they stop connecting with the people around them.

Make it team focused - This ensures the focus is about 'us' as a team and not 'I' as a person. The idea is to bond your team - so get them working together!

Make it Interactive - The best activities are those which encourage full participation almost 100% of the time. Games which exclude or eliminate means some staff will sit out and loose interest.

5. Cut the budget!

"WHHAAAAATTT?" I hear you say. Yes. By reducing your budget it forces you to do ideas 1 through to 4 from above. The less money you have the more innovative and creative you need to be.

Good luck with what ever you do. Most importantly have fun and enjoy the process.

About the author

Mike Symonds is the owner of Funergizers. Funergizers provide a series of programs and workshops to help businesses boost staff morale and create more fun at work.