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5 Best Escape Rooms in Orange County [Updated for 2018]

Nearly two years ago I shared my thoughts on the top 5 Best Escape Rooms in Orange County.  What was a rising hip trend has become a fully fledged recreation industry complete with die hard enthusiasts.  You don’t have to be a Sherlock Holmes to enjoy an escape room, they’ve become a popular social activity for all groups.  With their sudden prevalence it can difficult to choose which room is right for you, especially if you’re new to the game.  I’ve sifted through the legions of escape rooms and have determined my top 5, all of which have a unique excellence that makes them worth checking out.

It’s no secret that we at Firefly Team Events love escape rooms. With so many rooms to choose from it can be daunting picking the right room for your team. With the help of my fellow escapees I compiled a short list of my favorite escape rooms in Orange County. I consider theming, creativity of puzzles, difficulty and overall entertainment value. If a room sparks your interest I encourage you to check it out, let them know who sent you and see if you can beat our time!

Read our blog on how to make escape rooms more meaningful for corporate groups http://fireflyteamevents.com/escape-rooms-corporate-team-building/

1. Red Lantern Escape Rooms – “Midnight on the Bayou”

First of all, this room design is gorgeous.  Utilizing a whopping 1,000 square feet, the crew at Red Lantern completely transport you to a sultry Bayou evening.  In a market saturated with prison breaks and cramped rooms it’s refreshing to visit an expansive, immersive environment that wouldn’t be out of place in Disneyland.  The creativity doesn’t stop with the set design, even veteran players will enjoy the unique puzzles and well crafted storyline.

2. Mission Escape Games – “Escape the Hydeout”

Speaking of Disneyland, right across the street at Anaheim’s Gardenwalk, Mission Escape Games hosts “Escape the Hydeout” which is as clever as its wordplay suggests.  Inspired by the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, teams must follow clues left by Jekyll before Hyde returns.  I enjoy the reference to literature other than Sherlock Holmes, but the real place this room shines is the puzzles and clue system.  Often rooms might brag they are “hard”, but the difficulty is just due to complete leaps of logic.  In Hydeout, the puzzles and use of tech are extremely creative and sideways thinking, but nowhere near impossible.  The staff do a great job when giving hints, not ruining the puzzle, but guiding your thought process so you still get that great “aha!” moment.

>>>Want To Work With Professional Facilitators? Try our Team Escape!<<<

3. Crossroads Escape Games – “The Fun House”

I’ve already sang my praises for Crossroad’s Hex Room, which I believe is still one of the best rooms out there.  I was hesitant to check out The Fun House because a super creepy looking clown looms over its entrance and after being scared in the Hex I was not about to subject myself to an hour trapped with the most horrifying creatures on the planet.  Well, I feel sheepish to admit it, but the Fun House is not only light hearted fun with no scariness in sight, it’s actually the best room for kids in the county.  Most escape rooms have age limits starting around 10, but the Fun House welcomes all ages as long as anyone under 13 has a grown up with them.  You’d think in a room fit for kids the puzzles would be overly simple and obvious, but I found that they were actually enjoyable for adults as well.  The room isn’t overly difficult, it’s escape rate is a comforting 40% so I recommend it especially for new players.

4. Escapade Games – “Zoe”

There’s some strong overlap between the escape room and haunt industries.  Nowhere is this influence more prevalent than with Escapade Game’s room “Zoe”.  The difficulty rating is set to Medium, but in order to escape you not only have to keep your wits in solving the clues, you’ll need to literally stop yourself from running out of the room in terror.  Seriously, they keep a tally board of teams that do this.  Throughout the game you’ll be able to travel through several immersive environments, similar to a maze at a horror event.  In order to concentrate on your clues you’ll need to take them with you to a place of safety…if that feeling is possible to achieve in such a scary place.  Many horror rooms can come off as cheesy, community theatre actors grunting in imitations of chained zombies, but Zoe has all the production value of a Hollywood thriller.

5. Unlocked – “Return of the Magician”

Escape rooms don’t all have to have elaborate sets or flashy technology to be a good experience.  When completing Unlocked’s “Return of the Magician”, you’ll repeatedly experience surprise and appreciation for the well crafted, intuitive puzzles and how well they fit the storyline.  Magic is always fun and Unlocked gives you a glimpse into the workings of several magician’s tricks leaving you feeling like a cool insider.  They also aren’t afraid to be silly, so you’ll get to expect laughter, not screams from this venue.

