Office celebrations can do wonders for boosting morale and energizing employees – and having your social media buzzing with photos of happy employees is great for recruiting new talent. But a party is even more worthwhile when you focus on employee engagement, rather than just entertainment (read this for more on engagement and how it can make your company great). Working some team building into the festivities will bring your staff together and actually boost productivity in the long run.
Here are a few ideas (or twists on the classics) for celebrating Halloween at work.
Dressing up the office isn’t just good fodder for your Instagram feed – encouraging departments or desk clusters to work together on a theme encourages collaboration and creative thinking.
Software company kCura, for example, has become well-known for its annual pod decorating contest, which comes complete with group costumes and performances. Last year’s contestants included pods inspired by Mario Kart (complete with rainbow road), Back to the Future, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Remember to give some love to the common areas, too – assign various teams to areas like the kitchen or conference room, or decorate them together as a group.
Bring in the baking
Nothing pulls workers into the break room like a table full of cupcakes and cookies, and a baking contest is a great alternative for those who refuse to don a costume.
Encourage employees to get creative by offering top prize to the goriest goods (or, if you prefer, the creations that best embody the company brand). Be sure to remind the team of any allergies or food sensitivities before the baking begins.
Costumes are a no-brainer for Halloween at work, but encouraging group costumes get your teams working together in new ways. If you have virtual teams or remote workers, costumes can be an easy way to bring the whole group together (global outsourcing company TaskUs, for example, does a friendly costume competition between its American and Singapore offices).
Remember to take lots of pictures for posting – digital marketing agency Rise Interactive uses their Facebook page to show off the winners of its group costume content, and encourages users to tag their favourites.
Invite the kids
To keep things more family focused, companies like Dropbox encourage employees to bring in their children – in costume, of course – for some trick-or-treating. If you’re welcoming families, be sure to include other kid-friendly activities like crafts, cookie decorating, or Halloween movies, and make sure that the decorations and costumes aren’t too frightening.
It’s a classic activity, but a friendly pumpkin carving competition is also another great team-building exercise during Halloween at work that gets your team away from their computer screen. Link it to your brand by offering extra points for teams that use the company logo or branding, or let your staff use their unique resources to really go crazy.
Enova, for example, hosts an annual HERP DERP (Haunted Enova Robo Pumpkin Doing Electric Roar Project) where employees take classic carving up a notch with the company’s cutting-edge technology.
It’s a given for any party, but adding a social media presence to your revelry – especially in the weeks leading up to the party – can engage workers, potential customers and even job seekers.
Post office decor, group costumes and party pics, and consider making up a hashtag (internet marketing company TopShot brands their annual Halloween celebrations with #teameek). Or, if you’re feeling really ambitious, consider sparking up a friendly Halloween-themed Twitter war with neighbouring brands.
No matter what activities you bring into the office, remember to focus your attention on your employees. Keeping them comfortable and engaged is the whole point of any Halloween celebration, so be sure to check in to ensure that everyone is happy and feeling included.
The manager’s guide to office holiday parties
– Follow Workopolis_Hire on Twitter
– Sign up for Hire Education, Workopolis’ monthly newsletter
– Listen to Safe for Work, the Workopolis podcast
– Post a job on Workopolis now