In this ‘new normal’ era, after the theatre of a global pandemic, most of life seems have to changed after all. Remote working, stricter travel regulations, and gatherings in ‘bubbles’ only – these safety measures, whilst mission critical to our medical system, does means that some traditions this year will have to creatively adapt.
With the festivities fast approaching, businesses will need to learn how they can adapt to the current guidelines and restrictions, thereby prioritising the safety of the workforce. The festive season is still one that can be celebrated, just with a strong measure of caution and care. While some are in the office, and those working remotely, a COVID-friendly Christmas Party alternative can be a meaningful moment to bring together a business as a whole.
Office parties are a joyous time, as staff look forward to Christmas celebrations both with colleagues and their families. Yet, cancelling it completely might not be the best option for team morale. So, in the absence of a traditional Christmas party, what alternatives are employees expecting and how can you celebrate as a business?
Follow the Guidelines
Before setting out to plan a Christmas party for your business, start by working within the existing guidelines and legislation. These rules are not static either, but are constantly shifting to support goals of public safety. Managers, and businesses leaders alike, should be vigilant of safety protocol, and Christmas planning should fit within these expectations. A high (perhaps the highest) priority for planning should be employee safety, expressing this through compliance with governmental guidance.
Reminiscent of early videoconferencing, including Zoom team quizzes, virtual meet-ups are can nearly guarantee involvement from the whole business – from those in the office, to those working remotely. Virtual parties (with an optional quiz and other festive activities) means that any and all employees remote to the office can still engage with the business’ celebrations, despite the barriers. Taking full advantage of technology has proven to be a solution for most businesses, where social distancing and limited office capacities will create restrictions on how the office space gets used daily.
Videoconferencing has been a creative alternative helping the workforce during the pandemic, by minimising disruptions through new technology and keeping teams connected and engaged at all times. Specifically, when building morale through a festive celebration, bringing everyone together virtually can keep teams remain seemingly united.
Most festive activities and celebrations will seem, when in the office, rather limited. Yet, thinking creatively, businesses can promote festive celebrations through team-building exercises, like charitable events and activities. During the winter months, charitable events are routinely calling for support, where businesses can get involved, philanthropically. From gift donations to faraway causes, to local ones, such as food-donations, businesses should encourage involvement in charity as a way to bring teams together. Certain employees may even have causes they can recommend, or ones that dear or meaningful, which can quickly become an opportunity to bond more personally with a team.
Raise Morale (throughout December)
Festive celebrations can be flexible. Traditionally, on Christmas eve companies might gather as a rite of passage, just before they break apart for the holidays. It’s a moment to reflect on the year and come together as a team. Rather than cancel these meaningful celebrations, plan to spread out moments to reflect and celebrate together throughout December. This could, for example, be through activities such as socially-distanced ‘Secret Santa’, or a planned team meal out.
When hatching festive plans, think beyond the four walls of the office. New and different festive scenery could freshen up the celebrations – from a quaint country manor home, to the outdoors, and beyond. As venues reopen, with an assortment of festive dining options, there is much more possibility of hosting your Christmas party beyond the office. Consider a countryside retreat, with fresh scenery, as a therapeutic escape for your team over Christmas.
As the festive season approaches, it’s worth planning compliantly and vigilantly as a business. Having festive spirit and a creating shareable moments to celebrate doesn’t have to come at the forfeit of COVID-regulation. Rather, a business can boost morale whilst smartly observing the rules throughout December.
The article was produced in collaboration with Elvetham Hotel, a historic country house hotel set in 35 acres of beautiful gardens in Hook, Hampshire.