Who knew that our favourite Christmas films could teach us a thing or two about the workplace?
It’s the most wonderful time of the year...particularly when it comes to festive films and all the warm and fuzzy feelings they induce.
There are so many to choose from and, while they tend to have happy endings, there’s usually a lesson to be learned along the way, and you’ll be surprised to hear how many of them can be linked to the day-to-day workplace.
So when you next hunker down with a mince pie, hot toddy and your favourite classic Christmas movie, take a moment to think about what they can teach us about realising our career ambitions and creating a thriving working culture.
Treat your employees well
We all know that modern day Ebenezer Scrooge Frank Cross was one greedy miser, but refusing to give his employees time off at Christmas is just too mean spirited for words.
However, this cynically selfish TV executive redeemed himself by the end of 'Scrooged' with the help of visits from the ghosts of the past, present and future. In the end, he realised that he must reform himself, starting by giving his employees the break they deserved.
In reality, you don’t need the help of an other-worldly being to know that happy employees are more motivated, more productive and more committed to their employer, meaning they’re less likely to look for a new job somewhere else.
Of course, paying market-rate salaries is one of the best ways to retain staff, but providing good additional benefits like bonuses, flexible working options and extra annual leave days can also contribute to a content workforce.
Keep it professional
Kate Winslet’s character Iris is madly in love with her journalist colleague Jasper in romantic tear jerker ‘The Holiday’. But is it ever a good idea to get swept up in an office romance?
A workplace relationship can mean whole new levels of office politics to deal with, the threat of awkward encounters if it doesn’t work out, not to mention the fact that some businesses frown upon office romances.
The answer to our heroine’s conundrum? She swapped homes for the holidays to get away from her relationship issues and fell in love with Jack Black. Unfortunately, this is very unlikely to happen outside of the movie universe so we’d advise avoiding the situation in the first place!
Use your initiative
Possibly one of the most loved Christmas movies of all time, 'Home Alone' follows the story of Kevin McCallister after he’s accidentally left behind when his family leaves for France. And why is his journey afterwards so important? Because he learns independence and how not to panic when he realises his family is gone.
In the workplace, you’re surrounded by colleagues and fellow industry professionals who can support you and help you out if you ever need a hand. But would you be able to solve a problem yourself if you needed to?
While it’s unlikely that you’ll need to fight off would-be burglars like Kevin, having the ability to think critically, assess a situation, consider viable solutions and then decide what is the best route to take is a key skill, particularly for those in leadership positions, as you may not always have someone else around to help you make the decision.
Team work makes the dream work
'Last Christmas' begins with protagonist Kate, budding actress, feeling fed up with her life. By the end of her journey, Kate discovers that it’s not fame, acting or a great boyfriend that truly makes her happy, but helping others, which she does by volunteering at a homeless shelter.
Everyone has a never-ending to-do list in their jobs but if you can find the time to help out a colleague, no matter how big or small the gesture, it will go a long way in boosting morale and workplace satisfaction for both you and your team.
Don’t get carried away with the Christmas spirit(s)
In seasonal romp ‘Office Christmas Party’, a CEO tries to close her hard-partying brother's branch, so he and his Chief Technical Officer rally their co-workers to host an epic office Christmas party in an effort to impress a potential client and close a sale that will save their jobs.
Inevitably, the party gets way out of hand, which may be entertaining to watch on screen but can come back to bite you if it happens in reality!
Some quick tips for a great festive gathering without the drama or potential lawsuits:
Attendance Optional: it’s a busy time of year, both in and out of work. Some people will have other commitments or may just not want to attend (especially in the midst of a pandemic!).
Gifting Guidance: if you’re running a Secret Santa, make sure to set out any rules from the beginning, such as spend limits or avoiding NSFW gifts.
Naughty or Nice: the office Christmas party is still a work-related activity, so management should set the boundaries of acceptable behaviour and the tone of the event. Employees should take care to have a good time without crossing the line and ending up on the naughty list.
There we have it, a few festive fables for the holiday season. We wish you a very merry Christmas, season’s greetings and a happy new year from all the MERJE team!