Escape Rooms Tips for Newbies

When your team is ready to try out an escape room make sure to be clear about the facility’s policies. Some rooms are a flat rate for the hour, while others are a per person charge which could lead to being partnered with strangers. Plan to have dinner or hit the bar after your escape since your team will want to talk about the experience. If you want to use the outing as a team building tool consider hiring a team building professional that can facilitate a debrief of your time and help your team examine how they solved the problems together. Remember that escape rooms can be stressful which may cause individuals to speak shortly to one another. If your team is stressing out have everyone take a breath. It’s meant to be fun!

As the industry develops we see lots of room types become available.  Experiences vary dramatically between fun kid’s jaunts to terrifying houses of horror. To have an escape room style experience brought to your office or convention contact us about our Team Escape! by emailing events@fireflyteamevents.com

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Everything You Need To Know For Your Huntington Beach Conference

Planning to attend the 19th Annual International Lung Cancer Congress at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach from July 26-28, 2018? Have you and your group finalized your accommodations, places to see, and things to do? As a team building event company based in Huntington Beach, we’re confident that we can steer you in the right direction. Read on about experiencing the best that “Surf City, USA” has to offer during your Huntington Beach Conference.

FireFly Iron Team ChallengeTeam Building To-dos in Huntington Beach

Before we give you the 411 on the best places to stay and see in Huntington Beach during the 19th Annual International Lung Cancer Congress, what about the best things to do? Namely, the best things to do with your group of colleagues coming to the conference together? Lucky for you, dear reader, you’re looking at the greatest team building company the world has ever known (ahem) AND we’re based in Huntington Beach. Check out these team building event options our team can produce for your team to help boost camaraderie, morale, and FUN during your time in Huntington Beach.

Sandcastle Build

Sunshine, sand and water are the secret ingredients for this amazing team building event. To match the day’s theme, your team will create the ultimate sand sculpture or building. Our sculpting lesson will show you how to wet pack sand, carve, and build bigger, taller sand masterpieces. Before we set you loose on the beach, teams will be need to complete a team challenge to earn their tools. Judges will be looking for creativity, height, detail, and how well your team used the theme. Who are the Creatives on your team? the Managers? the Builders? You’ll need them all if your team is going to win!

Iron Team Challenge

Face off in a series of crazy FUN team building challenges inspired by the television show, Survivor. As your team rotates through challenge stations, they’ll have chances to earn points toward the final showdown; a little thing we call THE GAUNTLET. Along the way, they’ll have to embrace team concepts like Trust, Communication, and Leadership if they want to win. All the way through, you’ll be laughing, goofing, and high-fiving. The Iron Team Challenge is the perfect event for competitive groups!

Huntington Beach ConferencePlaces to Stay in Surf City, USA

Paséa Hotel & Spa

The Paséa Hotel & Spa is modern, clean and California coastal chic. It’s just steps from Huntington Beach Pier and adjacent to Pacific City, an outdoor shopping center with trendy retail and dining. We think it’s the perfect home base to explore the local area when you’re not at the conference. The Paséa even has some quirky and fun perks for your stay. We love the free use of their beach cruiser bicycles. Or try out the “Beach Butlers” who provide pedi-cab rides to and from the beach and also help with setting up your day on the sand and surf.

The Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort

Next door to the Paséa, The Waterfront Beach Resort is another contemporary coastal property in Huntington Beach with stunning ocean views. They recently completed impressive resort expansion on a new tower of suites, rooftop bar and restaurant. It’s location along Pacific Coast Highway allows you easy access to 10 miles of the pristine shoreline and surrounding attractions. With a chilled out beach vibe that caters equally to business and leisure travelers, the Waterfront Beach Resort is a great choice for those seeking laidback luxury during their conference stay.

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa

Rounding out our favorite Surf City coastal hotel properties is the grand dame (and actual Huntington Beach conference location), the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa. It’s a sprawling resort property that’s luxurious but not pretentious. They cater to everyone from business travelers to families. There are many on-site activities from bike rentals to surf lessons. And when you’re ready to explore outside the expansive resort, a direct walking path from the hotel to the beach.

