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Category: Holiday

Although COVID-19 is (hopefully) behind us, the pandemic will have long-term impacts on the working world. Having grown accustomed to, and comfortable with, working remotely, many employees are resisting a return to the office.

Though managers would generally prefer to have everyone physically back in the workplace, given the tight labor market and projections for lower workforce growth over the coming decade, they can’t push too hard.

Of course, remote work isn’t an option for everyone. But for knowledge workers who are able to work from home (or pretty much anywhere), some combination of remote and hybrid (part-time in the office) work is likely to permanently replace full-time in-the-office employment.

Developing team cohesion and camaraderie is more important than ever for improving employee retention. Yet it’s also incredibly challenging to do when employees spend little time interacting in person. What are managers to do?

A regular schedule of team building and professional development programs can check all the boxes: it builds strong relationships, enhances collaboration, increases employee loyalty, and improves interpersonal skills. The end result is an engaged, high-performing workforce. Here’s how to get there.

How to Use Team Building with Remote and Hybrid Work Teams

Effectively managing and optimizing the cohesion of physically disconnected work teams requires thinking about the challenge across multiple dimensions, including people, processes, and programs.

Building collaborative teams goes way beyond the technology. Tools like Slack, Zoom, and Monday can certainly be helpful, and remote work applications have in general gotten a lot better over the past couple of years. But the tools themselves are only infrastructure; it’s how the tools are used that leads to high performance (or not).

People

One challenge of managing remote/hybrid teams is that it’s harder to really get to know your team, and for team members to really get to know each other, without the benefit of in-person verbal and non-verbal cues day in and day out.

As noted in a previous post here, maximizing team cohesion with different personalities and work styles starts with utilizing some type of personality assessment tool, such as the DiSC model, MBTI assessment, or Predictive Index. The insights they provide are valuable in any environment but are even more crucial when managing physically disconnected work teams.

Some employees are comfortable working independently, with periodic check-ins and updates from team members. Others are more collaborative and prefer to talk issues through with teammates. Still others need time to process information and are uncomfortable making snap decisions.

It’s vital for managers to understand these differences regardless of the work structure, but even more critical—and challenging—in remote or hybrid situations. For example, an employee who craves socialization may need opportunities for direct conversations with the team leader and coworkers in order to remain comfortable and engaged.

“Managing is less about tactics and goals and more about team cohesion, building culture, and creating one-on-one relationships. Then when conflict or a crisis does happen, you’re better equipped to handle it,” says leadership coach Wendy Bryan.

“You have to arm your managers of hybrid or remote work teams with assessment tools and skills. It’s about really understanding the workplace drivers and what makes people tick, because most employees can’t just tell you how best to manage them.”

Leadership training is essential for enabling managers to understand and properly use the results of personality assessments. Team building programs help employees better understand and accommodate the different work styles and preferences of their colleagues.

Process

One basic component of managing geographically dispersed groups and making everyone feel like part of the team is not only a regular cadence of online meetings, but also an established structure, so that everyone gets the most out of virtual meetings.

That’s vital from a tactical standpoint, but it’s also crucial for managers to understand the softer side of online communications. Who needs to be “called on” during team meetings because they aren’t as eager as others to speak up? How do employees prefer to be contacted for urgent or quick questions: phone call? Text? Are they highly responsive on Slack or email? That’s important to know on both tactical and interpersonal levels.

The output of personality assessments can also be incorporated in creative ways into remote team communications.

For example, notes Wendy, “We could take the placards from the Predictive Index and black out the names. Then interject those into weekly or monthly meetings, asking ‘Who do you think is who? Which one is yours?’ It’s a five-minute icebreaker that’s fun, gets everyone relaxed, and is much more meaningful than small talk about sports or the weather.”

It’s also helpful for remote team cohesion to occasionally interrupt business with fun. For example, once a month, hold a mandatory 30-minute Zoom meeting where people have to be away from their desks and doing something physical, to encourage health and wellness.

People might be walking, at the gym, vacuuming, any physical activity. It may seem awkward at first, but after a few sessions, team members start to get creative and have fun with it. It’s great for physical and mental health, as well as employees showing a different side of themselves.

Team building and professional development programs also play a crucial role. “Think about what happens at sales meetings, marketing kickoffs, or other all-employee gatherings,” says Wendy. “People get to see each other, give high-fives, and hang out together. That’s so important. When it’s not possible or practical, virtual team building helps to meet that need in building team cohesiveness.

