It’s the holidays and what better way to boost employee morale and improve mental health than through office parties? From gift exchanges to pot lucks and even after hours cocktails, these are all meant to create a sense of appreciation of team…and they do. But it can leave some feeling left out. When employees feel excluded, it can have a negative impact on an organization’s engagement and productivity. There are ways to make your office holiday celebrations more diverse and inclusive, which can go a long way for the entire office. So the next time your plan that next holiday party, consider these suggestions:
Celebrate cultural diversity through food. When employees sign up to bring a dish, don’t keep to the standard turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and stuffing. Encourage them to bring foods that highlight their culture and keep dietary restrictions in mind.
Developing a greater awareness of which religious holidays are important to employees—and how people prefer to celebrate (or not)—can have significant benefits for workers and employers. Start with an interfaith calendar. Ask employees which holidays are important to them and recognize those religious holidays throughout the year.
Many other organizations still have alcohol as a part of their year-end celebrations. Be mindful that some employees may be avoiding alcohol because the state of their mental health is fragile, which is common this time of year. Try putting mocktails on the menu and don’t center the event around drinking.
Consider holding your party during office hours. Those with pets or family obligations won’t be under pressure to attend, which can create a stressful situation for them. Better yet, consider building company culture and morale during the holidays by doing something meaningful together like volunteering or adopting a family?