Getting in the Spirit: How to Set Up the Office at the Holidays

It’s almost time to deck the halls and get ready for the holiday season, but what exactly is the “right” way to decorate at the office?

You spend a lot of time at work, whether you’re stuck at the office or on work trips staying in House of Fisher apartments, you still want the festive mood to surround you. This is why it makes sense to put up a few things to help you feel festive. However, no one wants to make a social gaffe or put up something that just isn’t appropriate at work.

Different Holidays

One of the issues is that people have very different ideas of how to decorate for the holidays. There will be differences in regards to which holiday should be celebrated at any given time!

For example, just because you celebrate Christmas doesn’t mean that everyone else does; the person sitting in the cubicle beside you may celebrate Hanukkah instead. That is why it is important to decorate with all the potential holidays in mind. Doing so may keep all the employees happy, but it can also make some feel disgruntled. There are those that will always feel they have a right to celebrate their own holiday, just as there are those that don’t want to see any holiday-related decor at all. Companies should come up with a written policy so that everyone knows what to expect.

Having a set of written rules about what can go up at the holidays and what cannot go up is often the safest route. Many of these rules should just make good sense. For example, most workplaces state that there can be no lit candles because they are a fire hazard. Any lights have to be specifically for indoor use.  So that employees can exit in the event of an emergency all walkways should be kept clear. In addition, decorations should not distract employees from doing their job.

These type of rules are usually simple to lay out. There are always situations that occur that become a little hairy, however. For example, what do you do when someone puts up blinking lights and their neighbour is having trouble focusing because of it? What if their décor includes a holiday scent that some in the office find offensive? In these instances, one worker is happy while another is not.

Standards for the Country

IFMA, or the International Facilities Management Association, put out a survey several years ago that addressed holiday decorations throughout the country. The vast majority of respondents (94 percent) said that decorations were allowed, particularly with respect to Christmas. Kwanzaa and Hanukkah were also mentioned. A quarter of the respondents stated that there were issues with respect to the decorations, 85 percent of the issues that were reported had changes made to them. There were respondents that also wrote about holiday contests that encouraged employees to decorate the office. While this made some feel better about the work environment as a whole, it left others feeling disgruntled. Some people like as many decorations as possible. Employees believe that the office should not be decorated at all because they don’t want to mix work and religion.

In general, those that want to decorate their offices or cubicles can do so, but it can’t interfere with their work. This means that they can come in early or stay late if they’d like. In addition, whatever decorations they put up should not impact their co-workers. If they put up something with a religious context, it should not be too large or gaudy. To be more acceptable, some believe religious context should be withheld when it comes to decorations.

When decorating the overall company should be considered. For example, a bank may have a different set of decorations that a non-profit organisation that works on behalf of children. Decorating for the holidays is often enjoyable, but it is important not to forget about work in the process. In addition, safety is crucial, as is the business’s reputation.