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Blog Post

Nov 06

Safely Celebrating the Holidays

“Change as a constant” and “new normal” are buzz phrases which became reality for many as rules shifted and regular practice became anything but regular.  Thankfully, the Thanksgiving / Christmas / New Year’s window for some down time and stress reduction is almost here – if we get to enjoy it.

Controlling what we can while acknowledging what we cannot is vital to balancing our way through.  With some planning and a little creativity, time-honored traditions like the office holiday party can still be respected and provide a much-needed lift to providers and staff.

Instead of an event that brings everyone into a single space, host a virtual event that brings everyone into everyone else’s space – even if only for a shorter time.  Dedicate the time to share how much everyone matters and offer some encouragement, especially if the work tempo has been excessive due to COVID-19.

Here some recommendations for the virtual holiday celebration:

  • - Party games (no, I am not in the wrong blog article):  There are virtual game generating Websites, ways to do trivia via the chat feature, and even drinking games (no risk for DUI if everyone is already home…) that can be done remotely.  For some ideas, check out this article about it or Google other ideas.
  • - Sing along and caroling.  Be sure to record this if you are the host – it will seem completely different when sober
  • - Two truths and a lie.  Get a couple of creative volunteers to come up with the stories and have everyone guess
  • - Arrange in advance for everyone to have a small token or gift to open and do it simultaneously
  • - Give everyone an opportunity to share something not work-related:  what they are thankful for (other than the token or gift); a joke or funny story; plans or goals
  • - Issue a version of the game Operation to each provider and have everyone place (virtual) wagers on who will win.  Then have them play with their non-dominant hand…

If online is not possible, ensure every member of your team knows how much they mean to you.  Make time and take time to connect personally, in small group discussions or one-on-one with staff members.  Some alternative ideas:

  • - A hand-written (not your Rx writing, Docs) letter or card still goes a long way, especially in the computer and smartphone age
  • - A bonus, gift card, or a non-monetary gift can be the kind of gesture that makes the difference for a colleague.  Reallocate the funds that would have gone to the office party
  • - Shut down patient care an hour or two early a couple of days during the season, turn on the XM holiday channel and put out some cookies while you wrap up – end the day relaxed, in the holiday spirit, and loaded with sugar!

We often say that leadership in healthcare occurs away from the desk.  This is another illustration.  Whatever your organization decides to do this year, we at North Star hope you, your team, the families and all the patients stay safe and have a wonderful holiday season.