“You can have a manager attend leadership development training or your people do a team building program. Both are important, but have two different psychological effects. One is addressing the manager and how to manage. The other is for the team and how to see other sides of coworkers beyond email, Slack, and Zoom meetings. Start with team building for everybody, then springboard off into getting managers trained to be better leaders.”

Programs

Helpful programs for leadership and professional development in hybrid / remote work environments include:

  • Building Your Hybrid Team: This custom virtual workshop will give you and your hybrid team a roadmap for moving forward, while helping to organize for increased efficiency. It focuses on methodologies that your group can use in future meetings, and explore behavioral and work styles and situational leadership approaches. It will help you to create an Objective Statement along with corresponding team goals to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Virtual Coaching and Feedback: This online program will increase your ability and skill to provide virtual coaching and feedback that is engaging and effective. It helps develop trust and respect and promotes self-awareness that will allow for increased development and focused career planning.
  • Conducting Better Virtual Meetings: Learn the skills and tools to make your virtual meetings effective and productive. Plan remote meetings that will deliver tangible results with clear takeaways and follow-up action plans that will ensure your attendees see value in attending and participating.
  • Developing Emerging Leaders: For a more in-depth approach to developing and enhancing leaders in your organization, this comprehensive workshop series helps current and future leaders realize their full potential.

Among the most popular and effective virtual team building programs for strengthening remote team cohesion are:

  • Virtual Morning Jumpstart: This event can be delivered on any day of the week as a fun way to launch into a productive workday with smiles and camaraderie. Virtual Morning Jumpstart promotes team cohesion and enhances relationships through a lively series of game-type challenges and morning wake-up-themed activities.
  • Virtual escape rooms: Programs such as Escape the Office, Save the Boss, and Search for the Cure bring together an immersive storyline, clues of varying difficulty, detailed graphics, and an advanced escape room platform to intrigue and challenge your group.
  • Virtual Speed Networking: This engaging get-to-know-you event incorporates a series of fun and challenging icebreaker activities and discussion topics, conducted remotely. After every break-out session, teams will return to the virtual “General Session” space to reconnect with the large group and the host.

How to Schedule Workshops and Programs to Enhance Team Cohesion

Keeping remote work teams engaged and productive requires establishing protocols and processes, but also building team cohesiveness in a hybrid work environment. It’s very helpful to do some type of activity on a quarterly basis that brings the team together outside of the work you actually have to do. To maintain team cohesiveness among remote workers, you need to be even more deliberate about this than when you have the whole team on site every day.

In addition to training or professional development workshops that are just for managers, an ideal cadence is one team building event per quarter—live if possible, virtual if not. And the entire team should do at least one or two live, in-person team building events each year.

Conclusion

Building and maintaining highly collaborative and productive work teams is challenging in any environment, but even more so in remote or hybrid work situations. Leadership development and team building programs are essential for optimizing team cohesion and performance.

Managing successful remote teams requires the right mix of people management, processes, and programs. It starts with using a personality assessment tool to help managers really understand the unique characteristics of team members, and training managers on how to use the output of these tools.

Remote work processes help keep the team in sync. These need to take into consideration both tactical requirements and people management “soft skills.”

Team building and professional development programs play a vital role in keeping remote team members engaged, and your teams performing at a high level. The ideal cadence for team building activities is quarterly, with at least one in-person event each year.

On the first Friday of March, it is a special day designated to recognize your employees. March 6, 2020, is National Employee Appreciation Day. Businesses nationwide created this day as a way to show appreciation for their employees.

When employees are appreciated, they, in turn, are motivated. Motivated employees help the company achieve its goals. So what does it take to show appreciation? Expressing your gratitude can be shown in many ways, from social gatherings, gifts, to a simple thank you note.

Team building can encompass so many of the things you are trying to accomplish on National Employee Appreciation Day.

A team building event can be a celebration. It can include food and beverages before, after, or during the program. It can be a fun way to give back to the community, or it can focus on strengthening your team’s skills or relationships. Regardless, all of our team building programs will show your employees that you care about them.

Recognizing your team creates a culture of encouragement. Employees will be excited to come in each day, give 100%, and pursue their goals.

