Office Movie Nights The How-To and Why You Should

When you consider office functions, what typical things come to your mind? Some common things might be an office holiday party, Halloween event, or New Year’s Eve bash. Exterior functions and events can serve to boost team and company morale, so they are great additions to the event list, year-round. In fact, an incredibly unique way to spend an evening with coworkers could be to set up a movie party!

Planning

Depending on the space available and employees to attend your movie night, you may need to do some rearranging of seats and furniture; do you need to move a flat-screen from another part of the office? Will you be using a projector? If so, how will it be best set up so that everyone can see properly? What hardware will you be using to play the content? Do you need extra HDMI cables or any adaptors for the display device?

Speak to your employees in advance to see who might be interested – get a head-count so that you have ample space and snacks! Will you be asking employees to bring their families? If so, make sure to choose an age-appropriate movie or inform employees what you’ll be playing; this way they can make executive parental decisions as to whether or not to bring along the kids.

Pick a Movie, or Take a Poll

It can be fun to let the employees pick a movie if you have plenty of time to narrow things down. Take a fill-in-the-blank poll, and see what comes to people’s minds. As you get closer to the movie night, select the most popular and take a new poll – ask everyone to rate their picks from one to last. This may help you decide what to put on the big screen if you’re stuck; remember, you can always plan another movie night later on in the year to watch another crowd-pleaser!

Get Snacks!

The large majority of people far prefer watching a movie with a snack to munch on – just picture the movie theatre! Check out your local dollar store for chips and candy; this is a great way to get lots of food if you’ll have many guests. Don’t forget to pick up drinks! Soda and lemonade are nice, but you’ll need ice, too. Pick up some bottled water so that everyone can have something to drink during the movie.

Allow Ample Time

Since the aim of an office movie night is really to bring coworkers closer together in a less formal setting, you should dedicate some down-time for chatting. Inform employees that snacks will be out fifteen to twenty minutes before the movie starts – this will encourage people to show up before the movie starts! Hopefully, everyone can mingle and get to know any new faces or family members that have tagged along.

Above all, have fun! This is definitely a unique and under-used method to boost company and team morale. Everyone loves a good movie, and movies are best shared with family and friends – those we spend the most time with each and every day. Have fun with this event; get employee input on the excitement level for the event, and ask how they enjoyed time with their coworkers. If you find that it went well, consider another movie night next quarter!

Gratitude: Showing Clients You Care

As a business owner or team leader, you already know how pivotal your client base is to your operation. After all, your customers are what keep your business afloat! Customer appreciation days are widely practiced due to their remarkable ability to increase sales and revenue, all while boosting customer and employee morale. It really is in every company’s best interest to give a little bit back to the consumer.

What Can You Do

Depending on your business, you can take this project in any number of directions. Large corporations can start by reworking automatic emails and by speaking to representatives on what sort of tone should be carried in conversation. Restaurants usually succeed at customer appreciation by running an appreciation day once or twice a year – for this, you could lower prices and offer a raffle prize!

Smaller businesses who are on first-name bases with customers have a wider range of options. Send out custom cards, thanking your clients for their continued participation in your business. Consider handwriting some or all of the cards so that they bear more weight. If this isn’t possible, select the top percentage of your clients – those that bring in the most profit.

Consider running statistical analyses from before and after your customer appreciation experiment. While it’s nice to see the benefits firsthand, always remember to keep sincerity and honesty at the core of your company values. The only thing worse than failing to show appreciation to your clients is to go too far and appear forceful or cheesy. 

Can’t find the right words to recognize clients on your own? Here are a few tried-and-true ideas to help you brainstorm what might be best for your particular business:

  • Offer coupons and gift cards either through physical or e-mail. Customers will feel like you thought specifically of them. Be sure to thank clients for their ongoing patronage in your message.
  • Run a Twitter campaign if you have a social media team up to the task. Hashtag your brand name and some short slogan that describes what you’d like to portray to your loyal customers.
  • Offer special rewards, free items, or heavy discounts on a customer’s birthday. You can automate these things if your client base is large, but don’t forget to make the message feel personal and thoughtful.
  • Run a customer spotlight weekly, or even more often. Recognize customers for doing good deeds or using your product to help others.

