30 Nov Tis the Season: How to Survive the Holiday Season at Work
Like clockwork, the commercials and emails and online ads for the holidays arrived just as turkeys landed on tables across the country. We’re officially in the holiday season, and there’s no turning back until January 2. For some, this is the most special part of the year, getting ready to spend time with family, decorate the house and indulge in seasonal savories. And it can be easy to survive the holiday season at work if that’s how you see it. But taking all that jolly spirit to the office can be tricky for some.
Here’s how to handle the holiday season at work:
Easy there, Excitable Elf. We get it. You love, love, love the holidays. Light up the roof, the porch, and all eight reindeer in the front yard. But while you’re free to double down on the tinsel on the tree at home, try to dial it down at your desk.
For one, not everyone celebrates Christmas, and don’t want to feel like you are cramming Santa down their throat. For another, the holidays can be a tough time for people who have lost loved ones or don’t have many to share it with, and work can be an escape from the avalanche of holiday spirit elsewhere.
But, don’t be the Grinch. Go to the office holiday party. Yes, really. Why? Because an office party is a time to bond with colleagues, network with people, and connect in a less formal capacity. That might sound more factual than festive, and of course, if you love a good party, then you’re already there.
But if you cringe at the idea of small talk and store-bought cookies, get over it. People notice who skips such events, and at best, you can look like you’re too good to spend time with co-workers.
At worst, you can miss valuable conversations that would never happen in a conference room but give real insight. You might find you have something in common with someone you’ve struggled to connect with, just because you finally have a reason to talk football scores instead of quarterly earnings.
Be aware of what the season means. We’re not talking about the holiday itself, but how this time of year impacts your company. If the holiday season at work is quieter because your company slows down, it can be more convenient for your colleagues and your boss if you choose this time to take vacations days – even if it’s not specifically to celebrate the season.
On the other hand, if you work in retail, hospitality, or transport services, you probably would be appreciated if you plan for longer days and prove yourself a team player.
Above all, try not to judge how others approach the holidays at work.
For some people, it’s a deeply religious time of year and their lack of commercial celebration doesn’t mean you should assume that they are the local Scrooge. And for others, the stress of holiday spending (in 2016, the average spend on gifts will likely be over $900) and family time could mean that they appear to be participating in the season, but are also under a lot of pressure.
Everyone approaches this time of year differently, and dealing with the holiday season at work, as well as at home, can be a strain. Probably the best gift you can give this year is to allow your colleagues the space to celebrate (or not) as they see fit.