Here are just some of our team building activities we recommend for employee appreciation day in a variety of settings.

In the office – Try our Minute to Win It program. A Minute to Win It is a series of tabletop team building games using everyday household items and office supplies. After a fun demo and practice session, each challenge is played, and teams are scored accordingly. Great for taking a break in the office or as after-dinner entertainment. This fast-paced event will have everyone laughing, cheering, and vying to become A Minute 2 Win It! Champions.

Outdoor venues – If you are hosting your event at a nearby park, beach, courtyard, etc., break down the walls and get outside! In cities with beautiful year-round weather, try a Team Olympics or Amazing Chase SmartHunt. Your employees will love getting some fresh air for a couple of hours break outdoors!

A venue with a common interest – Is your company hosting an event for the employees that focus on a particular interest like the arts or sports. Museums and stadiums make the perfect venue for a team building event like Operation Military Care. Teams will assemble care packs to benefits soldiers overseas, and groups will love the sense of accomplishment that comes with CSR giving back type programs.

Have a competitive group? Competition to Collaboration is one of our most popular trademarked events with a powerful message of organizational synergy. Colleagues will be surprised by the twist at the end and how we measure their success!

Large conference space? We highly recommend Bridge to the Future for that company who will have a lot of space and wants to “collaborate” two departments or more who usually don’t work together or don’t work well together. Each team will contribute to building a bridge, which without each other’s parts, could not be crossed in its entirely.

Want to give back? Bike Build Donation® is our most popular program for those wishing to give back and help those in need. Participants will build bicycles and donate them for children in their local community. The opportunity to donate their time to a good cause helps employees build strong bonds and increase feelings of company loyalty.

Foodies? If you regularly offer catered lunches and your employees love being fed, try one of our culinary challenges like Food Truck Face-off. Teams will create tasty dishes that will be judged then feasted on for a fun and competitive cooking challenge.

Regardless of the activity, meaningful connections will be made across your team. Show your employees you appreciate them this March 6. The gesture, big or small, can go a long way in making them feel appreciated. Thank your team for their hard work with a fun team building activity!

It’s December 31st and time to plan how you will ring in the New Year. This year is the start of a new decade as we enter 2020! Whether you participate in one of the many traditional plans or a quiet night at home, we wish you a Happy New Year!

It is said that 22 percent of Americans will fall asleep before midnight. Will you make it late enough to watch the classic New York City ball drop?  At midnight the traditional song “Auld Lang Syne” is sung. Auld Lang Syne means “old long ago” by Scottish poet Robert Burns. Most people do not know all the words but hum along loudly enough to get by.

Kissing someone at midnight is said to bring good luck. According to English and German folklore, the first person you encounter in a New Year — and the nature of this encounter — sets the tone for the rest of the year. A kiss is about strengthening ties you wish to maintain in the future. Whether a romantic kiss or a hug with close friends, the new year is a great time to strengthen ties amongst loved ones.

Eating collard greens and black-eyed peas is another foodie tradition in the south. It was believed that the black-eyed peas symbolized coins and eating them insured economic prosperity for the coming year, wrote Frederick Douglass Opie, a food historian, in his blog Food As A Lens.

Many of the nation’s larger cities host fireworks on New Year’s Eve. China invented fireworks and is also one of the first countries to take part in New Year’s celebrations due to its time zone. It’s believed that the noise of the fireworks scares evil spirits and misfortune.

Many people use the new year as a time to set resolutions. Making resolutions are goals to improve one’s life and things you long to happen in the new year. Common resolutions include diet, exercise, quitting bad habits, and other issues concerning personal wellness. A prevailing view is that the first day of the year is a clean slate to start over.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day are a popular day for parades. For instance, the New Year’s Day Rose Parade in Pasadena, California to kick off the Rose Bowl. Watching college football is a familiar activity on New Year’s Day in America watching the top teams battle it out for a bowl title.

So get your champagne ready to toast, your confetti ready to throw and your noisemakers ready to shake! It’s time to celebrate your gratefulness for the past year’s blessings whether its with tradition or non-traditional activities. Many nations and cultures have their own characteristic way of celebrating. However you wish to celebrate, we wish you much health, success, and happiness in 2020!

