The responsibility of maintaining a supportive and welcoming workplace, appropriately, comes from the staff itself. We’ve formed a multi-departmental group of volunteers that we’ve dubbed The Enviable Workplace Taskforce that is charged with organizing holiday specific events and activities. There is the annual “winter holiday” luncheon, with gift exchanges and plenty of good food. But we also organize a special “harvest feast” – a potluck that blends and celebrates the myriad cultures and traditions of our diverse workplace. Recipes get exchanged along with family stories and plans, allowing our home lives and work lives to merge, even if only for a few hours. Some years we have added holiday decorating contests and ornament design competitions to add to the holiday festivities. Maintaining an open and sharing workplace that is part of our employees’ support network is vital to health and morale. That it comes from the workforce rather than upper management helps – it’s a true team effort that is governed by the people who benefit from it most.
There’s music. There’s gift exchanges. But most of all there’s the feeling that we’re all sharing the same feelings, responsibilities, and hopes for the new year. That’s what helps us unite and help each other now and throughout the year to come.
INIT Innovations in Transportation
Every employee experiences some type of stress during the holidays. Creating an atmosphere at work that minimizes stress and promotes a healthy mental lifestyle is an important part of empowering employees to experience a joyous holiday season. For two years running, INIT has been named “Best Place to Work” in Hampton Roads (small business category), so sharing what we have learned about how to keep our employees happy - not just during the holidays – but hopefully, all year round, is a special honor.
Flexible Scheduling –a great perk.
INIT’s company philosophy places a high value on employee morale. Some of the ways we accomplish this are through flexible scheduling, great benefits, and fun, monthly events or team building activities. For instance, offering flexible scheduling gives employees the freedom to plan their work around their families. This is especially important during the holidays when school-aged children typically have early release days or extended vacation. Giving employees the choice to work remotely or alter their work schedules to accommodate their children’s school programs or special activities goes a long way in reducing the stress of the holidays.
Fun at work builds camaraderie.
Another way we promote our family-friendly corporate values is through year-round events. Each month, fun activities such as the chili cook-off, the Cinco de Mayo luncheon, the summer barbeques, or the Halloween costume contest help us to develop a team spirit amongst employees and foster an INIT family atmosphere. Along with the luncheons, we incorporate some friendly competition with contests like best chili recipe, best costume or most decorative desk. These ideas always yield a good dose of friendly competition and camaraderie.
The fun continues during the holidays with our light-hearted holiday party that may include a night on the town with dinner and dancing, or a Christmas lunch with a small gift exchange (usually a gag gift). Whatever we decide to do, it is planned by the Marketing team, so as not to add another task to anyone’s “to do” list.
Spreading joy – helping others.
As part of a community outreach, INIT employees also participate in programs that provide gifts for local underprivileged kids. The participation is always high and adds to the true meaning of the holidays - it is better to give than to receive. Medically speaking, people who cheerfully give to others are usually healthier and less stressed than their counterparts. The joy of giving promotes positive feelings and healthy minds which reduces individual stress levels and promotes a healthy sense of community.
Whatever the season, the aim is to cultivate a positive experience at work. Lightening the load for employees gives them the opportunity to relax and enjoy the happiness of the holiday season.
INIT is a leading turnkey integrator and provider of Intelligent Transportation Systems for public transit. www.initusa.com
Société de transport de Montréal
The 2010 holiday season for STM employees: contributions and kudos
At the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), the holiday period is an opportunity for celebrating and becoming involved in the community. This year, employees have a particular reason to celebrate as, thanks to their efforts and support, the STM was awarded the title of Outstanding Public Transport System in North America for 2010 by the American Public Transport Association (APTA).
All employees will be invited to celebrate together on December 9 at a local theatre reserved for the occasion. The occasions to gather people from every corner of this great company under the same roof are few and far between. It is an ideal opportunity to create synergy among the teams who have few occasions to meet with each other during the year.