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November 15, 2012

Team building - Does Festive Celebrations help?

We all have colleagues from all over the country in the office. Multi national firms also bring together residents of various countries under one roof. Thus, a company has people from different origins, backgrounds, traditions and cultures. Sometimes the languages spoken by a members also vary, let alone cultural practices. In this myriad mix, the work culture has to be sensitive to one and all – racism should be condemned and equality among all employees should be practiced.

Each community has their own set of festivals that they celebrate throughout the year. Some festivals such as Diwali are celebrated all over the country, but people from different places and religions attach varying degrees of importance to different festivals. For example, the Maharashtrians celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, Bengalis celebrate Durga Puja, Muslims celebrate Id and Christians celebrate Christmas.

While we wonder about the festivals celebrated by each creed,some companies such as Genpact,Google, Price Water Coopers etc encourage celebrations of some distinct festivals at the work place. This brings all employees together and through cultural activities, there is a sense of unity that is instilled in them.

Festivities at workplace

The human resource (HR) team has to design the list of holidays keeping in mind the cultural needs of all the employees, as optimally as possible.

Also, celebrations of certain festivals at the workplace on the working day before the festival should be encouraged by all companies. This brings people from all communities together in an informal atmosphere and cheer of festivities is enjoyed by all. People share their respective local practices, and there is always something to learn. If the number of employees is large and cannot be accommodated in a small place like a conference room or terrace, renting a ground or any suitable place may be explored.

This also gives the opportunity to the management of the company to identify people with leadership potential, good team spirit and creative talents in employees.

Festivals usually celebrated at work in India

Diwali – This is the festival of light, but also signifies the heralding of the good while we shed all the evil in our lives. People decorate their homes and prepare rangolis with colours, flowers, etc and light lamps to welcome Goddess Laxmi, the harbinger of wealth and prosperity. Employees of a firm decorate the office on the last working day before Diwali with flowers, paper streamers, etc. Laxmi puja is organized after which some games are planned that involves all. Antakshari, dumb charades, tambola, quiz are popular. Some employees also form a team to perform a skit, that is enjoyed by everybody present. Employees are encouraged to come dressed in ethnic wear, instead of their usual formals. Snacks are arranged at the end. Some organizations have arrangements to burn crackers in a small scale. All employees, even those who may not celebrate Diwali with so much fervor at home, contribute in some way or the other – making rangoli, participating in the decorations, etc. People shed all inhibitions and participate, irrespective of the fact whether he is a senior employee or junior executive.

Holi – The festival of colours is enjoyed by people of all ages. In office, everyone smears little bit of gulal (dry colour) on the faces of the other, irrespective of his designation, religion or gender. Sweets and gujias (a special type of sweet made for Holi) are distributed. This unites all employees in a common bond of celebration.

New Year – Christmas and New Year is celebrated jointly at office at the last working day of the calendar year. Activities such as team picnics, performances and skits are organized. Employees wish each other the very best for the year coming up.

What else?

Some companies also celebrate the Annual Day, where employees are invited to come together, eat, drink and be merry. The goals of the company for the year ahead are shared with the employees on this day. Sometimes families of employees are also invited.

Team picnics are also common. There’s activities for people of all ages and lots of good food!

Also, significant events in a company’s growth curve, such as securing a prestigious project, should be celebrated with all the employees. The management may organize a get together at a suitable location where people can congratulate each other, especially the project team and look forward to be part of the journey ahead.

Who would organize?

The HR and Admin teams are usually the organizers; but with participation from all, the responsibility gets shared!

How does all this help?

Celebrations of any festival in the office premises or any suitable location bring together all employees at one place in an informal atmosphere. People can interact with each other, discuss their interests, share experiences from their places of origin and much more. If families are invited, they also get the opportunity to mingle with the gathering, put faces to the names they hear at home. Strangers become friends, sometimes just because their children have become friends at a company picnic. Such gatherings and activities also contribute a long way to generate deep rooted goodwill among employees and consultants towards the management and organization as a whole. They feel like being part of a large family.

Activities such as decorating the office or making a rangoli requires team effort. Educational or professional identities of an individual are irrelevant – a tall man is drawn into the team to fix a streamer to the ceiling fan, irrespective of the fact that he may be the security guard! The typist may be a good organizer and she would sort the materials efficiently. She would hand out the items to the person working in a team, while a manager may be cleaning away all the waste material. The engineer may turn out to be a great photographer!

The key in all the festivities is the team spirit. Everyone is respected for their individual talents and inclinations. There are no designations or hierarchy of jobs. All differences, be it regional, cultural or linguistic, are abolished. Everyone is united with a common bond – being associated with the same organization.

Tags : Festival, Team Spirit, Culture

About Anupama

A Transport Planner and Architect, Anupama has been blogging for about six years now. She has taken up professional content writing for the last two years, and can always be contacted for any assignments or queries. Her strength is original presentation of any topic.