For the many Chamber members who work in the retail sector, shops are rightly already looking very festive. But is it appropriate to decorate offices not open to the public, or staff rooms? Many of my clients are asking the question amid fears of being accused of religious harassment – not everyone is Christian and there are a few who have joined the “bah humbug” club.
The only sensible way to know if staff object to Christmas decorations is to ask them; staff always appreciate being consulted about their work environment and the mere act of asking is often sufficient to stave off any complaints or to’ head them off at the pass’.
It is most unusual for employees to object to tinsel, baubles and even Christmas trees, although you do need to take care as some people are allergic to pine.
Unless employees unanimously vote for a nativity scene, it is probably safest to avoid overtly Christian decorations such as a manger or angels. Yes, I know Christmas is a Christian festival but we all live and work in a multi-cultural and diverse arena and surely, in this season of goodwill, none of us setsout to upset our colleagues.
If you are planning a ‘Secret Santa’ event, just assure yourself that everyone wants to participate. Some religious communities such as Jehovah Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas in any shape or form and they may want to excuse themselves from exchanging gifts. If that is the case, plan the exchange of gifts in a manner that does not embarrass anyone who has chosen not to participate.