During tough economic times, many employers are forced to cut back on a lot of extras. Sometimes, this includes things like end-of-year bonuses, holiday gifts and office parties.
These perks can be important important tools that help maintain employee morale during tough times, so many companies do their best to give something to their workers to show their appreciated for a job well done – even if it's less than they've offered in years past.
But even if the company you work for finds itself in a situation where it absolutely just cannot afford to give its employees any perks, or has cut back significantly on what it's giving employees, there are still things workers can do on their own to keep spirits up in the office.
Here are some tips for those of you who are encountering holiday cutbacks:
Holiday Bonus Cuts
Many companies don't even offer their employees any sort of end-of-year bonus. If you're slated to receive an extra bundle of cash at the end of the year – even if it's less than you received in previous years – count yourself among the lucky ones.
If you are expecting to receive a bonus, make sure you're careful not to get too excited about it and go overboard on your holiday spending – just in case that bonus ends up being lower than in previous years, or gets eliminated all together (remember the disappointment the Griswolds faced in the National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation movie?).
Fewer Holiday Gifts
Some employees get holiday gifts from the companies they work for – things like gift cards, chocolates or gift baskets. But even if you're not getting any gifts from your employer, there are fun and meaningful things you can do with your co-workers in the office to get into the spirit of giving. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Hold a gift exchange, such as a Secret Santa, or something that involves a game where you can win prizes.
- Collect toys or food to give away to needy families.
- Get out as a group and volunteer with a charity.
We often get so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget that there are others who could use a gift a lot more than we could.
Cutbacks in Holiday Parties
Most companies are still pretty good about throwing a holiday party of some sort...but what if your office party has been canceled?
I know of some very large technology employers that don't actually host a company-wide party because they have so many employees that it would be unmanageable and impractical to organize such an event. In such cases, different departments or groups have their own party. They may all go out to eat somewhere, or they might just keep it even more casual – and budget-conscious – by hosting it at someone's home and having a potluck (that's what my web developer and programmer colleagues and I do every year).
Either way, there's still a chance to get together with co-workers and celebrate the season – no need for company cutbacks to get in the way of having fun.