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27 Sep, Sunday
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LANDESK Turns Halloween into Frightfully Good Team-Building

South Jordan—Where some see a holiday most associated modernly with kids dressing up in costumes and taking candy from strangers, LANDESK sees an opportunity for team-building and morale-boosting.

Many companies celebrate Halloween with their workforce, but LANDESK’s party takes it to an entirely different level with each department decorating their floor in a highly detailed theme that takes months of secret meetings to plan. The result is a company-wide bash with a little friendly competition that employees and their families alike look forward to yearly.

“I’ve been here 13 years and this is the biggest production that we do. But allowing us to be creative and goof off like this just makes it fun. It’s a great place to work,” said Nephi Wolfe, technical account manager. “These activities just make it so enjoyable. I received three emails this week about people just talking about how much their families enjoy it and how grateful they are that we get to do this. I’m helping to coordinate the support floor. A lot of people really enjoy it. Their families come. It’s a great place to work.”

One department had transformed their cubicles into an undersea wonderland perfect for finding Nemo or Dory, while another’s looked like it had come straight out of Toy Story, complete with Andy’s room and Pizza Planet. On another floor, the financial department soared with the London skyline, a forest for lost boys, a mermaid lagoon, pirate ship and teepees fit for Indian warriors. Visitors could also tour Jurassic Park (with only a few carnivorous dinosaurs on the loose), and hit boxes for coins and race in a department that looked like it came straight out of a Mario game. A good old-fashioned spook alley, appropriate for kids of all ages, rounded out the decorations.

Preparations stretch months in advance, with some of the earliest planning happening mere weeks after Halloween. When Craig Shipley, senior facilities director, started at the company last May, he was recruited to help his department plan their Toy Story display.

“When we started our meetings … it was this super secret email marked CONFIDENTIAL, with the stars and everything. Confidential, super-secret meeting. They locked the door to the conference room and they talked all quiet, and nobody took notes. I was like ‘Don’t you want to remember?’ ‘No—what if somebody sees it?’ I was like, are you serious with me? It’s super secret. For us, at least,” he said.

As extreme as that might be, he said, the camaraderie that comes with planning, and with helping others with their last-minute preparations, helps to create a more cohesive work environment the rest of the year.

“What I’ve seen recently is, I’ve been bouncing around the floors helping find things and stuff, and typically in a company like this, people are silo-ed. You don’t talk to people not in your department or on your floor. Here, people are working together, they’re looking for ideas and suggestions and helping each other out. Just this morning, there was people from the 5th floor help people from the 4th floor hang stuff up. It just brings people together,” he said. “It creates a work environment unlike anything I’ve been a part of anywhere. It really truly brings the employee to the forefront of what they do and how they operate. It’s pretty cool.”

LANDESK also celebrates other holidays—albeit not quite so dramatically as Halloween—but employees said the company had mastered a kind of work hard/play hard balance. Kelly Owens, senior accountant, said that balance also applies to daily work and real life for both managers and employees.

“They recognize that we’re real people that have lives and stuff. If I need to go take care of [something], it’s like ‘OK, go ahead. As long as your work’s done.’ They’re willing to let you take care of things that are a priority for you outside of work. And then, of course, there’s times where you need to stay late to finish something—there’s give and take,” Owens said.

Being family friendly all year long is also a quality that helps boost morale, Wolfe said.

“I don’t consider this my job. This is just where I go during the day to do things. It’s integrated so much with my family life. I’m able to bring my family in. They come in for other things, too. Sometimes, it’s nice—the kids have a day off from school or something and they can just sit in the office and watch a movie or something. It’s no big deal. It’s great to have such flexibility with the company. My kids love this place, not just for Halloween, but for everything,” he said, noting that he joined the company with plans to stay for two years, but has clocked in 13 now with no intention of leaving.

“It’s been such a great company with me. I want to make it, in turn, a great company through my efforts. I’m trying to make sure the company gets their fair share. I’m making sure I’m putting in the time, getting things done, and taking care of things,” he added. “A lot of times I’ll put in six hours of work at the office, but after I put the kids to bed at night, I’ll put in another four hours in the evening. That kind of thing. Just because the company is so great that I feel it’s my duty to make the company better. I think a lot of people feel that. The company takes care of us, so we want to take care of them and keep it a fun place to work.”