Huntington Beach ConferencePlaces to See in Surf City, USA

Huntington Beach Pier

The historic Huntington Beach Pier is one of the longest public piers on the West Coast and the most photographed spot in the city. It’s the main landmark of Surf City, USA and symbolizes the city’s prominent beach culture. A simple stroll on the pier is a popular pastime for both locals and visitors with frequent people watching opportunities provided by the nearby surfers and sport fishing all along the pier. Cap off your stroll with a burger and milkshake at the classic Ruby’s Diner at the end of the pier to provide sustenance for your walk back!

Beaches of Huntington Beach

Did you know that Huntington Beach is actually made up of five distinct beaches that come together to create 10 miles of uninterrupted coast line? There are beaches that cater to couples, families, surfers, and even dogs. There are volleyball courts and bonfire pits dotted along the sand for you to enjoy along with the endless year-round summer weather. A paved bike trail also runs along the oceanfront, perfect for individuals on beach cruisers or a group of friends or a family on a surrey bike to take in the fresh ocean air.

Pacific City

Pacific City is just a few years old but already the epicenter of shopping, dining, and entertainment in the heart of Huntington Beach. It has some of the best views of the ocean, pier, and beach action just on the other side of Pacific Coast Highway. The shopping and dining choices are modern, on-trend, and with a distinct West Coast beach vibe. Make sure to check out LOT 579, the modern food hall within Pacific City, full of some of the most innovative eateries in Orange County. This California culinary experience is a must for all foodies visiting from the conference.

We’ll Produce Epic Team Building Events at Your Huntington Beach Conference and Beyond

We’ve seen the inside of countless hotels, boardrooms, conference centers , felt the grass at parks and sand at beaches in almost every major city. We utilize our key operations staff combined with trusted local talent to deliver 5-star customer service. Additionally, we love the challenge of creating custom events and meeting the unique needs of our clients. Contact us at 877.267.1939 or email events@fireflyteamevents.com to plan a corporate team building event with us to coincide with your next conference attendance!

culinary team building

Food Fight! A Culinary Team Building Event

When Genmark Diagnostics approached us about creating a custom team building event involving a cooking competition with a “fighting” theme, we knew it was the perfect opportunity to get our culinary creativity on. We came up with an epic fight of the food trucks culinary team building competition that took place at the beautiful Laguna Cliffs Marriott. Team competed to create unique food truck concepts and signature entree dishes. The food trucks and dishes all had to have a “fighting” theme.

culinary team buildingEach team conceptualized, prepared, plated and served a unique dish featuring a secret ingredient. They were also responsible for wowing the judges with a 1-minute presentation featuring life size renditions of their food truck designs.

We started the event by having all teams compete in an initial food-related challenge. How they placed in the challenge determined their order when it was time to choose their secret ingredient.

Once each team had their secret ingredient, the real cooking battle began. Each cooking station had the same core assortment of ingredients.  But as teams cooked, we gave them mini challenge competitions to earn “marketing dollars.” The money earned was used to purchase additional seasonings, food, and food truck marketing swag from our Marketplace Store.culinary team building

Our judges looked for flavor, presentation, and creativity in both the entree and food truck design for the winning team!

Between the presentation, the dish, and the challenges, there was something for everyone to do and each person on the team contributed to the overall success. Excellence in the kitchen requires strong communication, creativity, and the ability to remain cool under pressure. The need for these skills is also mirrored in the workplace. Does your team have what it takes to win?

culinary team buildingJoin us in the kitchen for culinary team building!

We’re so ready for the next food fight! We love getting creative and giving food for thought to design custom events. Fill out our website form or contact us directly: events@fireflyteamevents.com.

 

 

Outrigger Canoe Team Building – Out-paddle the Competition!

outrigger canoe team buildingAloha! Last week we gathered with TYR Sport in Long Beach to enjoy a sunset paddle for our Outrigger Canoe Team Building Race event. Participants were treated to a brief lesson on the history of outrigger canoeing in California and a hands-on lesson in paddling. Then it was into the canoes for the tournament!

