At the start of December, my co-worker came in to work one day to find the office completely transformed with Christmas decorations. Now this isn’t anything new, as they were bought at a local dollar store last year. There are gold Christmas balls hanging from the ceiling, gold tinsel over our workstations, small foil wrapped boxes tied up with string dangling from overhead storage areas, and small coloured boxes taped to the monitors and on our outside door. We even splurged last year and hung two Christmas stockings on the door; and that’s where things are different this year.
One of those stockings reads, “Dear Santa, I have been a good boy” and the other reads, “I’ve been very very naughty”. Last year we each just put something in one of the stockings for the other guy and took them home on the last day of work to open under the tree Christmas morning. For some reason, we started a conversation yesterday with other co-workers who were asking us which stocking belonged to which of us. At that moment, an idea came to Trevor, my co-worker.
“We should have a contest and let staff decide”. What a great idea I agreed. So I hastily put together a page that was titled, “Naughty or Nice!” On it, I explained about the two stockings on our door and that we were both throwing it out to our co-workers to decide who would claim ownership of each stocking so ol’ Santa wouldn’t be confused. I even searched and found two images of the words, “Naughty” and “Nice” on the internet and put them on the sheet with instructions to cut them out and put our names on whichever they felt was appropriate. Staff then put one slip of paper into each stocking when we aren’t around. On our last day of work, we’ll tally them up and in go the presents we buy for each other – small items.
This is more than just goofing around in the office. This is an example of some social interaction between co-workers that creates bonding, levity, some inexpensive stress relief as people laugh over how they’ll vote. When people come together in a positive way it often translates into positive working relationships and of course some good memories.
So why share this with you and what’s it got to do with job searching or getting ahead in the world? Well, sometimes it’s important to do the lighter things in life. At work, if you can find small ways to bring happiness and laughter into the lives of those with whom you work, it can make both your work lives enriched. You may find yourself less stressed about interacting with others, they may be more open and approachable to you when opportunities arise to work together on projects and assignments. You’ve heard of team spirit, this is akin to creating Office Spirit – much more powerful and much desired. Get a number of people all together who truly enjoy each others contributions, personalities and strengths and you’ve got one powerful organization.
Now if you want to steal this idea, by all means you just go right ahead. On the other hand, I suspect what may happen is that you yourself may find other ways to have some fun in your office that won’t necessitate memorandums from Management curtailing activities that may actually detract from productivity and make itself felt on the organizations’ financial ledger. That’s the beauty of a small idea that is essentially low-budget, big return. Goodwill and happiness can be contagious, and you may find that other employees do little things that make your workplace a better place to be.
You know what? Things like this have a way of spreading even beyond the specific workplace. Workers go home and tell spouses and friends small things in conversation that spark other ideas. Maybe some colleague at work takes a picture and you find yourself in the company newsletter under the heading, “Christmas joy in the workplace!”. Hey, wait a minute….again with the job search and getting ahead stuff….you, in a newsletter? Pictured creating merriment and happiness with other workers? Getting credited with instigating some workplace positive energy? What would that be worth to you in the long haul? Priceless. You can’t buy that kind of reputation, but you can earn it.
Think about what you yourself can do not just during the month of December, but in other ways throughout the year to create good relations with your co-workers that doesn’t distract you and them from the work at hand, but rather enhances working relationships and brings energy and enthusiasm to your workplace.
All the best.
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