You don’t have to be Santa Claus to spread holiday cheer at work. Here are five things you can do to make your workplace a more joyous one this month – and no, we’re not talking about spiking the punch.
1. Spread “good gossip.” You might have a visceral reaction against the idea of gossiping, but good gossip is different from bad gossip. Good gossip means spreading positive thoughts around – things that you wouldn’t mind getting back to the person you’re talking about. For instance, mention how much you like working with Sarah, or how great Joe’s presentation was, or how wowed you are by the new guy’s writing skills. Be sincere, of course, but speak up about this kind of thing! It will make you feel good, please the recipient if it gets back to them, and raise the overall spirits in your office.
2. Help someone when you don’t have to. If you see a colleague struggling to complete a piece of work that you could help with, and you could assist without compromising your own work, offer to pitch in! It could be something as simple as lending an eye and letting a coworker bounce ideas off of you, or offering to edit a memo, or helping to defuse an angry customer, or just pitching in so someone isn’t stuck late at the office. If you've ever received a helping hand when you really needed it, then you know how grateful your coworker might be – and how much it can create a feeling of camaraderie and cooperation in your office.
3. Thank someone for making your job easier this year. Did a colleague or vendor make your life easier this year? Save your hide with your boss by catching a mistake before it was too late? Make what could have been an arduous project easy and pleasant? Maybe someone was simply a joy to work with on a regular basis. Tell them. Whether you stop by their office to deliver a heartfelt thanks or write a short letter explaining your appreciation, it’s likely to make a huge impression on the recipient.
4. Show up for at least one workplace holiday function cheerfully, even if you’d rather be at home. If you dread office holiday parties (and you’re in good company if you do), make a point this year of showing up and being cheerful about it. You probably won’t be miserable, but if you are, find someone else who looks miserable and talk with them. You can make it your mission to save others from tedium. Or if that’s too Pollyanna-ish for you, at least make an appearance for an hour or so, eat some cookies, circulate, and then head home.
5. Be kind, even if you’re stressed out. Holidays can be a hectic time of year – people are rushing to shop, attend holiday functions, travel, host family, and attend to myriad other obligations. That stress can spill over to work, and you might find yourself being short with colleagues. Make sure you don’t let that happen! Vow to be kind this month, even if your fuse is short and you’re counting down the days until your vacation.