Our experienced na ho‘okele (steerers) captained each canoe and urged the teams to huki (paddle fast)! Their expertise was welcome since outrigger canoes are much more difficult to navigate than regular boats. Outrigger canoes require synchronicity and communication between teammates. Hence, outrigger racing is perfect for team building! If crews are able to work together they can get their vessels cutting quickly through the waves. Their speed when manned by a cohesive team invokes the memory that these canoes were once used as powerful war vehicles.

outrigger canoe team buildingHere in California, outrigger racing has been a popular sport since 1959. That’s when we held the inaugural race from Orange County to Avalon, Catalina and back. FireFly’s race is much shorter, spanning a football field’s length of sheltered channel. Crews gathered on the sand to cheer on the other teams and await their turn to compete. Soon the instructors shouted “HO‘OMAKAUKAU!” meaning “get ready!” Team members piled into the canoes and set off for the starting line. The chase boat followed along, directing the participants and transporting yours truly to get the best action shots of our athletes. Crews chanted to keep rhythm like dancers or drill sergeants “One, two, one, two!” I think singing Moana songs would have been equally effective. We held many heiheis (races) until we ultimately crowned the victor.

The winners showed off their medals as the sun sank below the horizon. The event was equal parts exhilarating and tranquil. The thrill of physical competition was complimented by the peaceful protected bay and gorgeous weather. Our participants worked up a hearty appetite and certainly deserved the dinner that they headed off to as they outrigger canoe team buildingtraded stories of the day.

Outrigger Canoe Team Building with FireFly Team Events

If your team is up for an adventure, contact us to schedule your own Outrigger Canoe Race and learn the ho‘owala‘au wa‘a (canoe lingo).

Winter Olympics Team Building

Let the games begin.

The XXXIII Winter Olympic Games will begin next month. So that means it’s perfect timing for an Olympics team building event for you and your office team!

Here in Southern California, we pretty much win at the weather lottery year round. So even our winter months are great times for an outdoor beach Olympics. The series of challenges featured in our beach Olympics bring out both the fierce and the fun in all participants. Smaller teams are created and compete head to head in physical challenges. Most importantly, the challenges are adapted directly from actual team building concepts designed to get teams thinking, talking, and working together.

Maybe outdoor Olympics is not your thing? We still have you covered with fast paced team competition indoors. Our Minute Madness is our team-based take on the popular game Olympics team buildingshow, Minute to Win It. Each of the 1-minute challenges are wacky and hilarious, yet bring out the competitive spirit in everyone. And we always have a purpose to the fun. In Minute Madness’ case, we designed the fun to focus on full team participation. We also cover concepts like dynamic problem solving, communication, and relationship building.

Once all points are tallied, we bring the Olympics flair even ’til the end by awarding the top team with a medal ceremony for the ages. Maybe you really want to get into the theme? An opening ceremony, parade of the nations, and torch lights are totally all options! Whether you stage the competition indoors or out this Winter Olympics season, you’re honoring your employees’ accomplishments by getting them out of the office and encouraging their engagement.

We’re pros at producing Olympics team building competitions!

Go for the gold this winter by getting in touch with us to help plan your team Olympics event. Fill out a website contact form, email us directly at events@fireflyteamevents.com, or call 877.267.1939!

CSR Team Building: Chemo Care Kits

Our 2017 year end holiday season was a popular time for our corporate social responsibility, or CSR team building events. These “giveback” team building events are different from our other team building event offerings.  Doing good in the community is a key component in addition to activities that unify and bond a team.

In fact, CSR programming is quickly becoming a corporate element that is of high priority to the Millenials who are today’s dominant workforce. TalentMap recently published an article about the connection between CSR and employee engagement. In it, they cited an observation in the Global Workforce Study conducted by Tower Perrins:

“One thing is increasingly clear. It’s not a choice any longer. Your employees expect it, and your company needs it. It is in fact linked to how well your employees perform. In other words, CSR extends to the bottom line.”

CSR team buildingGiven this growing body of evidence that Millenials want to work for organizations where similar values are shared, the holidays proved to be a perfect time for corporate employee groups to come together and play an active role in the season of giving. One of those corporate groups was our client JM Eagle, headquartered in Los Angeles, CA.

The team at JM Eagle was passionate about putting together chemotherapy care kits for local cancer patients in need of a pick-me-up. But with our CSR style team building events, we don’t just hand over supplies and say, “build.” Teams would be done in minutes! CSR team buildingInstead, we create lightly competitive and fast-paced team events to keep all participants on their toes and fully engaged. JM Eagle completed rounds of team challenges to earn each item that went into the chemotherapy care kits.

We also made sure to truly humanize the activity. We gave all participants an opportunity to create a uplifting personalized card to accompany each assembled chemotherapy care kit.