The great thing about customer appreciation is that you can make it as elaborate or as simple as you like. From extra smiles on cashiers to free beverages on birthdays, the possibilities are endless. Your clients will love the recognition and genuine interest your company shows. It’s in every business’s interest to invest in a customer appreciation campaign.

For more ideas, check out our services 😉

Congratulating Co-Workers

Exciting happenings will occur in your workplace quite frequently: new babies, promotions, engagements… etc. It’s always nice to hear a simple “congrats” from your co-workers, but sometimes it shines a bit brighter under different presentations. The situation for which you are offering congratulations will determine what might be appropriate.

Milestones

While reaching certain milestones in life may seem like a celebration-worthy event from outside, some people struggle with these moments. Turning fifty, for example, would be a perfect time to congratulate a co-worker who has a positive outlook on the rest of their life. Make sure to be delicate in your wording of notes and messages to peers who might not feel the same way you do about aging.

Office parties are a great way to get everyone excited about your co-worker’s milestone! Buy a cake, have it decorated, and maybe purchase a small gift that commemorates the event. Have the whole floor sign a fancy card!

Engagements and Weddings

What an exciting time for your co-worker! Elaborate congratulations and even asking questions would be a great place to start. If you are able to, offer to purchase something on the wedding registry when it becomes available, or offer a small token of your excitement for the two. Marriage is an amazing part of life for those that choose to follow that route.

Pregnancy Announcements

A common rule of thumb with offering congratulations is to match the co-worker’s excitement. Some topics will be touchy and you might not even know it! Read the expressions and emotions of the person you will be congratulating to make sure you don’t offend. For example, your co-worker may be terrified to find out they are pregnant or that their partner is expecting. Depending on the situation, you can offer your assistance and advice.

Births

Whether it’s your co-worker’s first child or following, the birth of a newborn is both an exciting and stressful time. Many people will take some time off to be with their new addition, so be sure to have something prepared for when they return. One great idea might be a baby book, signed by you and the rest of your team. New parents are always in need of diapers, and it’s always a welcome gift. Not sure what size to buy? Size one diapers will definitely fit within several weeks of a baby’s birth unless they were prematurely born. Another tried-and-true gift would be baby onesies – new parents go through far more of these in a day than imaginable. Anything that extends laundry day is a lifesaver.

Career Achievement

Promotions and other recognitions are the perfect opportunities to make an elaborate celebration event. Office parties with food and tasty treats will help lift the mood, bringing attention to your co-worker. Coordinate with those around you to make your peer feel special! Perhaps you could even work with your boss to get a certificate of recognition created that can be gifted at the office party. 

Above all, however, it’s important that your words and actions are true to you. You and your co-workers are close; you work together more hours than you see your family members sometimes. It’s kind and thoughtful to go out of your way to congratulate these people in your life on their achievements and milestones. No matter how you do it, it will be appreciated if it comes from the heart.

Delivering Positive Feedback: Helping Your Co-Workers Succeed Through Positivity

Have you ever been asked to conduct a peer review? It’s probably one of the toughest and most dreaded things you can face as an employee – often we don’t feel in the right position to be offering feedback to our peers. Contrary to what you might initially think, you are, in fact, uniquely qualified for this task! In fact, even if you aren’t explicitly asked, you should always be looking for ways to build up your team members. Offering useful, constructive criticism is a great place to start.

One of the first things you should admit to yourself is that you may have more experience with how a peer works on a day-to-day basis – how they react to stress, large projects, or negative customer interactions. How often do they require assistance or ask for help without going to a manager? Your daily experience working with your peers is uniquely valuable to your superiors!

Don’t Be Vague

While a general pat on the back can make someone feel good, it won’t necessarily point out what their strengths are. Give as much detail within your verbal or written feedback as you can; discuss how you observed their strengths play into this positive outcome. Encourage your peers to harness more of what is being praised in the future!

Don’t Shy Away

Often, we may notice an area for improvement in our peers – if it’s obvious that someone is struggling with something, it’s in no one’s best interest to stay silent. Finding the perfect way to word constructive criticism can be hard, but that shouldn’t stop us from offering it. Feedback should always be delivered with the improved performance of the individual in mind; you are here to help them identify how they can use their strengths to tighten up the loose ends.

