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IMG_4415_CopyHow many people have you heard say “Wow, it’s Decem­ber – where has the year gone?” A few, I bet. It seems to me that the month of Decem­ber is a shock to people when it arrives, which is slightly bizarre, because it hap­pens every year at the same time. But, by the time this issue of Fish­Head comes out it will be very close to Decem­ber, which brings me to some par­tic­u­larly per­tin­ent questions.

Will you be throw­ing a hol­i­day or end-of-year party for your staff? Does your busi­ness give hampers or gifts to your people to thank them for their hard work over the year? Is their salary or wages enough reward for that?

And if you do have planned enter­tain­ment to cel­eb­rate the year, do you squeeze it in dur­ing Decem­ber, or is it a kick-starter to wel­come people back after the hol­i­days? Per­haps you stage a middle-of-the-year event to break up the winter? Or, like us at BW Chartered Account­ants, maybe you have an end-of-year event and a mid-winter cel­eb­ra­tion? I know, lucky us, right?

Per­son­ally, I believe in team cel­eb­ra­tions. Not for every little thing in busi­ness, but an event or two that brings every­one togeth­er to let off a bit of steam, to social­ise and to get to know each oth­er in a fun set­ting. Over the years as a team we’ve gone to a Bon Jovi con­cert; had a half-day of activ­it­ies, includ­ing the film­ing of Sev­en Days; been ten­pin bowl­ing; and even held a party at my house in Makara, where we played golf on the loc­al course. We only played one hole, but still, we had fun togeth­er and really cel­eb­rated the work of the year. This year, we’re off to the races at Trentham.

It doesn’t need to be a lav­ish or expens­ive affair. Big cor­por­ates in New Zea­l­and had a repu­ta­tion for spend­ing up large in the earli­er part of the dec­ade, but it seems most of those busi­nesses have dialled down their efforts quite con­sid­er­ably and are now offer­ing a mod­est cel­eb­ra­tion, but with the bless­ing for their teams to con­tin­ue the party­ing once the com­pany offer­ing has been exhausted.

As a small fam­ily busi­ness, our end-of-year func­tions always include ‘plus ones’. The lead-up to Christ­mas is busy enough without ask­ing staff to spend more time away from part­ners. Even if staff don’t have a sig­ni­fic­ant oth­er, they can bring a friend. We’ve had one new, school-age employ­ee who invited her mum. Hav­ing oth­ers involved also helps steer con­ver­sa­tion away from ‘shop talk’.

I feel our team appre­ci­ates the events we run. For us, hav­ing an end-of-year event boosts mor­ale and makes people feel val­ued in their con­tri­bu­tions. And I enjoy get­ting out with my team, too!

Peta Walker

Peta is FishHead's enterprise writer. A born and bred Wellingtonian, Walker is owner of BW Chartered Accountants and a long-term business adviser - she is currently fighting all the usual accounting stereotypes.. and winning. Loving long walks in the hills, her long-term ambition is to walk the entire Te Araroa walkway: at about 100 kilometres per year this is a 30-year project. She lives on a Makara lifestyle property that is also home to Pester and Lester the chickens, and cows French, Door, Blue and Vein.

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