Thanksgiving is a holiday known for its traditions, family time, and food. Turkey Day marks the peak of fall weather and the beginning of the holiday season. Thanksgiving traces its origins centuries back to harvest festivals spanning days or weeks. Even though Thanksgiving is now celebrated on only one day – on the fourth Thursday in November – there is no shortage of festivities. With so much happening, it is important to remember just how much there is to be thankful for. Here are some ways for everyone to enjoy the day.

For The Athlete
In towns and cities around the country, runners like to get ahead of their anticipated holiday weight by participating in a local Turkey Trot. These races give people of all ages a chance to kick off their Thanksgiving season with a healthy start. The shorter distance offers participants a chance to show off their fun side, as many runners opt to wear themed costumes. Because Thanksgiving is considered to be a day of charity, organizers sometimes request donations of non-perishable goods for local nonprofits to feed those in need.

For The Nostalgic
An annual tradition for nearly 100 years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade takes place in Manhattan and is televising nationally to millions every Thanksgiving morning. The three-hour event is filled with themed floats, huge helium character balloons, and various performances. The parade is best known for depicting both classic and contemporary characters in multiple mediums. Classic performances, such as the Rockettes, please crowds every year. To signify the beginning of the holiday season, the final and often most anticipated guest is Santa Claus.

For The Sports Lover
For decades, football has been a Thanksgiving Day staple. Traditionally, the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys have each hosted a Thanksgiving Day game. Often, additional football games, hosted by a rotation of professional teams, are also played. Several collegiate rivalry games have been played on Thanksgiving Day throughout the years. These nationally broadcast events have epic halftime shows, as well.

For The Foodie
The most iconic event of Thanksgiving is the meal itself. The main course of the feast is so well-known, Thanksgiving is also known as Turkey Day. Other food staples often accompany turkeys, such as gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and vegetables. The meal is typically served family-style, as the Thanksgiving meal is a reason for family and friends to get together to enjoy one another’s company. Variations of the traditional Thanksgiving meal include the vegetarian option of tofu. Libations are usually served as well- for those of age, of course! Because so many families come from diverse backgrounds and cultures, many hosts opt to show thanks by integrating traditional foods from other cultures. During mealtime, breaking the turkey wishbone is a fun tradition. The game is played by two partygoers, each grabbing one end of the wishbone, making a wish, and pulling in opposite directions. It is said that the person with the bigger piece when the wishbone breaks has their wish granted.

For The Deal Chaser
After the feast is over, the only thing left to do is shop Black Friday deals. The Friday after Thanksgiving is when many retailers have massive sales to help shoppers cross off everyone on their holiday gift list. The day is often chaotic for customers and stores alike. Many people take the night of Thanksgiving to plan their strategies, and may even get in line at their favorite places to get the midnight doorbusters. Some may also drive far distances to outlet malls, or places they think will have the biggest discounts on the most sought after items. Because so many people have this day off from work and school, the day has become closely associated with Thanksgiving Day and is sometimes considered a holiday all on its own.

No matter how your family celebrates Thanksgiving, the team at Best Corporate Events is thankful that our clients choose BEST as their team-building facilitator. Thank you for making BEST the #1 rated event organizer in America!

The weather is changing and so are the leaves! Fall officially starts on September 23rd. The beginning of the season means festive activities and crisper air. With our headquarters located in Florida, our corporate office does not get to appreciate the cooler temps. However, we still enjoy so much of what fall has to offer. From apple picking to pumpkin spice lattes, there are so many reasons to grab some boots and a scarf to head out to enjoy some of the best aspects of fall. This season is also a great time for your group to come together for team building activities. While the thought of snuggling up under a warm blanket and sipping hot cider sounds appealing, it is also important to build a strong bond with coworkers. As the #1 event organizer, Best Corporate Events can facilitate a team building event for any sized group. To get the most out of what fall has to offer, these events are fun, collaborative choices.

BEST Fall Programs

Chili Cook-Off

The cooler weather calls for a warm, hearty bowl of chili. Chili Cook-Off gives teams the opportunity to do just that while incorporating fun icebreakers and creative skills. A focus on teamwork and organization is key in this event. Each team designated Head chefs are at the start of the event to oversee the numerous tasks that occur simultaneously. Culinary ingenuity is put to work as each team develops, preps, and cooks their own chili recipe. 

