13th Dec 2023
3 Min Read

To tree or not to tree?

Charlie Feasby
Charlie Feasby
People & Change

Can festive December décor really boost productivity? Or is it just an annual annoyance as we battle our way through the short winter days? Let’s start the yuletide season off on the right foot – with a spirited argument.

As we wind down for the Christmas holidays, you may well find yourself working among sparkly tinsel and trinkets. Maybe a few snowflakes hanging from the ceiling and likely a bauble-adorned tree in the corner.

Some love Christmas, some hate it. But should we be bringing it into the office? We’ve broken down the facts to answer this annual argument.

Working in a winter wonderland

It’s now official: when we feel happier, we work better. Happy workers are more productive and can better manage their time. And a survey found 85 per cent of employees got a mood boost from festive office furnishings – they like the lights!

It’s likely because that glitz and glitter can give us a dopamine hit – the happiness hormone. Decking the office with boughs of holly might be a little excessive but a few lights and a Christmas playlist can liven up the space.

Also, spending time decorating the office is a good end-of-year team activity; a chance for people to down tools and do something different. It’s a reward for the hard work done and a good opportunity for the senior leaders to get involved too.

And it’s a marketing opportunity. Share some photos of your new office ‘grotto’ and colleagues decking the halls (and kitchen) to spread some festive cheer.

No Christmas tree, no Christmas tree!

For the sake of neutrality, let’s take off the tinsel and put on our Scrooge pyjamas. Christmas decorations may be fun but they can be a distraction. And they’re not free – all those extra lights will tot up your bills and add to your carbon footprint.

Certain hues of light can also affect your sleep cycle, especially blue, multi-coloured and flashing lights. This can, in turn, impact your overall health. To avoid this, make sure the surrounding office space is well-lit.

That’s what Christmas means – to me

People celebrate 25 December in different ways. For some it’s the biggest date in their calendar; for others, it’s just another day. So respect that – you can’t force someone to celebrate Christmas. If employees don’t take part, treating them differently because of that isn’t okay. And the reverse is also true; if you don’t mark it, don’t disrespect those who do.

While Christmas is a religious festival, it’s become more than that. So don’t deck out communal spaces with religious imagery. Stick to seasonal decorations. That’s things like lights, snowflakes, snowmen, Santa and elves – the kind of decorations retailers use.

Do, however, welcome teammates to make their personal spaces their own. They can go Christmas-crazy (within reason) or maintain a Xmas-free zone.

Jingle bells rock!

So, what’s our conclusion? We say: crack out the crackers and sprinkle that glitter. Christmas decorations make us happier, and happiness boosts productivity – the science says so.

Some festive office frosting is a nice reminder that we all deserve to reset for the new year, and it shows you care about employee wellbeing. Every gesture counts towards a positive workplace experience and a dash of Dancer, Prancer and Vixen can’t hurt.

In short: don’t be a Dickens this Christmastime!

Make wellbeing your New Year’s Resolution

Want to supercharge your wellbeing offering in 2024? Get in touch. Email hello@scarlettabbott.co.uk.

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