As the weather grows colder and daytime shorter, it’s typical for a festive mood to fill the air across offices. In order to establish a more diverse and inclusive work-space however, we must reconsider some of what we know about winter and the holiday season. The tips in this article will let you know how to go about channeling your festive energy in a positive and inclusive fashion that will help ensure the well-being of each and every person in your workspace.
Ask Yourself if your office’s Holiday Party is a Christmas Party in Disguise
This year, the holiday party as we know it will look drastically different. While many companies will simply opt out of the tradition, some still plan on holding true to the celebration of the holiday season with many taking the event to an online setting. (USA TODAY) Regardless of the location of the party however, it is important to remember to embrace the nature of the “holiday season” rather than just Christmas. Far too often are “holiday parties” filled with Christmas colors, traditions, and themes. One question that you should always ask yourself when planning a holiday party is if you’re projecting your own cultural experiences onto your employees. While you may personally associate the holiday season with certain objects and traditions, it's important to remember that some workers may have had different holiday experiences growing up. To counteract this, aim for a neutral winter theme or even have a committee send out a survey to develop a specialized theme for the party. Get creative!
Spend some time educating yourself about the different types of cultural celebrations that occur during the holiday season.
Another great way to integrate a culturally holistic outlook on the holiday season is learning about how different people celebrate the holiday season. Just thirty minutes of research on a holiday you don’t know much about could open your eyes to different traditions. Holidays such as Hannukah, Kwanza, Christmas, and even events that occur later in winter such as the Chinese New Year all hold significant value to those who celebrate them. Making sure to include each of them in news-letters and even basic conversation around the office can be a positive way to embrace the cultures that surround us each day.
Seasonal Depressive Disorder, also known as the winter blues, can be extremely difficult for employees to work around. Though this time of year is often filled with joy and spending time with loved ones, the holiday season can often be stressful for workers. While you might be counting the days to celebrate with your friends and family, showing empathy and care to workers who may be dealing with higher levels of stress this time of year will undoubtedly help you become a stronger ally to those with struggling with mental health. Inclusion and Diversity are essential in the modern workplace and the holiday season is a great place to develop these ethics in the workplace. If management shows a willingness to address these values, the workers will follow suit leading to an open dialogue within a work-culture where everyone has the freedom to discuss topics of inclusion in the workplace.