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Building Better Work Connections: Holiday Edition

The holiday season and the end of the year (plus the start of a new one) are the perfect time to renew work connections or even build them from scratch.

You spend most of your waking hours with colleagues and your team. And often, they become more than just acquaintances. They can turn into your work family.

The festive seasons and holiday celebrations are perfect occasions to foster a more profound sense of community, appreciation, and connection among the team. So, whether you’re a team leader, a business owner, or a professional who wants to build better working relationships, this post is for you.

Here’s how to use the holiday spirit to create a more positive and harmonious work environment.

Why build workplace connections?

But why even build workplace connections? Many of us who feel like we need to keep work and personal life separate may not agree with trying to get closer to people at work. However, this isn’t about blurring boundaries or bringing work home. There are certain advantages when you start to look at your workplace relationships differently:

  • If you're a leader, building workplace connections can improve your management skills and help you understand the needs of your employees better. And if you **want to be a leader **at work, one skill you must build is managing work relationships effectively.
  • When colleagues develop strong relationships, it creates a positive work culture that enhances productivity, job satisfaction, and overall well-being.
  • If you manage people, know that employees who feel connected with each other are more likely to collaborate, communicate, and share knowledge and resources freely. This creates an environment of growth.
  • For most businesses, holidays are also high-stress times. It means more sales and more customer service work. It’s also the end of the year which has many end-of-year and seasonal jobs. So, having positive work relationships is key to creating emotional support and managing feelings of loneliness or isolation that many people experience.
  • There’s better teamwork. When people have good relationships with each other, they are more likely to work cohesively as a team. They actively work to achieve a brand's targeted goals. This should be inspiring for business owners to drive up employee engagement.
  • Lastly, workplace connections mean overall happiness in life.

You can’t underestimate the effect that better workplace relationships can have on your life in general. After all, why not make the space you spend the most time in a good place to be?

How to build better workplace connections this holiday season

Now that we've established the importance of building workplace connections, let's dive into some practical ways you can do this during the holidays.

Organize a Holiday Party

A party is always an invitation to have fun. By organizing a simple holiday party, you immediately infuse a sense of joy and bring everyone together.

You create a relaxed atmosphere and the intention to breathe for a while. It can also be an opportunity for people to know each other outside of the work context.

Consider these fun and engaging ideas for your holiday party (if you’re ready to organize one!):

  1. Themed Party: Having a theme can make the party more exciting. And it’s the holidays! It’s the perfect time for a theme. You could go for a traditional Christmas theme, a winter wonderland, or something fun like an ugly sweater contest.
  2. Fun Games: Include games that encourage interaction. It can be as light as a holiday trivia, a simple gift exchange, a team sports event, or a gingerbread house decorating contest.
  3. Food and Drinks: You can never go wrong with good food and drinks. A potluck can be a good idea where everyone brings a dish, making the meal more diverse and inclusive.
  4. Awards Ceremony: If you want to turn a party into a serious recognition event you can go the whole way by rewarding and recognizing people. But you can also make it light and fun and do a parody instead. Whatever you choose, an awards ceremony can make your party more interesting.

Done well and with these tips, a holiday party should bring everyone together and allow them to relax and enjoy the festivities.

Encourage Time Off

This tip is more for employers and bosses since they approve the holidays.

You know that the holiday season is synonymous with spending quality time with loved ones, and it's crucial to allow employees to do just that.

But people often don’t take the time off they need because they aren’t encouraged to do so.

You want to actively tell people to take time off to relax and rejuvenate. And if you’re an employee under someone, you should take time off whenever possible.

Taking time off can help prevent burnout and boost productivity. As a leader, you can set an example by taking time off yourself, showing that it's not just permitted but encouraged.

It's also important to be flexible with your employees' schedules during this time. Consider allowing people to work from home or offering more flexible working hours. This can show that you understand the importance of work-life balance and value their well-being.

Foster a Giving Culture

The holidays are a time for giving; incorporating this into your workplace can be incredibly meaningful. Encourage your employees to participate in donation drives or volunteer opportunities as a team. This not only benefits the community but also strengthens bonds among colleagues.

Also, consider organizing a Secret Santa gift exchange, where employees draw names and give gifts anonymously to each other. This adds a fun and personal touch to the holiday season while fostering a sense of giving and thoughtfulness among colleagues.

Communicate Well

Communication truly is the foundation of any relationship, including work ones. During the holidays, it's essential to over-communicate with your team, whether you’re a team member or a team leader.

Stay on top of deadlines, expectations, and any changes in schedules or policies due to the holiday season. You want to prevent misunderstandings and keep everyone on the same page.

Try to make time for more conversations, whether they're virtual or in-person. Check with people and also ask for help. You can solve many issues (and prevent them) with communication, especially during the holidays when it can get more stressful and distracting.

Try Team Building Activities

Teambuilding activities can be a great way to bring people together and improve communication and collaboration.

Suggest or organize group outings or team-building workshops, but keep them fun and light. This will promote teamwork and improve your interpersonal connections..

Some ideas for team-building activities during the holidays include:

  • Volunteering together at a local charity event
  • Participating in holiday-themed escape rooms or scavenger hunts
  • Hosting a themed competition or contest like a cosplaying one
  • Going on a winter hike or ice skating outing as a team

Remember to choose activities that are inclusive and cater to all employees' abilities. These team-building activities can also be incorporated into the holiday party, making it even more enjoyable and memorable for everyone. With all this effort, you will foster camaraderie and create a more cohesive team dynamic.


The holiday season presents a wonderful opportunity to build stronger workplace connections.

It’s a time to build community and appreciation and to know each other beyond work.

The tips here will definitely help you create stronger work relationships. And why not? Whether you’re a leader or a team member, good relationships will help you at work and create more happiness.

So, have a great holiday by bringing your colleagues together!

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