Chemotherapy is an unpleasant constant in the life of a cancer survivor. It’s nauseating, debilitating, yet a necessary evil. Every item placed in our chemotherapy care kit served a purpose. Sensitive lotion to soothe dry skin. Oral rinses to combat dry mouth. Ginger candies to help ease nausea. Activities to pass the time while receiving treatment.CSR team building

CSR Team Building with FireFly Team Events

Are you ready to ramp up your company’s CSR efforts in 2018? Show your employees that they work for a company that cares about how it contributes to society! Check out all our CSR team building options here.

post-holiday slump

How to Bust a Post-holiday Slump at the Office

The holidays are fun of activities like cooking, parties, shopping, traveling and other happy yet often stressful activities.

“As joyous as they can be, the stress and expectations associated with the holidays can overwhelm us and switch our brains into overdrive,” clinical psychologist Brett Kennedy told Greatist.

This means that workers can head back to the office on January 2nd emotionally and mentally depleted. In other words, your team members may head back to work with the post-holiday blues. Mix that with a backlog of work after time off during the holiday and productivity and morale in your office could suffer.

Don’t worry, there are ways you can help your office beat the post-holiday slump with grace and ease.

Get Ahead of the Post-holiday Slump

Helping a post-holiday slump can start with an ounce of prevention. For example, you can ask your employees to truly take a break and  leave work at the office during any time off. This can help them feel rested and ready to work when they return. You can also set up expectations for a lighter, post-holiday work week with fewer meetings and deadlines so everyone can get on top of holiday backlog without feeling overwhelmed.

Tidy Up the Office

An easy way to feel refreshed and energized is a good tidying up. Schedule an hour or two for an office-wide desk purge where people can clean and organize their desks and files. Make dust wands and cleaning wipes readily available for extra encouragement. You can also organize unwanted items into bins for easy coworker perusal. After all, Jane might be ditching the pens that John loves to use! If there any unopened office supplies or used electronic items in good condition, donate them to a local Goodwill.

Focus on Office Wins

You can stop gloomy office energy in its tracks if you take some time to focus on office wins. Meet with each department and point out how that team contributes to the company’s goals and why their work matters. You can focus on recent department wins or overall team strengths, but make sure you’re specific in your praise. If you’re not a manager, you can still tell fellow team members what you appreciate about them. There’s nothing like a confidence boost to spark renewed energy for your work.

Start an In-office Wellness Challenge

After weeks of parties and rich foods, getting back to routine and healthier habits can do energy-boosting wonders for productivity. A post-holiday wellness challenge might be just what your office needs to get started. Here are some easy, at-work activities you can include in your office challenge:

  • Take the stairs
  • Eat a healthy snack
  • Bring lunch from home
  • Take a walk at lunch
  • Bike to work
  • Meditate for 15 minutes
  • Stretch for 15 minutes
  • Use a stand-up desk

Announce an Activity or Event

Sometimes we get the blues when we have nothing to look forward to. Just after the holiday break, announce an activity or event for your staff to look forward to in the coming weeks. The activity can be as easy as a relaxing afternoon at the movies or a catered lunch at the office. Or you can go whole hog and plan a fun team building event to energize and bond the whole office.

Luckily, we know just who you can turn to when you plan your next team building event. Check out our team building event options to get started or contact us at 877.267.1939 or james@fireflyteamevents.com.

How to Win at Giving Corporate Holiday Gifts

You have a great team working with you and you want to give your staff the best company holiday present ever. Corporate holiday gifts can be hard to get right, juggling sentimentality with practicality.  You’ll notice a lot of my suggestions come from crowd sourcing sites.  By supporting a campaign, not only do you score a new to the market cool present for your staff, but you’re also promoting innovation which will help your team on their way to becoming creative powerhouses.  So toss out the boring standbys, I’ve got some great ideas for corporate holiday gifts to put in your manager Santa hat.

3-D Pens

corporate holiday gifts

For the staffer that loves desk knickknacks, give them the pen that allows them to create their own.  If your staff doodle on the edges of memos during meetings, unleash their creativity by allowing them to draw in three dimensions!  These pens have surged in popularity this year so the prices have dropped, making this dream item actually affordable.  Not to mention, getting a must have toy from work is really cool.

Digital Pin

corporate holiday gifts

Be super hip with this digital accessory that allows you to display images and animated GIFs on a wearable.  Your swag game will reach a new level as the company Pins Collective runs a companion app where you can make your own designs and share them with the online community.  You could even create company designs for staff to show off their office pride.

