Do you really need to have a holiday party in your practice? Do people really want one? Is this the year to take a “pass”?
When I was in my 20s, working at a large, urban hospital, I looked forward to the rounds of holiday parties. Most were daytime, in –office parties. Several departments, most notably ER/ICUs, had the great evening parties, primarily for the younger staff.
Many organizations opt for the large, company-wide party, held in a hotel or country club, spouses/significant other invited. The pitfalls of these parties are legendary, and the value sometimes questioned by all concerned. For most practices, I would argue, a party serves no purpose for anyone. They become forced camaraderie – work is not family, no matter how much we think it is.
If you decide to do one, be a good host. Keep an eye out for anyone standing (or sitting) alone. Circulate, spending at least some time with everyone.
It is long past time to kill any kind of gift exchange, such as “secret Santa”. Most staff don’t have a lot of discretionary cash available, and this year can be particularly hard. For a staff member to speak up in protest, or not participate, only invites peer pressure and remarks about being a “Scrooge”. Some people revel in all this “cheer”, while many will fake it silently.
Want to do something nice? Close early, maybe on Christmas Eve, maybe on a Friday. Have lunch brought in, and let people unwind…..and get home. A short staff meeting can precede this, no more than 30 minutes, reviewing the year past and what we face in 2009. I’m a big proponent of the staff meeting, and people will most appreciate 2-3 hours off at this time of year.