Creating a bond with our colleagues is a recipe for quality employee engagement. Global employee engagement survey giant Gallup even emphasises that having a best friend at work creates a healthy workplace environment.
Similarly, Inc Magazine shared statistics from LinkedIn noting that millennial employees are 57 per cent happier if they have a mate at work, 50 per cent more motivated and have 39 per cent higher productivity, too!
If your colleague is about to take off on parental leave, host a corporate farewell party or pre-baby shower at work to show them how much you value them, and build friendships and networks for life.
'Guess the baby' photo board game
This tends to be a popular game in offices. Pin up baby pictures of the staff to a corkboard and create a voting game for party guests to guess which baby grew into their colleague. Sure to incite laughter for inaccurate guesses, this is a great bonding exercise and well-suited to the theme of a maternity party.
Instead of a corkboard, you could also host the game in a meeting room and project the images onto a screen.
Gifts for the parent-to-be
For a female colleague, a gift package or hamper to cater to her needs as a soon-to-be mum is a touching gesture. As for a male colleague about to partake or parental leave, fun gifts for the baby are a smart plan of action. If the gender of the baby is known and it's a boy, the adorable My First Footy Cake will hopefully put a smile on his face.
Gender neutral or unisex baby gifts are also an option, such as the On Cloud Nine giftpack including a romper, muslin wrap and blanket. This is a good gift to present as a group or as a team/department, as each member can sign the included greeting card with a personalised message.
Catering for a shared lunch
Serving snack foods such as sausage rolls, cake pops, small sandwiches or mince pies and a variety of non-alcoholic beverages is a sure-fire way to bring a festive atmosphere. Virgin cocktails served in classy mason jars with fresh fruits muddled into the mixture are a delicious treat.
Speeches and presentations are commonplace in the corporate world, but use those public speaking and communication skills to thank the employee about to embark on their parental leave. They will appreciate your kind words are remember them even when they return to the office in due course.