Tile Mate

corporate holiday gifts

The savior of productivity.  Give your brilliant but slightly absent minded staff member this Bluetooth chip that can attach to anything- keys, phone, purse.  Your team will be grateful they never have to spend time looking for things again.  This also works as a great theft recovery device.  I would use it on my stapler that tends to get borrowed and never returned…

DIY Robots

corporate holiday gifts

There are a lot of robotics kits out there.  What makes the robots from Spanish company Emme great is their simplicity.  These robots require no cables, soldering, or coding on the user’s part.  They make technology accessible to everyone.  They’re extremely durable, able to traverse streets, off road, even under water.  Expect to see these little guys cruising through the office well into Spring.

Augmented Reality Headset

corporate holiday gifts

Augmented reality is the next big thing in tech.  Silicon Valley has been playing with it for years, but it hasn’t become consumer friendly yet.  I’m not recommending you go out and buy Google HoloLenses for your staff, unless you have a hidden treasure trove you’re pulling from.  Instead check out the Aryzon Headset.  It uses your smart phone and its lens technology display 3-D digital images superimposed on reality.  Life looks more like a sci-fi movie every day.

Company Swag

corporate holiday gifts

Your business is awesome and your staff are proud to work there. Gift them a quality sweater or stationary set that’s been customized with your work logo.  Lots of websites offer this service, but my favorite is Clove & Twine because of the quality of their items.

Hometown Candles

corporate holiday gifts

Some staff often need to relocate to work for amazing companies like yours.  People tend to miss home around the holidays, so thank your team for their sacrifice with Homesick Candles.  Each candle is scented to reflect the unique smells of different states.  For instance if you have a staffer that moved from Utah their candle would smell like cedar, sandalwood and cinnamon.  I love that they made different candles for Northern California and Southern California to reflect their different personalities.

MoviePass

corporate holiday gifts

The top of my personal holiday wishlist, movie pass is a subscription service that allows you to see a movie in theaters every day.  Keep your team culturally relevant and give them something to chat about around the watercolor.

Home Away From Home

corporate holiday gifts

The home automation market is exploding this year with Alexa and Google Home.  The Elf Smart Plug works with those systems allowing users to control their house even when they’re not there.  Great for giving staff peace of mind while working overtime, users can switch on lights, adjust their A/C, even set their DVRs to record a show they don’t want to miss.

Staff Outing Corporate Holiday Gifts

More and more people are valuing experiences over possessions.  Gift your team a special outing during which they can socialize and let their hair down.  From simple dinners to exotic travel, staff will enjoy getting to know one another in a different setting and you’ll learn a lot about their personalities.  Check out some of our team bonding events for ideas.

Whatever you gift your employees this season do it with good cheer and generosity of spirit.  We spend more time with our coworkers than our families so the holidays is a great time to bring your team together.  If you want to share the goodwill throughout your community, contact us to help plan a philanthropic giveback event or kick awesome holiday party for you.

holiday employee wellness

How To Promote Holiday Employee Wellness

Working long hours to meet deadlines is often the norm in many offices these days. But when you add holiday stress to the mix, your team members could be ripe for a not so holly-jolly Christmas. The good news is that we’re here to help with some simple ways to foster holiday employee wellness in your office. Remember, a happy and healthy employee is a more productive employee. So making the season a little more merry and bright through holiday employee wellness is good for them and your business.

Organize In-house Flu Shots.

Even if all your team members have insurance, taking the time to run an extra errand for a flu shot may be a deal breaker with everything else on their plates. Many pharmacies will happily make arrangements for flu shots at your office. Offer to cover costs for uninsured or part-time employees to make sure everyone in your office stays healthy this season.

Plan a Casual Social Gathering.

An official office holiday party may have its own stressors, but an informal holiday social during office hours may help your employees decompress. Make it a mix and mingle affair with light snacks and festive drinks. The point of the gathering should be casual, work-free socializing, so this may not be the best venue for speeches or presentations.

Provide Healthy Snacks.

Everywhere you turn during the holidays there are cookies, cakes, nogs, alcohol, and a number of other sugary treats. We would never suggest not having treats during the holiday season, but it’s refreshing to have healthy options. Fruit, veggies, and snack bars are just as easy to grab as that gingerbread man in the break room that has been giving you come hither looks. It’s always better to have a burst of work energy that doesn’t end in a sugar crash at 3 p.m.

