During December it can be easy for some to get caught up in a flurry of festive cheer and carried away with Christmas.

Depending on the nature of your business, you could find employees in high spirits or beaming more than usual since December 1st. Or, you could be met with the opposite. Employees who have grown weary of Christmas and have a disinterest or even distaste for the season.

So, what do you do when murmurs of Christmas start to appear in your workplace? Should you embrace Christmas at work or make your business a festive-free zone?

Although Christmas has religious roots, it’s been embraced by big-name brands over the years and has attracted a large commercial buzz. With festivities at every turn, many non-Christians even embrace the joyfulness and warmth that the season can bring.

If you decide to embrace Christmas in your business, be sure to approach it with tact. As the way you celebrate holidays at work will frame your company culture and can impact inclusivity.

Why is inclusivity important?

Inclusivity plays an important role in any successful people management strategy, and can reduce the risk of discrimination. Your employees have the right to work in a safe and supportive environment. And as their employer, you have a legal obligation to protect them from harassment.

Beyond the minimum requirements set out by UK law, it is a good idea to promote inclusivity amongst your employees to encourage equality, fairness and appreciation of others. Employee happiness can boost overall performance, raise morale and create a positive environment for all.

How do I promote inclusivity at Christmas?

There are simple ways that you can be inclusive during Christmas and still have a merry time.

Freedom of choice. It can be uncomfortable for an employee to feel forced into someone else’s celebration. If you are planning on gift swapping or holding festive activities at work, make participation voluntary. Think about providing an alternative for anyone who doesn’t wish to participate.

Name calling is a no-no. We’re all familiar with the famous Christmas villains Scrooge and The Grinch, they make an appearance every year. You should however ban this terrible twosome from your workplace. Let your employees know that characterisation or bullying of anyone not wishing to join in on Christmas will end in a disciplinary.

Keep the spirit alive. With Christmas being a popular celebration for many, don’t be afraid to keep the spirit alive and wish others a Merry Christmas!
Cater to all. If you have employees that don’t celebrate Christmas, you could organise a lunch or get-together with food and drink that everyone can enjoy, to celebrate the end of a successful year.

Plan for Jan. January is a typically gloomy time of year. How about brightening it up with a cookery or baking competition? Encourage employees to bring in and share a dish and give everyone something to look forward to in the new year.

However you decide to approach inclusivity in your workplace, it’s a good idea not to call anyone out or put them under the spotlight. Alternative options show your employees that you care.

For further tips on inclusivity at work and managing the diversity needs in your business, get in touch with your local HR Dept today.

Alison Schreiber runs The HR Dept Durham and Darlington franchise, and works with a number of businesses across PBP. For more info, visit HR Dept Durham and Darlington or call Alison on 01325 526036 or 07535 853226.