For those whose skills are focused more on the arts, other duties include decorating their head chef’s apron and creating a presentation or jingle to showcase the distinct qualities of their team. Knowledge is put to the test as participants earn points for their team using Apple iPads® which deliver text, audio and video clues, chili trivia, and exciting gaming challenges. All your memories of this delicious event will be captured with photos and video of your teams in action. When the judging begins, scorecards will be utilized to award points based on creativity, presentation, and taste. One team will emerge triumphant as the reigning Chili Cook-Off Champions!

Chocolate Architect

Fall also brings another season- football! Chocolate Architect helps your group bond as they design and build various themed structures, including a stadium, utilizing candies and chocolate delicacies. Participants earn points for their team using Apple iPads® which deliver text, audio and video clues, chocolate trivia and exciting gaming challenges. Earned points are used to purchase a chocolate construction kit and special materials packages. Once structures are completed, final touches are added in the form of various colorful confectionaries. All your memories of this delicious event are captured with photos and video of your teams in action. To show off their team spirit, each team’s creative interpretation will be displayed for the entire group to enjoy.

Bears and Blankets

Warm your heart with a charity event program to donate to local kids in need. During Bears and Blankets, teams will stuff and decorate teddy bears, then swaddle them in a warm soft blanket. During the event, as teams earn points they will be choosing their bears and carefully stuffing them to huggable perfection. Bear-size t-shirts are skillfully designed and decorated by the artistic members of your group. Once the furry friends are created, they are dressed in their custom shirt for an identity all their own. The swaddling blankets help promote an added sense of security for the children receiving them. All finished items are then delivered to crisis centers and law enforcement agencies to distribute them to children who have experienced trauma. Best of all, a proud team of employees is uplifted knowing they helped children to know someone cares.

We Care for Schools 

Fall signals the beginning of the school year. We Care for Schools benefits local schools in dire need of supplies for the classroom and beyond. Teams participate in iPad activities, and photo and video challenges while assisting in filling bins with supplies for local classrooms in need. Common school items like pencils, paper, glue sticks, and first aid kits are frequently in short supply due to how quickly they deplete. A student who is well-equipped is a student who is more productive and focused. Unfortunately, creative programs in the classroom like art are the first impacted by budget cuts. Supplementing a supply of items like colored pencils, paintbrushes, and sketch pads are vital for fostering a creative outlet for students. This program is a great way to support the local teachers and administration so that they can focus on their valuable work of molding young minds. 

Fall has the trees bursting with color to signify change. Be sure your team is bursting with a sense of synergy with one of our team building activities. 

You’re Invited to a Holiday Party

This holiday season plan an unforgettable holiday party.  Holiday parties give your team the opportunity to both celebrate their achievements while also giving back. We offer 16 charitable give-back programs including Holiday Toy Donation. Teams will help children in need while boosting morale.

During the event, teams will rotate between different care stations assembling and wrapping children’s toys. Likewise, necessities are wrapped into small toy wagons and donated.  In the end, all of the memories of your team in action will be captured with photos and videos on Apple iPads we provide.

If you want to make a difference in the life of a child, forget the traditional office holiday party and plan a memorable activity. Your team is sure not to forget. The possibilities are endless. Even more, the outcome is always the same. A group of happy children and a proud team of employees!

Do you have your own great idea?

We love to collaborate and customize new ideas for your group. We will combine your ideas with our experience and expertise to design the perfect event for your group.  Contact us today to learn more about this program and others that may be perfect for your holiday gathering. We will help plan the perfect holiday gathering for your team!

June 21st marks the official 1st day of summer and summer isn’t complete without a backyard BBQ! July 4th is a perfect time to host your first bbq of the season. Coincidentally, July happens to be National Grilling Month. Did you know, they say grilled foods are known to be healthier than foods cooked on the stove or in the oven? When food is grilled it retains more of its vitamins and minerals compared to baking or frying.

If you are not an expert on the grill, but still need to bring a side dish to your next get together, consider some of these favorites. We asked members of our team at the Best Corporate Events office. What is your most famous barbeque side dish? Is there that one side item or appetizer your friends always want you to bring to their barbeque?

Our Favorites

Libby in sales recommends her Blondies for dessert. Check out the recipe below.

