a workplace intervention. No matter your culture or beliefs, whether you love or hate it, it affects everyone and is difficult to escape. Christmas traditions and rituals create a natural high. The festive spirit is a people connector and a window of opportunity for some ‘housekeeping’ and interventions that reach into the heart of the organisation – it’s culture.

But before we get into housekeeping and culture, there is a scientific basis for this improvement in peoples’ mood and attitude in the lead up to Christmas. The Christmas effect is much deeper than tinsel, baubles and sugar-coated treats. Two chemicals in the brain, dopamine and serotonin are triggered at Christmas and they both affect happiness levels. Dopamine is known to be associated with reward-driven behaviour and serotonin increases feelings of self-worth and belonging.

While some may argue that people check-out at Christmas and productivity slumps, in fact, Christmas celebrations and traditions, creates a prime opportunity to leverage high morale and motivation which are both critical to healthy team culture.

Some great workplace interventions that will not only close out the past year, it will set the tone for the year ahead:

  1. Reflect – Look back and call out the highlights and the low-lights. Celebrate the highlights and unpack the success stories. Recount the success by reinforcing the company value as the drivers of success: great teamwork, positive attitude, commitment, customer/client satisfaction and so on. Low-lights too are times for growth and learning. It is much easier to be objective and less emotive about the things that did not go to plan. These are golden opportunities for strengthening team culture.
  2. Recognise– Show leadership and make your people feel valued by acknowledging their loyalty to the company. Whether they have been with the company a few months or a few years- they have stuck by you and the firm.
  3. Rewards -presentation of fun certificates, personal handwritten cards, vouchers, gifts of chocolate, wine or a meal… says “thank you”
  4. Set goals for the next 12 months—both personal and organizational goals are best set now when everyone feels positive and have benefited from some objective reflection
  5. Do a Culture Health Check – get some data on your company’s culture. Make it fun and weave it into a reflection activity. If you like this idea, click on the link for a culture audit tool.

As for anticipating the year ahead, create some good karma by getting your ‘house in order and do the things that are avoided throughout the year:

  1. Filing and clean up the inbox – start the year fresh. Clear your inbox. Remove yourself from non-essential mailing lists. Set your out of office and advise you will check emails on your return (so you manage expectations and allow yourself work-free downtime)
  2. Tie up loose ends -focus on the little things now and get them off your plate.  Out with the old, in with the new and aim for no carry-overs. Start January with a fresh list.

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year for strengthening workplace culture. Reach out if Verity Consulting can assist you in any way.