31 Oct 2014
Halloween offers a fun, affordable and safe way for companies to strengthen the bonds they have with their employees. Allowing employees to wear their Halloween costumes to work is an easy way to boost employee morale and improve worker job satisfaction.
There are benefits and disadvantages to allowing Halloween dress-up in the workplace. On the upside, workers enjoy the change of pace and can express their creativity and share Halloween fun with their co-workers, even if it’s only one day per year.
One the downside, however, it’s often easy for workers to get carried away when designing their costumes. In many cases, unless there are strict guidelines regulating what employees can and cannot wear to work on Halloween, it’s likely that some workers will show up in costumes that are too revealing, overly suggestive, or even offensive.
Make the Rules Clear
As most managers can tell you, employees love to push the envelope and see what they can get away with. If costumes are going to be allowed, management must clearly communicate the rules to everybody ahead of time and monitor employees so that those wearing costumes inappropriate for the workplace can be sent home to change.
In an industrial environment, one of the biggest concerns is safety. Costumes that restrict a worker’s ability to move or see, or that make it more difficult for other workers to see them, also need to be either modified or rejected. Masks are generally not a good idea. Also inappropriate are costumes that have parts hanging off of them that could get caught in moving parts or equipment.
Costumes that include any type of weapon — especially guns — also aren’t appropriate for the workplace. Security or police may not be able to immediately tell the difference between a toy gun and a real one, putting the worker in potential danger. And while play axes, swords and other weaponry may make the outfit unique, invariably someone will eventually use the weapons to do something stupid. The best option is to simply ban them altogether.
Sponsor a Costume Contest
One way to make Halloween dress-up more enjoyable for everybody is to sponsor a costume contest and allow everybody to vote on their favorite. While the prize doesn’t have to be elaborate — a gift card to a local restaurant or for gasoline is inexpensive but will be appreciated — the goodwill and team-building created by the contest can help improve employee loyalty and job satisfaction.
Some companies will require employees wishing to wear a costume to work on Halloween to make a small donation to a local charity, such as $5 or less. This helps limit the number of people wearing costumes — and the amount of policing management has to do –while still raising money for a good cause.
Make Halloween Festive
Decorating the break area with inexpensive Halloween decorations is another affordable way to improve employee morale and improve job satisfaction. If your company has a commissary, you might consider buying or making special holiday cookies or other treats to make the day memorable and special for your workers.
Halloween can provide a fun and safe opportunity for you to develop stronger bonds with your workers.If you are too busy to organize your company’s Halloween activities yourself, consider assigning the task to a manager or assistant or commission a committee to plan your event for you.