Blondies (using red, white, blue m&ms)
  • 2 sticks butter (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 (12 oz) bag of semi-chocolate chips
  • 1 (6 oz) bag of m&ms for on top of brownies

Preheat oven to 350 and spray 13×9 pan. Mix first five (5) ingredients in a bowl until creamy.  Then add remaining ingredients (except chips) – add chips after mixing flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread mixture in the pan.  Top mixture with the m&ms. Bake for 30-40 mins – taking out and shaking pan half-way through cooking.

Cathy our COO recommends her Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing.

Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed dressing
  • 1 16 oz spring greens (with spinach with desired)
  • 1 quart of strawberries, halved and sliced
  • 1 large can (15 oz) mandarin oranges
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced thin
  • Brianna’s Poppyseed dressing
Toss all ingredients together with dressing right before serving. You can also substitute or add peaches, blueberries.

Melissa in sales said her family loves these Red, White and Blue Double Berry Coconut Pops!

Red, White and Blue Double Berry Coconut Pops

  • 7 oz hulled fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped (about 1½ cups lightly packed chopped strawberries)
  • 3 packets powdered stevia, divided (more or less depending on how sweet your berries are; or you can use any sweetener you like)
  • 1 cup canned light coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries (thawed if frozen)

Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor with 1 packet stevia (you will get about 1 cup of strawberry liquid.) Pour about 2 tablespoons into each of 9 popsicle molds (it should fill each mold about ⅓ of the way; if you have extra, pour it into the 10th mold). Freeze this layer until solid, or nearly solid for a more “tie-dyed” look.

Jessica, our sales coordinator makes the best American Flag cake with blueberries and raspberries on top in the formation of the flag. Sandy in accounting is known amongst her friends for bringing the Hormel Chili Dip with Scoops. Karen in Sales says her friends can’t get enough of her Peanut Butter Brownies. (We are wondering when she is going to bring these into the office for us to try!) Mychelle our Production Manager said her BLT Pasta Salad is always a hit. Gina in Marketing loves to whip up some watermelon flavored margaritas for all her friends on a hot summer day. Hearing all these yummy recipes makes me question, why have we not had more potlucks in the office!?

Check out these fun facts about grilling.

  • 63% of the US population grills monthly.
  • 62% of Americans own an outdoor grill (63% gas grill; 51% charcoal grill).
  • The four foods grilled most often are #1 Hamburgers, #2 Steak, #3 Hotdogs, #4 Chicken.
  • The 4th of July is the largest grilling holiday, followed by Memorial Day, and Labor Day.

So whether you host your family, friends or co-workers, get the grill fired up this July 4th. And as a friendly reminder to be safe. Never leave your grill unattended and keep children and pets away from the grill for a delicious and safe grilling experience. Happy 4th!

source: https://luvafoodie.com/july-is-national-grilling-month/

Next Monday, May 27th, the nation will celebrate Memorial Day. Memorial Day is typically observed on the last Monday in May. Memorial Day was created in honor to remember those who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. It marks the start of summer and the kickoff to many outdoor activities for families and friends to enjoy together.

On Memorial Day weekend, cities across the country pause to remember those whose lives were lost. It’s estimated to be up over 6 million people. This number is an accumulation resulting from the numerous battles dating back to the Civil War.  

CSR Programs

Best Corporate Events offers an array of charitable give-back team building programs. Those which benefit individuals in need including veterans. One of our most popular CSR programs is Build-a-Wheelchair®.  This program is one of our corporate social responsibility programs born out of a desire to help American veterans and others with various mobility challenges. In this fun and worthwhile program, groups use teamwork skills and iPads® activities to earn the materials necessary to assemble, test and decorate these new wheelchairs for donation.

The wheelchairs will then be staged with your teams for a memorable photo shoot. When possible, a representative from the chosen charity will now make a surprise appearance, sharing information about their organization and the impact your donation will have on the recipients. The focal point of this CSR event is to benefit the countless people who, with your generous donation, will be gifted with these beautiful, brand new wheelchairs.

Although a somber memory, Memorial Day weekend is notorious for positive high points which have become great traditions over the years with events throughout the weekend. Here are just a few of the well-known activities that go on during Memorial Day weekend. Which of these weekend traditions do you look forward to the most?