Don’t Patronize

If you do need to deliver some constructive criticism, skip the “sandwich” approach (delivering a negative tidbit in between two positives). This tactic is always obvious, and it can be received quite poorly by some people. While a “sandwich” may seem to lessen the blow, it can actually bring down the recipient even further. Choose instead to level with your peers, taking an approach more like this: “here’s what’s happening, and here’s how we can leverage your strengths to fix it”.

Keep it Professional

Some people are simply more likely to take criticism personally than others – in those cases, try your best to be gentle in your approach. Others, however, are extremely open to new ideas and love hearing that others are invested in their success. Keep in mind as you formulate peer reviews, or consider providing feedback, that your comments should only address this person’s work. This will help the recipient not feel attacked or targeted in any way.

Positive peer feedback can help create a great company culture where employees feel supported and cared for by their peers. While comments from supervisors are nice, knowing that your team members care about your success can improve performance and inspire confidence. Take every opportunity you can to build up your coworkers – even outside of peer reviews.

Writing the Perfect Thank You Card: Tips, Tricks, and Occasions

Not sure if you should write a thank you note? Confused about what to write inside your card? Play it safe and do some homework before diving right in! A well thought out thank you card will mean more to someone than a “thanks” in person, so it’s incredibly important to get it right the first time around.

When Should You Send A Thank You Card?

One of the greatest tools for card-sending is: if you aren’t sure, you probably should. If you find that the occasion in question is not on the following list, send one anyway! Recipients are generally thrilled to feel appreciated through something even as simple as a thank you note – your words will not fall upon deaf ears.

Baby (or Bridal) Shower

You should definitely send a thank you note as the expecting mother or bride-to-be, to at least those that brought you gifts. It’s incredibly generous for someone to pick out, make, or collect items for you or your coming baby! Make sure to reference the gift you were given and say something about how you will use it.

Wedding

As the newly-wed couple, it’s customary to send thank you cards to all who attended your wedding. Even if someone did not get you a gift, it’s nice to thank them for bearing witness to your matrimony; explain how it was important to you that they were able to attend and enjoy the day with you! For those who sent you gifts, don’t merely thank them for the gift – again, explain how happy you were to see them at your reception and ceremony.

Job Interview

You should always take the opportunity to thank your interviewers for their time – after all, you did get the interview! Sending a thank you note can allow you to reiterate your strengths and follow up on any questions they might have had during the interview. A candidate who sends a post-interview note shows more personability and dedication than someone who doesn’t send one.

Birthday and Dinner Parties

If you recently had a birthday party or attended a dinner party, it is customary to send a thank you note. Thank everyone who attended your birthday party, making reference to any gifts you received. For a dinner party you attended with a family member or friend, thank them for hosting you and feeding you!

Funeral Gifts and Donations of any Kind

As with any other gift, you should consider sending a thank you card to those who contributed to the beauty of a funeral or the health of your business. While it may be difficult for you to send out thank you notes immediately after the loss of a loved one, feel free to take time before sending your card – no one will blame you.

Graduation Party

Graduation is an exciting time for you! Whether you have just finished high school or a master’s degree, your achievement is something to celebrate. As with any of the previous occasions, it is best to thank someone for a gift they brought you.

Other Situations

  • Receiving a letter of recommendation
  • Getting accepted for or finishing an internship
  • Receiving an award
  • Acknowledging inspirational teachers
  • Influential people in your life – coaches, parents, mentors
  • Hospital staff who helped you recover
  • Whenever you feel that a verbal thank you isn’t enough!

6 Strategies to Increase Company Morale

With the changing seasons and upcoming holidays, you may be wondering if there are strategies you can implement, to help boost morale among your staff. You might have some ideas or recognition practices in place, but you’re looking to do more. Today, we’ll highlight a few suggestions that you can pursue throughout this fourth quarter, to foster an environment of loyalty and fulfillment within your teams.

Company Sponsored Lunches

Surprise your teams with a company-sponsored lunch or two this holiday season. Maybe bring in pizzas for a job well done or completion of a recent project. Cater a full spread from a favorite local restaurant as a sign of appreciation for their loyalty. Get creative and try bagels as a breakfast treat. Decorated cookies are fun snacks that employees can also take home to their families. Give the gift of food as a simple yet effective method of improving morale.