Promote Physical & Mental Holiday Employee Wellness.

Helping employees access self-care during the holidays — both physical and mental — can truly be a lifeline for those who are experiencing burnout, loneliness, or other stressors during the holidays. Get ideas from or add to your current employee wellness programs to help your team members feel immediately engaged. Here are more ideas to help you get started:

  • Offer an in-house yoga class.
  • Hire a masseuse for a day.
  • Hire an in-house counselor for the season.
  • Lead daily 15-minute meditations.
  • Temporarily increase established wellness incentives.
  • Give out step counters.
  • Plan a special holiday fitness challenge.

Enforce a “Closing Time.”

If it works for your business, give the gift of an enforced “closing time” to your office throughout the holiday season or for a few days leading up to each holiday. Telling team members that everyone is going home at 5 p.m. will ease pressures to burn the midnight oil during this busy time of year. Ask team members to reach out or step up to help with timely projects during the holidays. Doing so will encourage teamwork as well.

Contact us at james@fireflyteamevents.com or 877.267.1939 to learn how periodic team building events outside of your office can be an effective part of your company’s overall employee wellness efforts.

office Thanksgiving

Thanks & Giving: How To Celebrate An Office Thanksgiving

‘Tis the season to say thanks and encourage giving – Thanksgiving, get it? Therefore, it should probably include the employees you spend at least 40 hours a week with. Sure, as a boss you are thankful for your team’s efforts all year, but an office Thanksgiving time is the perfect time to make that even clearer to each employee. But thanking would be nothing without giving and vise versa. So check out the list below for five ways to say “thank you” that easily flip into five giving activities for your team.

Thanks: Personalized Notes

If your team is small, go the extra mile and give hand-written notes to each team member. For larger teams or several departments, emails work too. Whatever method you choose, make your note personal to the individual or the group. Thank them for their specific contributions and how they impacted the company.

Giving: “Secret Santa” Thank Yous

A leader’s gratitude is important, but knowing your coworkers appreciate your work is an extra boost to team value and morale. Pick names from a hat and ask employees to  give an anonymous thank you note to the person he or she picked. Encourage them to point out specific employee strengths or accomplishments.

 

Thanks: Special Team Lunch

Whether you order in pizza or make reservations at a sit-down restaurant, a team lunch is a great way to show appreciation. And remember, no one is allowed to work through it! Plan to say a few words of thanks, and make sure to include specific team accomplishments.

Giving: Food Bank Volunteering

Now that your employees are fed, help them feed the community. Organize a time when your team can volunteer at a food bank, community garden, or any other organization that needs a few extra helping hands.

 

Thanks: Team-specific Swag

Make something special that holds meaning for your team. The team motto or the go-to motivational phrase you say in every meeting will look swell on a t-shirt, mug, or water bottle. Whatever you do, don’t give away leftover swag that you give away at conferences or to clients.

Giving: Clothing & Food Drive

Identify a specific shelter or organization in your community and hold a clothing or food drive for its benefit. Increase the fun factor by setting goals for your team. Some ideas can be gathering 100 pounds of food or filling 20 backpacks with schools supplies for children in need.

 

Thanks: Prize Giveaway

Thank-you prizes in a company drawing can vary in size and value, so you don’t have to break the bank to say thank you. From $5 gift cards to extra PTO, each employee can win something that shows you appreciate their efforts.

Giving: Employee Service Auction

Each of your employees has talents and abilities that aren’t always seen in the workplace. Give your team play money for the auction and ask them to auction off services to each other such as homemade baked goods, a free car wash, and babysitting services. They’ll bond through giving to each other.

 

Thanks: Ease Work Blockers

As a form of thanks, ask your employees what their biggest blockers are as a team. There may be a process you can overhaul or a tool you can acquire to help ease their stressors. Your team may need something simple that they didn’t know they could ask for.

Giving: Ease Community Blockers

Ask your employees what is important to them in their personal communities and organize a way to help. Someone may want to run a 5K for a relative with an illness or hold a holiday event for children in need in their community. As a bonus, extending care to your team’s home communities can help give better sense of work-life balance.

Office Thanksgiving Beyond the Holidays

To find more ideas for team building events during the holidays and beyond, check out our full list of team building products or contact us at james@fireflyteamevents.com.