Traditions

  1. Store Sales – Memorial Day weekend has become a staple weekend for many retailers to host one of their largest sales of the year.  If you have experienced a Labor Day or Black Friday sale, you most likely have been on the hunt for some of the greatest Memorial Day sales at your local retailers. Typically, the discounts tend to be a great saving on big-ticket items like mattresses and home appliances, but there are plenty of other opportunities to save on things you need and want around the home like clothing, electronics and beauty supplies.
  2. Backyard BBQs –  Hamburgers, hot dogs and all things patriotic are traditionally served on Memorial Day during BBQs with families and friends. Being a federal holiday, a majority of companies are closed and give their team the day off from work. This allows people an extra day to spend poolside, soaking up the sun’s rays and cooking up some delicious favorites on the BBQ.  You may notice the party decoration theme is that of red, white and blue, the colors of our nation’s flag. Many BBQ goers enjoy cooking up a festive dessert or appetizer platter that boasts the red, white and blue colors.
  3. Neighborhood Ceremonies and Parades – National Cemetery Administration host Memorial Day ceremonies at VA national cemeteries and local communities host parades across the country. Generally, a Veteran will be a guest speaker at the ceremony and speak to those being honored as well as veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Also, recognized are the surviving veterans’ families, prisoners of war and those missing in action.

For an interesting look at the numbers of soldiers who have died by war, check out this website. May we never forget these fallen soldiers.

Administrative Professionals Day

Wednesday, April 24, 2019, is an important time for businesses to appreciate and recognize the hard work of their support and administrative professionals. It’s known as #AdminProfessionalDay.

It’s a day to show your admin how grateful you are for them. Whether they keep you on track with business or personal deadlines, admins are valued by many managers. We hope you know how special you are!

Below are five ideas to help you celebrate Administrative Professionals Day:

1. Team building activities
Team building is a great idea if you’re rewarding a larger group of administrative professionals. From Culinary cookoffs to Charitable give-back program, there are many engaging and fun activities for your admins to participate in.

In addition to rewarding your employees with a fun activity outside of the office, team building activities can also help build confidence in employees and boost overall performance. On a larger level, these types of activities can grow a strong organizational culture. Employees develop deeper relationships and learn to work better with each other.

2. Time off
Your admins work hard, so why not reward them with a day off? You can even bring it up a notch and reward them with an afternoon at the movies, spa or mall. Most people enjoy a paid break to rest and reset.  Especially the incoming workforce, as it can help decrease stress levels.You can even extend the time off and offer a couple of paid vacation days. They can use to take a small trip somewhere with friends or family.

3. Personalized gift
Another excellent way to properly award your admins is to give them a personalized gift. Learn what your admin likes and dislikes. Talk with their co-workers to gain a better understanding of their favorites. Take time to get to know your admin better if you’re not exactly sure what they like.

In return, your admin won’t just appreciate the personalized gift, but be more motivated in their work.  They will know you value them and their skills.

4. Professional development
Not every admin will want a gift or time off. Some may actually want and would benefit from a professional training course or seminar. Have an informal one-on-one with your admins.  Discuss what skills they are looking to develop.  These skill can help them become more effective at their job or to help further their career. Then, once you have an idea of what they would like to develop, look for programs, seminars or workshops that they could attend.

In addition, at BEST, we offer many corporate training and professional development workshops. From time management to conflict resolution workshops, we can help your employees develop the necessary core competencies needed in today’s business environment.

5. Cater lunch
Lastly, consider rewarding admins with a catered lunch or treat them to lunch outside of the office. Talk with employees to learn what type of food they enjoy.  You can offer the perfect catered lunch.  You could also take your admins out for lunch.  This will show your gratitude for their hard work. Plus, employees will notice if you go the extra mile to make their Administrative Professionals Day special.

All in all, Administrative Professionals Day is an important one for businesses to celebrate and it’s vital that your admins be properly recognized and rewarded for their daily hard work and contribution.

Christmas is celebrated by people all around the world, in many different ways, and for some countries, the celebrations go beyond the one day. At various times throughout history the celebration of Christmas was banned due to its religious aspects, and in some countries, it is still forbidden. In England during 1644-1660 Oliver Cromwell put a stop to the observance of the day, and in America, the holiday was prohibited between 1659-1681. Christmas didn’t become an official holiday in America until 1870.

As the years have progressed the celebration of Christmas has become more secular and commercial, with the focus turning from the birth of Jesus to exchanging hordes of presents, decorating homes, eating candy canes and kissing under the mistletoe. And of course, we can’t forget the excitement of waiting for the arrival of Santa Claus. It may come as a surprise that many of today’s tried and true Christmas traditions have religious beginnings.

