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What’s the value of Christmas decorations to your commercial building?


What’s the value of Christmas decorations to your commercial building?

By: Steve Sadler, CEO, Allegiancy

December 04, 2014

Rises in spending and employee morale can bring good cheer

In the Christmas spirit, we at Allegiancy hope you enjoy this collection of inspiring decorations from commercial buildings around the United States.

For the first time since the recession, many landlords of commercial office buildings are spending lavishly on holiday decorations, allocating more than $1 million per building in some cases, according to a recent New York Times article.

In particular, the Durst Organization, which owns several office towers across New York, including One World Trade Center, 1133 Avenue of the Americas, and 114 West 47th Street, has been working for more than a year on upgraded holiday decorations.   Helena Durst, vice president of the company, explained that the timing was right to rethink their office building holiday strategy.

Ms. Durst explained that the concept behind their enhanced holiday decorations is “hygge,” a Danish term meaning a sense of warmth, welcome and comfort that comes from sitting by a fire with friends during the dark Scandinavian winter.

While the business world has long acknowledged the importance of holiday decorations to attracting shoppers to retail buildings of all sizes, today, many non-retail businesses are also embracing holiday decorations for reasons along the lines of “hygge.”

Some business leaders believe that office Christmas decorations provide incentives, encouraging employees to come to work more during the holiday season.  They say a festive, fun environment enhances team-building, leading to greater unity in the workplace.

Following that motivational theory, Christmas decorations at the office can act as a reward for employees, making them feel valued for their contributions throughout the year.   Others say decorations foster a relationship between staff and “the company,” which ultimately can help lower turnover.

But in our litigious world, some of you may wonder, “What if my holiday decorations offend someone?”

Xmas-11In a recent article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, lawyer Karen Michael advised:  “Employers can get more mileage by decorating and making the workplace festive, than avoiding these activities for fears of complaints or lawsuits.”

Ms. Michael reminds us that as long as employees are not required to participate in religious activities, simply decorating and showing support for a holiday helps keep an office festive and does not violate Title VII.

As the asset manager for millions of square feet of office space around the country, I believe that Christmas decorations can be a low-cost, high-impact way to boost morale and create a greater sense of community at work.

But for me, the reasons to decorate are more personal than increased sales or productivity.   I love beautiful things — they make me smile.  When I see lights on a Christmas tree or building, it calls to mind all of the best things in our society:  generosity, compassion, caring and sharing with others.  When I think of those things, I am reminded of the Light of the World, Who came to earth.  And that really is worth celebrating!



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