The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Entertainment

December 20, 2013

Holiday gifts in the office and other questions

(Continued)

So, what's a firm to do? You could have the event at lunchtime or breakfast to save on food (and eliminate alcohol, which is costly). Also, employees often appreciate holding an event during the work day so that they can still go home and spend time with their families.

Many firms have come up with other creative options to celebrate the season with their employees.

How about having a cookie or pie bake-off and invite employees to bring in their special baked goods to share with each other? Let them choose a few judges to give out fun awards (best appearance, best aroma, best taste). Another idea: Close up work early to host games for the afternoon — could be board games, sports competitions, casino games or table tennis. Maybe you set up space in your lobby or another large area for people to play. A few festive decorations could add to the appeal. Another idea that has been gaining in popularity is the ugly sweater contest, in which everyone wears their holiday sweaters and sweatshirts to work. People often love to be comfortable and casual at work and this gives them the chance to do this.

There are many possible alternatives to a holiday party that might get employees jazzed up about the firm and spending time with their colleagues. Just make sure to use an employee committee to help plan it.

Q: I'm planning to move coasts next year and can't decide if it's realistic to try job-hunting before I'm local or even have a firm move date. It's worth noting that I could use my mom's address so that I appear local, but I obviously can't interview in person unless it's arranged to happen during a pre-scheduled trip. In addition, I'm trying to build my professional network there so I can at least start the conversations online and by phone sooner rather than later. There is also a real possibility that my current employer will let me continue to work remotely as a contractor, if not as full-fledged employee, which gives me reassurance that I won't be without income and could launch a local job search in earnest once I've completed the move. Do you have any guidance on how I should approach this?

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