Santa Claus, Stockings, and Giving of Gifts

Santa Claus and his home in the North Pole are two Christmas staples. But who was Santa Claus? Where did he come from? The Santa Claus that is known and loved by many throughout the world is based on a bishop, Saint Nicholas, who lived during the 4th century.

Saint Nicholas lived in a city named Myra, which is part of modern-day Turkey, and he was known for his giving and generous heart. There are many stories told about him, one of the most famous ones is about a poor man with three daughters which explains where did stockings come from. The father had no money for the dowries for his daughters, resulting in little hope for them to ever get married.  It is believed that Nicholas dropped a bag of gold down the man’s chimney, and the bag fell into one of the daughter’s stockings that had been hung beside the fire to dry. Thus the tradition of hanging stockings beside the fireplace was born! From then on, whenever someone received a surprise gift, it was always assumed that Saint Nicholas had given it.

By the 1500s Saint Nicholas’ popularity began to wane, and for a time people tried to come up with other gift-givers, but nothing ever quite stuck. Eventually, different names began to be invented for the Saint. In the United Kingdom he became Father Christmas, in France Père Nöel, in other countries Christkind, and in early America, he was given the name of Kris Kringle which was an adaption from Christkind. For the Dutch settlers who came to America, they called him Sinterklaas, which gradually developed into today’s well-known name of Santa Claus.

In the 19th century, several writers helped to develop the story of Santa Claus. Washington Irving, the famed author of the Headless Horseman, first depicted Santa Claus as flying in the sky, but not in a sleigh, he wrote him flying in a wagon. Dr. Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem titled, “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” The poem became famous and is now better known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas” or “The Night Before Christmas.” This was the first appearance of Santa riding on a present-filled sleigh, and pulled by eight named reindeer.

Thomas Nast, a popular political cartoonist of the 1800s, first drew his version of Santa Claus in 1863. During 1879 to 1886 Nast drew Santa four times, depicting him living at the North Pole. It is believed that this is the first appearance of Santa having a North Pole residence. It wasn’t though until the 1880’s that he drew a picture of Santa Claus as a smiling, white-bearded, chubby old man, dressed in red long johns. Over the years the image of Nast’s jolly Santa became more and more popular in the United Kingdom and America, and it has become the staple for both countries.

Mistletoe

Mistletoe is a common decoration during the holiday season, as is kissing beneath it. The use of mistletoe began thousands of years ago with the Druids, but they did not kiss beneath it. Instead, they believed that it contained powers that could keep away evil and bring luck, so they used it to decorate their homes.

In Norse Mythology mistletoe represented love and friendship, and the act of kissing beneath it began in England, where a berry would be picked each time a kiss was given. Once there were no more berries, the kissing would come to an end.

Mistletoe comes from the Anglo Saxon words ‘mistel’ and ‘tan’, which can be translated to ‘poo on a stick’ because ‘mistel’ means dung and ‘tan’ means twig. Who wants a kiss?

The Christmas Tree

For thousands of years, evergreen trees have been used as decoration during the winter months, to help keep in mind that spring would soon be arriving. For Christians, the evergreen represented God’s everlasting life. When the trees were first used as a Christmas decoration is not entirely known. There are many different stories and speculations.

A woodcut engraving appeared in the Illustrated London News in 1848, titled “Christmas Tree at Windsor Castle.” It showcased the beloved and popular Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert standing with their family around a decorated Christmas tree, with gifts piled beneath it. From then on having a tree at Christmas time became a recurring tradition throughout the country.

In 1850 the original woodcut was slightly revamped before it was published in the American magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book; the Queen’s crown was removed as well as the Prince’s sash to make them look less like royals, and thus the Christmas tree tradition had arrived in America. A few years later, in 1856, the first Christmas tree appeared in the White House.

Candy Canes

The origins of the minty, hook-shaped and striped candy are not entirely known. There are only legends and theories. One of these legends takes place in Germany in the 1670s, where white sugar stick candy was supposedly given to choirboys to help keep them quiet during the Christmas ceremony.

The hooked shape was later added to represent the shepherd’s’ staff. The well-known stripes on the candy canes didn’t begin until the 1900s when the staple red was first introduced, as well as the famed peppermint flavor.

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