Christmas is all about coming together as a family. It’s about spending quality time with those that you love and celebrating that love through gift giving and sharing the fun times – not forgetting eating until you’re totally stuffed, of course!
At Boom, everyone is getting into the Christmas spirit. Although there’s no denying it can be a somewhat stressful time for most – what with all the work that needs doing in a shorter space of time – but generally, this time of year brings us all together and creates a very happy workforce.
But, this should be the case all year round not just at Christmas, right? If your company is lacking “togetherness”, coming together as a “family” is a fantastic way to create a lasting bond and a much more cohesive workforce, improving the working environment for your employees, resulting in a much more efficient and productive team. It’s true when they say “look after your employees and they’ll look after your business”.
Working in a digital marketing agency with different departments can mean that some people never end up interacting with each other. For us, we’re a tight-knit team so this isn’t really a problem, but, we understand that we’re actually pretty lucky with this. A huge portion of businesses have a clear divide between departments and this is something that needs improving.
There are many things that we do at Boom to bring everyone together. Admittedly, we could probably do a bit more. Our team is so productive and work-orientated that it can be difficult to get people together sometimes; everyone wants to crack on with their work! Nevertheless, we still get together at least once a week to discuss all that’s going on at Boom.
Here are a few simple examples of things that you can easily implement in the office to bring everyone together.
As mentioned above, we have a weekly team meeting every Monday morning. The whole of Boom get together on the sofas, with their cuppas and has a chat. At first, we discuss people’s weekends and how things are going with everyone. We then move onto discussing Boom-related things such as new clients, clients that we’re pitching to, work that we’ve been outreaching and seems to be doing well, and then anything else related to Boom or the office that might be coming up in the week ahead.
Ian will then end our discussion with “any births, deaths, marriages?”, this is where we’d then discuss things in our personal lives should anyone wish to share, if there isn’t anything, our group meeting ends with “Let’s Internet!”.
To break this down, we find it important to keep discussions light-hearted and relatively personal. We start off with a quick chat to remove the ‘business’ aspect of the relationship between employees. But, we also want the meetings to be beneficial to the team and the company, which is why we move on to discussing work-related topics. Again, to enforce the more personal side of our meetings, we end with a personal question.
It’s important to keep this weekly meeting as positive as possible. After all, we’re all starting off our week with it! For announcements that are not so positive, it’s best to act upon those as quickly as possible, and conduct group meetings away from your weekly meeting. Your weekly team meeting should be informal and chatty.
Over this past year, we’ve toyed around with 1:1 meetings and how we can show our employees that they’re heard and appreciated. There are many different ways that you can do this and the method that works best for us, won’t necessarily be the method that works for your company.
We conduct our 1:1 meetings by sending out a form for our employees to fill in. This form has questions on it like “what are you struggling with?”, “what’s gone well for you this month” and “has anything gone wrong that you need to just air out and get it off your chest?”. Our employees fill out this form and send it over to the person that’s been assigned to conduct these meetings.
Meetings will then be scheduled once a month, around the same time that we do our individual monthly planning meetings, and the answers that the employee’s have given will be discussed in a confidential 1:1 meeting.
It’s very important to us that these meetings occur once a month. Not only do we want to show our employees that we care and want to help them with their daily work life, but we also want our employees to feel better connected to other staff members and to feel happier and more confident in their work.
It wouldn’t be right to post about coming together and not mention Secret Santa. When it gets to November, we start planning our secret Santa. We use a site called Draw Names which automatically dishes out a name to an employee. We have a budget of £10 and attempt to pick a day to swap gifts when everyone is in the office. This is usually a difficult task but this year we were able to do our Secret Santa on the 19th of December (unlike our Christmas meal that we had to have mid-November!).
Leading up to our Secret Santa day, everyone tries to sneakily place their gift under the tree, as not to ruin the surprise and we find someone to allocate as Santa. It’s usually James because you know… epic beard game. Though this year, we mixed things up and I did it! (I don’t have a beard though, just for the record).
On the day, James usually dresses up in a Santa costume and we put all the gifts into a sack. The fun usually starts around 3.30pm and will carry on until the working day is done. We also have a few Christmas-y snacks and beverages, with Christmas songs playing rather loudly! James, oh sorry, I mean Santa, then calls out employee names and we have a great laugh at what they’ve been gifted. We all have the same kind of humour so our Secret Santa gifts are anything but ordinary!
I have to admit, I’m not really a fan of Secret Santa, mainly because I hate opening gifts with everyone staring at me. But, it is a brilliant afternoon. It’s such fun and it’s great to spend some time together, having a laugh and ending the year on a high.
We’ve recently started doing lunchtime fuddles, and they’re great fun! We plan it a couple of weeks in advance so everyone can make sure they’re free for it. Usually all the food provided is homemade… but some opt for just purchasing chips, pastries etc (guilty!).
Our fuddles usually start at 12.30pm, and a handful of people will start getting everything laid out on the dining table, heating things up, and getting plates and cutlery ready. Once prepared, everyone comes through to our lunch area, grabs a plate and digs in. We all sit on the sofas and talk amongst ourselves, or as a team, and have lunch together.
A fuddle is a great way to spend time with your colleagues and doesn’t really cost the business anything. We’ve started to do a fuddle once every couple of months – no one is forced to partake, but everyone that does seems to enjoy it and we think this is a good balance for everyone.
Celebrating Special Occasions
We always celebrate the anniversary of Boom, Christmas, employee birthdays and anniversaries. For Boom’s anniversary and for Christmas, we always go out for a meal and then visit some of our favourite bars and pubs for a few adult beverages.
For employee birthdays we purchase birthday cakes, cupcakes, pastries and cards. Birthday cards are always passed around the office very sneakily and Ian then presents the card and cake to the employee. We usually do this around mid-afternoon, once everyone has had their lunch.
Again, this is to add a personal touch to the business. It’s well received by the staff and shows that they’ve been thought about and appreciated. This is definitely an affordable way to come together as a team. Likewise, we always like to celebrate individual anniversaries with a celebratory treat. So whether you’ve been with us a year or five, we want you to know we appreciate you!
I can’t write this post and not include foosball – the Boomians will hate me!
We have a beloved foosball table here at Boom. She’s recently had her 4th birthday. 4 years ago SOMEBODY broke our foosball table. We were all distraught. We hunted around for a foosball table that was sturdier, prettier and A LOT more durable than the last. That’s when we found the Garlando. We all pitched in to buy this £300 table, and so far, it’s served us extremely well.
Having activities, like a foosball table available to use at any time, is a great way to inject a bit of fun into the working day. Each foosball game lasts around 5 minutes and we probably have around 4 matches a day – with ‘second sittings’ for those that missed out on the first round. Desktop table tennis is also a thing in the Boom office (or “wiff waff” as it’s affectionately known).
Other Ideas for Creating a More Cohesive Working Environment
- Team building days outside of the office such as heading to an adventure activity centre such as Go Ape.
- Going out for meals without a special occasion.
- Film nights.
- Game nights – this is a lot of fun! Definitely give this a go.
- Payday Pizza.
- Fun evening activities such as escape rooms.
Coming together as a company is vital if you want to create a positive and fun working culture. Your staff work all week in order for you to achieve your business goals, so sometimes, it’s nice to give a little back.