Many factors contribute to an employee’s happiness– benefits, progression, and work-life balance may come to your mind. However, one factor you may overlook is relationships with colleagues; whether it’s helping each other with something during the workday, going on a lunch break together, or sharing weekend plans, these seemingly small interactions give us a boost that increases job satisfaction, positively impact our engagement in our work, and improve our ability to work collaboratively.
According to a survey conducted by the National Business Research Institute, employee satisfaction increases to nearly 50% when workers develop close friendships at work. Gallup research also found that establishing strong work relationships create a more engaged workforce who produce higher-quality work and have a higher state of wellbeing.
Research such as this emphasises the importance of enabling opportunities for your team to come together and form relationships. It is a vital component of maximising company productivity, and aids in forming a fun and supportive company culture that will pay you back in the form of a positive reputation when recruiting.
However, with more companies opting for a hybrid or fully remote working model following the COVID-19 pandemic, it is increasingly important to ensure team members still maintain these relationships. Working remotely can make relationships with the wider team difficult which can cause feelings of isolation.
Planning team building activities might seem like a hassle, but it can be much simpler than you think- and doesn’t have to cost you a penny! With Christmas fast-approaching, it is a great opportunity to use festive fun to build and solidify a strong team bond. Here are some of our seasonal suggestions for how you can bring your team together, both in the office and remotely!
A Little Advent-ure
An advent calendar is a versatile way to engage the team for the whole run-up to Christmas; you can opt for the traditional shop-bought chocolate calendar as a daily incentive, or you could be creative with the concept and generate your own way of injecting some fun into each day.
Some ways of using advent calendars to engage and involve your team include:
- Sending out individual advent calendars- Make your team feel appreciated while working from home, and give them something to look forward to each day.
- Having an office advent calendar/making your own daily incentive- Offer a daily reward for those who work the hardest or achieve a goal during the workday- this could be a sweet treat, an hour off work, or even a request for a cuppa from a colleague!
- Create a digital/email advent calendar – Create a schedule and encourage a different member of the team to send a festive email to the group each day. A cheesy festive pun? A festive photo of their dog? A link to their favourite Christmas music video? This idea is perfect for including everyone even when working remotely, costs absolutely nothing, and helps the team learn about one another in an informal and relaxed setting. It also helps to spark conversations between those who may not work directly together.
Cost: £0 - Approx £2 per head
Ease to prepare: Easy
Fun Level: 9/10
A Very Merry Quizmas
Taking a small break in a workday to have a fun Christmas quiz not only gives the team a moment to recharge but gives everyone an opportunity to have some friendly competition. An informal activity can also help to break the ice for new recruits (and those who are unfamiliar with one another). Breaking the group into small teams and offering a reward for the winners is an even better way to encourage bonds to form both in the office and over video call.
For added fun, you could build upon the quiz by making everyone wear Christmas jumpers or fancy dress and make it an annual tradition for the team to look forward to and take turns to prepare. Making fun memories that venture beyond the usual workday is what brings teams together and increases engagement in work.
Stuck for quiz topics? Here’s some of our suggestions:
- Christmas song trivia
- Christmas film trivia
- Christmas advert trivia
- Christmas traditions from around the world
- Finish the Christmas song
- Guess the Christmas film from a still/poster
- Christmas anagrams
Cost: Free (+ cost of any reward)
Ease to prepare: Easy – moderate
Fun Level: 10/10
A Secret Santa Gift Exchange
Organising a gift exchange is a great way to learn about each other and can easily be adapted for those working from home. The availability of free online platforms such as Elfster makes a Secret Santa exchange extremely straightforward, allowing everyone to anonymously send gifts to their assigned colleague. Alternatively, you could draw names written on paper, and exchange gifts in the office. There’s no need to break the bank- a spending limit can be applied to the exchange!
A gift exchange can also be gamified by playing ‘White Elephant’, in which the team can swap and ‘steal’ gifts from each other. This is a fun way to get everyone to interact with those outside their immediate teams.
Despite being a simple idea, giving gifts to each other is a great conversation starter, and is an easy way to boost morale towards the end of the year.
Cost: Can customise budget
Ease to prepare: Easy
Fun Level: 8/10
The Christmas Card Challenge
Ask team members to design and send a team member a Christmas card is a creative activity that allows them to unwind while spreading some kindness (and potentially laughs) to one another. This is a great way of encouraging colleagues to reach out to those they don’t directly work with.
Similar to Secret Santa, randomly assign names, and either direct them to an online platform, or encourage them to embrace their inner artist and craft a physical card.
Cost: Free (+ postage costs if posting)
Ease to prepare: Easy
Fun Level: 9/10
Looking for festive fun on a budget?
Here are some extra ideas which have no or minimal cost:
- Send out sachets of instant hot chocolate/ Christmas themed tea or coffee in the post
- Decorate the office or zoom backgrounds/ have a Christmas decorating contest
- Have a festive fancy dress day (can be virtual or in person)
Maintaining strong team relationships is important all year round
Team building isn’t just for Christmas! It needs to be practiced all year round to maintain strong team relationships, increase productivity, and solidify a supportive and enjoyable work culture regardless of hybrid or remote working models.
Any of the above team-building activities and incentives can be adapted for throughout the year, so be creative and form traditions that your team will enjoy and look forward to together!
Want to be a part of a team with a fun and supportive culture?
At Carrot, we pride ourselves in maintaining close relationships throughout the team via regular social events, rewards, and incentives.
If you’re interested in joining a team which values growth, engagement, and enjoyment, take a look at our current vacancies here!