Celebrate Milestones

Recognition for anniversaries, pivotal milestones, or recent accomplishments can solidify with your teams that you appreciate them. Send companywide emails or announcements to shine a spotlight on an employee’s achievements. Offer plaques with plated name recognition and display them in common areas. Consider supplementing these announcements with handwritten cards, signed by all, and a gift card as an additional gift. You’ll be providing direct recognition to the recipient, but will also set the tone for the others, that they too can expect their moment in the limelight for working hard.

Thoughtful Gifts

Companywide efforts to boost morale should be fair and consistent for everyone. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate thoughtful, more personal gifts as well. For example, if someone on your staff is an avid football fan, consider gifting a mug or tee shirt featuring his or her favorite team. Specialized gift-giving can create authentic connections among your ranks. Employees who feel connected to their companies and managers are more fulfilled in their roles.

Health & Wellness

Jumps start morale by offering a host of health and wellness perks to your employees. Free or discounted gym memberships are popular corporate gifts. You can also scale down and implement periodic breaks throughout the day to encourage individuals to walk around and get up from their desks. Keep a common kitchen area stocked with complimentary water, fruit, or health-conscious snacks. Show your teams you care about their health and wellness, even when they’re on the clock.

Charity & Sponsorships

Listen to your teams and create a list of causes and sponsorship opportunities that are important to them. Increase morale by supporting an employee’s child recreational team. Offer to be a drop off location for a school supply, or coats drive. Your staff will recognize your efforts to align the company with charities that matter to them. You’ll also be promoting your corporate responsibility as an organization. Today’s workforce responds favorably to companies that give back. But, don’t just donate to any charity. Instead, donate time and resources to those your teams cherish the most.

Work Environment Upgrades

If it’s feasible, consider remodeling or upgrading common areas. If you’re in an office setting primarily, maybe renovate a break room and buy a few new appliances. If you’re more warehouse or field-based teams need a boost, maybe upgrade some of their tools or technology. Employees will take notice that your company is investing in making their jobs more efficient, or their environment more conducive for operation. The response will be an overall improvement in morale.

Remember, taking care of your team means making sure they are happy and challenged in their roles. They are your front line to company success. Tap into some of these suggestions, to help end your 2019 on a morale-boosting high note.

11 Brilliant Co-Worker & Employee Gift Ideas for Holiday Exchanges

Every year, you and your co-workers attempt to organize gift exchanges. Or, maybe you don’t necessarily have a company-wide policy, but typically try to exchange gifts with a few key work pals. You may be looking for unique presents that are appropriate for the work environment. We’re here to help. Today, we’re highlighting eleven brilliant gift ideas suitable for co-workers and staff.

Monthly Subscription Goodies

Consider showing your appreciation for staff by offering monthly subscription deliveries of goodies. You can help boost morale and provide the gift that keeps on giving every month. There are a host of snacking subscriptions available, but check out ThanksCrate.com for some great ideas.

Kitchen Accessories

Dish towels and holiday-themed oven mitts can be great gift ideas. Consider stuffing the mitt with snacks or dry baking mixes. You’re sure to please your cooking enthusiast co-worker and stay within your price point in doing so.

Mugs, Thermals & Travel Cups

You may have employees or work friends who are rarely seen without a beverage in hand. You can offer these folks new mugs or travel cups to put in their usage rotation. Splurge a little and invest in some of the heavy-duty thermal mugs as well.

Graphic Tee Shirts

If there’s a comedian in your circle of staff or any fans of movies and music, you might offer graphic tee shirts or sweatshirts in a favorite genre. Remember to keep it clean and avoid offensive topics. But, finding that ‘new dad’ shirt or Star Wars themed hoodie, might be the best gift they receive.

Winter Wear

If you’re in an area with routine inclement weather, you’re always safe to gift winter-related wearables. Stocking caps, gloves, and ice scrapers are functional and handy gifts that almost anyone will enjoy receiving.

Favorite Candies

You might have that one co-worker who is constantly snacking or has the communal snack drawer from which everyone grazes. Buy a holiday stocking and stuff it full of favorite candies, just for them.

Desktop Accessories

You may work in an office environment with plans to exchange with fellow cubicle or desk masters. There is a variety of fun and unique desktop gifts available. Consider finding fun mousepads, picture frames, or writing utensils.

