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Let employees choose whether to join in workplace events

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Across the UK, many office employees got into the Halloween spirit this week by dressing up, bringing in themed treats and organising events to mark the spookiest day on the calendar.

Organising themed activities can be a boon for employee morale – if workers adopt the right approach.

By relaxing their dress code and other restrictive rules for the day, and allowing staff to let their hair down, they can encourage people to have fun at work.

And in the long term, this can lead to improved engagement and increased productivity – not to mention easier employee retention going forwards.

However, it is always important to be sensitive to the fact that some workers may not wish to join in with the festivities.

Some people may not approve of marking dates such as All Hallows’ Eve, Christmas and April Fool’s Day – and this is fine.

Whether this stance is based upon religion, culture or simply personal preference, they should not be coerced in to participating – or made to feel they are doing anything wrong by standing to one side.

But nor should any one-off activities within the workplace interrupt those not involved. It may well be that they are simply too busy, and need to be allowed to concentrate fully on their work.

Writing for Forbes, Steve Cooper suggested such individuals should find a quiet place to work, shut the door and be left uninterrupted.

Employees can even use ‘do not disturb’ signs if necessary to prevent those in high spirits from coming to distract them.

When employees are allowed to organise ‘fun’ events during working hours, there can be benefit for both themselves and their employer.

But it is important that each individual is given the right to choose whether to participate, and their decision is fully respected.