We don’t do things by halves here at Highlander, and our approach to the festive season is no exception.
Throughout my 15 years working here, the management team have been focused not only on maintaining, but on boosting, employee wellbeing. This festive season, after consulting the wider team, several new initiatives were launched to help get staff in the mood for Christmas.
At the start of December, we launched CBBC (Christmas Breakfast Bread Cake) Mondays to help beat the post-weekend blues and get people feeling festive. For anyone outside Yorkshire, you’ll probably know a bread cake as a bread roll, bap or butty. Driving into work on a dark winter’s morning is suddenly a lot brighter when there’s a bacon sarnie waiting for you at the other end.
This month, for the first time ever, we opened the office doors to some of our staff’s four-legged friends. Having dogs in the office undoubtedly lifted the mood and helped to bring staff together, even though there was an accidental cross-over with some pre-scheduled first aid training! Studies have shown that having pets around the office can lower your stress levels and increase productivity. We’ve definitely found this to be true, so the pups will be back at their desks again this week.
Unfortunately, our furry new Highlanders weren’t on the guestlist for our office Christmas party. This year, the whole team enjoyed a trip out to the Genting Casino, for a chilled-out evening of dinner, drinks and dancing. It was a great occasion to get our gladrags on and celebrate all the hard work that the team have put in over the course of the year.
The celebrations didn’t stop with the Christmas party, as each department has been able to pick a day to relax and rewind by taking a 2-hour lunch break together. In the Core Support team, we headed to the local fish and chip restaurant for a spot of pre-Christmas downtime as a team.
On Friday 13th December, we celebrated Christmas Jumper Day in style. Everyone got involved to raise money for some incredible local causes. We held a raffle, and each department brought in entertainment for everyone to enjoy; there was golf putting, a Scalextric, a Name the Bear stall, and even the opportunity to put Liz from the core support team’s face in a trifle.
Staff were offered the option to wear a Christmas Jumper, or fancy dress, with prizes being awarded for various categories. The inter-departmental fancy dress competition got pretty heated, with several departments competing as teams. Team plans were a fiercely guarded secret before the big day, so it was great to see everyone’s efforts on Friday. The management team looked brilliant as Willy Wonka’s famous Oompa Loompas. I’m proud as punch to say that my team took the top prize, an extra half-day’s holiday each, for collectively dressing as the components of a Christmas dinner!
As always, Highlander likes to give back as much as possible to those less fortunate from our local area. Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we raised a whopping £800 for three very deserving local charities. We also chose to contribute a portion of our total to the fundraising efforts of a much-loved ex-team member whose two-year old daughter was sadly diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer earlier this year. Jamie is working hard to raise money to help improve facilities at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, who continue to support his daughter’s treatment.
Alongside our fundraising efforts, the whole team contributed some amazing gifts to Hallam FM’s Mission Christmas campaign, which ensures local disadvantaged children will have presents to open on Christmas morning.
Don’t forget that our help desk will be open and ready to help you throughout the festive period, so do call in if you need anything. Try to keep it IT-related though, don’t go calling us to get advice on last-minute presents for your relatives!
Finally, on behalf of everyone here at Highlander, I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.