Technology Gifts

Do you have techie employees or co-workers on your list? Maybe new earbuds, portable chargers, or screen cleaning kits are in order. Depending on your price point or spending agreements, gifting new and cutting edge, tech-related items might be the perfect gift.

Coffees, Teas & Beverages

Coffee and tea lovers always enjoy coffee and tea-related gifts. Visit a specialty shop locally or find new flavors online. Offer the beverages with a new mug or flavorings for a complete package.

Spices, Seasonings & Rubs

If you have a few grill masters in your co-working space, grilling accessories might be perfect gifts. Wrap up new tongs and partner them with a host of spices, rubs, and seasonings. Tuck them all in a fun apron.

Movie Night Bundles

Consider assembling a few holiday movie DVDs, some microwave popcorn, and candy. Gift wrap the entire bundle and present it as the perfect gift. You can stuff it with extras or gourmet popcorn varieties, as well. It’s a gift that sure to please even the pickiest of co-workers.

Don’t fret this year’s gift exchanging. Keep it light, personalized, and fun. If you still find yourself stumped this season, you can always resort to gift cards. Sometimes a movie pass, a card to a favorite local restaurant, or iTunes will be perfectly acceptable. For more tips and ideas for your company gift exchanges, contact us!

Writing the Perfect Goodbye Letter to a Coworker

When it comes time to wish your coworkers a farewell, it can be difficult to put your thoughts down on paper. It’s an amazing show of support when someone receives a goodbye letter from a coworker – most of the people in one’s workplace become like a second family! Taking the time to jot something down, even if simple, will mean more than you know.
Personalize
If you’ll be the only one writing, make sure it’s apparent this letter is coming from you! Reminisce on past jokes and scenarios at work that had you both rolling. This might be a tough time for your coworker, so take the opportunity to lift their spirits and bring a smile to their face.

If you’ll be asking others to sign your letter or card, try to keep the content general. Discuss your coworker’s strengths and talk about how these will help them in their new job. Leave plenty of room for others to write anything they like, but take up enough space to show that you really care.
Suggested Outline
Struggling to find the right flow or structure for your letter? We’ve got some tips and tricks for you.

  1. Opening
    Start with something general and uplifting – something that shows how much you’ve enjoyed working with this person. Elaborate to include anything you like.

Chris,

It’s been a crazy few years here at Business Inc., but you’ve made coming into work every day a little bit easier. I just want to say thank you again for always wearing a smile first thing in the morning – I still have no clue what your secret is!

  1. Remember
    Follow up with a personal or shared moment that your coworker will appreciate you mentioning. The goal is to make their previous time at work feel important and remembered – bring up anything, whether it’s big or small.

Remember the first winter you were here? The week before Christmas we had that huge snowstorm – you and I were some of the only ones that made it in to work that day! What a crazy rush we had that afternoon!

  1. Speculate
    Take some time to address how it will be different in the office without this person. What will you miss most about them when they are gone?

It’ll be a lot different around here without you; you’ll be off doing great things, but we’ll all miss your smiles! To be honest, I’m kind of nervous about getting a new cubicle neighbor!

  1. Strengths
    For the next part of your letter, highlight some of your co-worker’s strengths and how this impacted you and your team.

I know most of us came to you for questions about that product we all despise. You’ve always been super approachable and helpful when we needed some guidance. Everyone knew we could depend on Chris to swoop in and save the day. The new guy has a lot to live up to, that’s for sure!

  1. Closing
    In the final part of your letter, create a reason for your coworker to feel comfortable coming back to visit! Workplaces should be inviting and employees should feel welcome to come back and chat, especially about how their new position is going! Congratulate your coworker on whatever they’re moving on to next, and wish them luck and prosperity.

Good luck with your promotion and transfer, Chris. It was well-deserved – honestly, we couldn’t hide your talents from upper management for much longer anyway. If you have the time, please stop by and check in on all of us! Hopefully, the place doesn’t fall apart without you before then!

Wishing you all the best,
Steve

Birthday Card Writer’s Block!

Birthdays come and go at the office, but you’re hoping to up your greeting card game this year. You want to make sure you write something that won’t make your coworkers yawn and instantly toss away your card – but, where do you start? What on earth should you write that they will genuinely appreciate?

