Sunday, 4 September 2011

Work Place Festivities !


Festivals have become a big part of the office culture nowadays. In the first of the two-part series, Mithila Mehta explores how organisations today celebrate festivals, outlining the professional implications. India is a country that loves its festivals and this sentiment extends to the workplace as well. Most organisations celebrate festive occasions with all the rituals and traditions in an extremely enthusiastic manner. "My organisation celebrates all major festivals, right from Holi to Eid, Parsi New Year, Christmas and Diwali. The HR department does an excellent job planning the festivities," says Suruchi Baliga, a journalist. Apart from the traditional celebrations, organisations are organising festivals in innovative ways. "Last year, we had a secret santa game at work. Everyone was assigned a colleague and you had to be his/ her secret santa for a week," shares Seema Koshi, a media research analyst. 

Today, occasions like Valentine's Day are also being celebrated. "On Valentine's Day, we had a red dress code. There were huge heart-shaped decorations, and the canteen made heart shaped cakes. It was meticulously done," recalls Baliga. Koshi shares how her organisation celebrates Children's Day by asking employees to bring their young ones to work. "Last year, we had about fifty kids at the office. We played games, saw an animated movie and had a party," she says. 

Festive celebrations at workplace are most welcome because they provide a respite from the routine. "Let's face it; office does tend to get monotonous at times. Festivals add a dash of fun and colour. It gives us something to look forward to," says Bharat Ramanujan, senior copywriter at an ad agency. For the organisation, festive celebrations can go a long way in building a happy, positive corporate culture. This is important in today's context, when organisations are more people-focussed than ever before. Says Samay Taneja, HR manager with an IT solutions company, "We get an opportunity to bond with our employees in a more informal setting.” Interestingly, the globalised nature of organisations is also reflected in the festivals and events being celebrated. "A few years ago, the focus was only on Indian festivals and ceremonies. However, now international days like St Patrick's Day, the year of the rabbit and the Chinese new year is celebrated,” informs Ramanujan. 

Festive celebrations at the workplace help break existing hierarchies and boundaries. "This is one of the few occasions when people let their guard down and are willing to mingle. The entire mood is light and laidback. The usual office rules don't apply, and everyday dynamics are ignored," expresses Upasana Jain, risk analyst at a FMCG company. Agrees Baliga, "The entire organisational hierarchy is suspended. You can simply go up to the CEO and wish him. It is the perfect networking opportunity. Not only is the upper management approachable and 'around', but you have a perfect reason to strike up a conversation." At most workplaces, employees rarely get an opportunity to interact with colleagues from other departments. Festive occasions allow that as well. "We tend to become very comfortable in our own departments, forgetting to consider the organisation as a whole. So when there's a festival, it feels really nice to have everyone together. The same finance guys who I bicker with everyday are singing and dancing with me,” laughs Koshi. 

Festive occasions are also a chance to shed the sober and serious office appearance. It is also a platform to showcase some of your talents at the workplace. "I make the most intricately beautiful rangolis. So, during the Diwali celebrations, I offered to make a rangoli for my office. Colleagues, who had never spoken to me before, got to know me," says Jain. If you're an excellent organiser, help plan the event. If you cook well, carry some festive goodies to work. In this manner, festivals needn't just be about the holidays they bring, but also about fun at the work place.

[Mumbai Mirror, August 29,2011]

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