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office_party(1)Earlier this month, we asked our readers if you planned on decorating your offices for the holidays and if your company would be hosting a holiday party. According to our results, the overwhelming majority of you enjoyed decking your office halls and joining in the merrymaking at your company party. Here’s a breakdown of the results:

–       59% of respondents were agents
–       27% were broker/owners
–       12% were managers, and
–       2% were service providers
–       99% of respondents said their companies permit their offices to be decorated for the holidays
–       1% doesn’t, and the reason in 100% of those cases is to be sensitive to all religions.

Who is the CEO of decorating among our respondents?

–       58% said no one is specifically in charge – if managers or agents want to decorate, it’s their call.
–       37% said office managers take the lead on decking the office halls, and
–       5% have to follow the corporate-level handbook, referring of course to the special section on decoration policy.

One respondent noted, “We all take part in the process, run by our “Fun Committee,” front office and agent partners. We like the idea of a “Fun Committee!” Can we join?

Is there a business purpose in trimming the office tree? Options for answers included “Just for Fun,” “Build Company Morale,” Help Build Rapport with Agents,” “All of the Above,” and “None of the Above.”

Fifty-three percent of you said, “All of the Above,” followed by 28 percent said, “Just for Fun.” Fewer said, “Building Company Morale” and “Rapport with Agents” was the reason for the seasonal décor, and less than one percent said decorations were done for the sole purpose of attracting new clients.

Some comments on that included, “It just makes people happy to get into the holiday spirit.” And, “Because it’s Christmas!” We also heard from one reader, “We don’t decorate. Scrooge rules my physical office.” …hmm, looks like someone may be getting coal in their stocking this year.

We posed the open-ended question, “Do you utilize the holidays to build enhanced engagement with clients? If so, how?” Hundreds of responses were sent in—here’s a sample:

–       “We send cards and gifts to those who helped support our business through the year.”

–       “Yes, to let them know that I haven’t forgotten about them and that I’m still in the business.”

–       “We make sure to extend greetings and host an open house at the office.”

–       “We turn our office into a “Santa’s Workshop” with a reindeer feed station, hot chocolate stations, coloring station . . . for our clients, prospects, and our own children. We send a take-away photo with the children sitting on Santa’s lap. It was very successful last year.”

–       “I purchase a small gift for every client I have ever closed and a larger gift for the clients that I have closed in that current year. Christmas cards to everyone in my sphere or on my mailing list and an e-card to all my email newsletter folks.”

–       “We own our building and the lights are timed to six songs, which the community now expects and enjoys each year.”

On the topic of office parties, an overwhelming 90 percent of respondents said their company was planning an office party this season, and a ballpark average budget seemed to be around the $1,000-$2,000 mark, although it’s clear we had folks from a range of company sizes respond – budgets ranged from $250 on up to $250,000! A lot of you are having potlucks, too.

One person said of his company’s party budget, “Unknown, but they do it up right and in an impressive manner!” Sweet!

The Recession affected about 36% of respondents’ companies. This group said they still had a party but cutbacks were necessary. (Probably more potlucks in those years.) 55% said the company had their usual events, while 9% said holiday merrymaking was slashed from the budget during the downturn years.

And finally, we asked you to provide us with your “Do’s and Don’ts” related to your company’s holiday party etiquette. Here are a few of your insightful responses:

Don’ts:

–       “No games.”
–       “No mistletoe.”
–       “No alcohol.”
–       “Business comes before parties—so no one has a lot of time and/or money to devote to parties and decorating.”

Ouch. Here are some of your Do’s:

–       “Bring a dish and, if you want to participate, a $20 gift for a grab bag.”
–       “Have a lot of fun always.”
–       “Do get in the spirit. Do be positive. Do be generous as much as possible. Try to be understanding. Remember friendship is a gift not an obligation. Avoid negativity and negative people. Drive considerately, obeying ALL TRAFFIC RULES. Also remember that cutting back to one drink allows you to have another handful of Christmas candy – maybe two – depending on your metabolism. Smile until it hurts. Do wear a sleigh bell on a red rope so you can jingle while you mingle.”

–       “In a small company like mine, we can determine it as we go. No drugs and no smoking (sadly, includes no cigars), and generally no hard liquor.”
–       “Do have fun but remain professional and socially appropriate. Do not drink too much.”
–       “Plenty of food, inclusive $5 donation to Salvation Army or Food Pantry entry fee.”
–       “We honor all cultures and customs everyone enjoys the party…as a family.”
–       “We spend months planning the party of the year. It is an agent appreciation event, including spouses and awards presentation.”

And finally, kudos to First Team Real Estate in Huntington Beach, Calif., for this great DO, filled with loads of holiday spirit:

“We go over the top! This year my office mate and I are turning our office into a real, live gingerbread house.” Check it out:

Thank you to all who participated in our holiday office decorating and party survey! Your responses are greatly appreciated! Wishing all our readers Happy Holidays and a very Happy and Successful New Year!

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