This week, while jumping between my home-office and my office-office, has me feeling very disconnected from the people I work with. There are six of us in the office – when we are all there at the same time. Technically, we don’t all work at the same company, just work in the same physical space. Think of it as a Young-family work commune for professional entrepreneurs. I have to say it is very nice having other people around to talk to and bounce ideas off of at work that are not clients or direct co-workers. I live on the phone (or Skype, or Google+ Hangouts) with clients so there is still a lot of conversations day-to-day. That coupled with the amount of travel and training I do keeps me pretty busy with other people. The ONE thing this type of working arrangement lacks is a proper end-of-year holiday party.
Right now my social stream is FILLED with all sorts of cool pictures from other people’s company holiday parties. It honestly makes me a bit sad. While I have plans for a dinner out with girlfriends after Christmas, it’s not the same. The idea of being in a casual and festive environment with co-workers has a completely different vibe – and purpose. Just like the crazy “team building” white water rafting weekends anyone that worked in Big Corporate in the 80s and 90s survived, you generally come out of something like an office holiday party with a (renewed) personal connection for the people you spend an equal amount of time with as your family.
Years ago, when I first met my husband, we were working on lateral teams at a Wall Street financial company and the holiday party was outrageous. (I completely credit that year’s holiday party for me meeting my husband.) It’s where bosses got to let their guard down a bit so their employees could see that they were really human and not whip-cracking deadline freaks. It gave employees the chance to mingle with other department to see about other career opportunities. Come the following March, there were always job moves within the company mostly based on the relationships and conversations that were happening at the company holiday party. People could TALK to each other without their workload pressing down and not feel pressured to ‘get back to work’ and break away from water cooler chit-chat. To me, what the holiday party allowed the company to do was exercise people’s personalities and feel a bit more connected to their 9-to-5. (Drunken hookups and butts-on-copiers aside, of course.)
While most solopreneurs go through the year fully engaged with our clients and office co-inhabitants, when the clock strikes twelve we are left standing on the steps with only one shoe on. What’s a single business owner to do around the holidays?