10 Ideas to Spark Your Creativity

Look no further – we’ll help you brainstorm. You’ll have the perfect card written in no time at all! Remember, the fact that you took the time to write something for your coworker will mean more than a stock greeting card, anyway.

Funny Messages

Looking for a funny message to include for someone you are close with? Try out some of these greetings in your head before you jot them down on a fancy card! If your coworker has a nickname, you could pop it into your card, too.

  1. Happy birthday, Joe! I thought about writing a happy birthday for every year you’ve attained, but I don’t have enough space. Joking, hope you have a great day!
  2. Hey, Joe!  Wishing you the best birthday ever – I even swiped 10 of the candles from the breakroom so you can feel a bit younger today! Happy (37th), bud.
  3. Joe, I know I said I wouldn’t make a big deal out of your birthday, but here’s this card. It says stuff, and I figured you were worth the effort. Happy birthday!
  4. Hey Joe. I asked the new guy how old he thought you were, and he said 30! It’ll be our secret. Happy birthday! Hope you keep looking this good for years to come.
  5. Happy birthday, Joe! Make sure to bring me some of your leftover cake tomorrow. Just kidding, hope you have a great time with your family tonight.

Standard Messages

Not quite as close to your coworker as that?  Maybe you want to write a birthday card to someone who is new, or an intern!  For people you don’t know quite as well, these would do just as well.

  1. Happy birthday, Joseph! I hope you have a great year; wishing you all the best.
  2. Wishing you a happy birthday, today, Joseph. It’s been great getting to know you the past few months! Here’s to another awesome year.
  3. Happy birthday and heartfelt wishes to you, Joseph! I hope this next year brings you all that you hope for.
  4. Happy birthday, Joseph; one more year gone, but so many left to go! I hope you achieve all that you hope to this year.
  5. A very special birthday wish to you, Joseph. The team and I pitched in for a cake, we hope you enjoy it!

Writing an Employee’s Birthday Card

Looking for something to write on your employee’s birthday card, but don’t know where to start?  We recommend beginning with identifying your audience. How casual is your workplace? What kind of relationships do you want to foster with your employees? Once you have that in mind, you’ll be able to take a sense of direction and run with it.

It’s becoming increasingly important to write a message in your greeting cards. It will mean much more than the stock text and show that you care enough to take a few minutes to jot something down. Here are a few ideas to jumpstart your brainstorming!

10 Ways to Say “Happy Birthday”

It’s been an awesome year; watching you grow in the company and within this team has been amazing. Keep up the great work!  

Wishing you the best of birthdays,

Happy birthday to one of the most dedicated employees on this team. I’ve been impressed, day in and day out, with your outstanding work ethic. Carry this with you in all things, and each birthday will bring you more success than the last one.  

Enjoy your day,

Happy birthday, Mike. I hope this next year in your life brings you as much success as the previous ones have.

Here’s a big shout-out to you, Mike. You’ve been a great role model for new employees. I just wanted to say ‘happy birthday’, and thank you for everything you’ve brought to the team this year.

Mike, your positivity and general attitude about work have always been uplifting and a huge benefit to the team. We really appreciate all that you’ve taught us over the past year.  

I wish you a birthday as happy as you make this office feel,

Happy cake day, Mike! We’re all wishing you a fantastic birthday and a memorable year.

Steve, Stacey, Karen, and Jenna

P.S. Save some for us, will you?

Happy birthday, Mike. You’re such an invaluable member of this team; I’m so glad we get you for another year!  

Happy birthday from all of us,

Congrats on making it another year here on the Earth! It’s a pleasure to work with you – Happy birthday!

Hey, Mike. I just wanted to give a quick thank-you for all that you do. You make working here a lot more fun and your dedication is always a great reminder of what we do here. Thanks for your hard work, and happy birthday!

Happy birthday, Mike. No one could do your job better than you – except maybe “Mike with cake”! Thanks for sticking around and giving us all you’ve got. Go enjoy your special day and a slice of cake on us.

Keep it Simple

Birthdays are a joyous time, so keep a birthday card light and fresh.  Don’t talk too much about work, unless it’s to show appreciation, and try not to mention how old your employee is unless you have a very close relationship with them. Above all, take the time to consider what your employee would like to hear today! The simple act of writing in a card can be a powerful way to connect with the people you see every day.