2020 has affected all of us in various ways. With Christmas just around the corner, you have the opportunity to bring some joy, lift the spirits of your employees, and show appreciation for their work.
The capacity for parties is limited this season, and government guidelines can change rapidly. Based on current government restrictions, events of up to 30 people can continue during the second lockdown, if they are reasonably necessary. ‘Reasonably necessary’ can be open to interpretation. One could argue that an office celebration is necessary to boost employee morale for 2021. However, until we have more clarity, it’s best to proceed with caution.
Thus, businesses could still aim for hosting a small live event for employees. At the same time, it’s important to also take into account the possibility of having to convert it into a virtual event.
Live Christmas party
Navigating the live event landscape this year is slightly different, and you’ll need to pay extra attention to the policies of venues and other service providers, regarding cancellations and changes. You’ll want to be covered in case of further restrictions.
Do your employees want a live event?
Before starting the planning process, consider the fact that some employees might not feel comfortable attending a live event, even with all the precautionary measures in place. Some people might be in a high-risk category or live with family members at risk. Others might simply prefer attending the Christmas Do online. Therefore, make everyone feel comfortable by asking for their preference, and organise something virtual for those who choose this option.
Planning a live event in 2020 means that your number 1 priority will have to be the safety of your attendees. In order to ensure this, look at experienced and reputable venues, who will know how to implement the necessary safety measures correctly, having prepared over the past months. The venue should also be able to inform you of the possible types of activities and space configurations for this period. You should also ensure that your employees know what they need to do and avoid doing for safe socialising.
Small Christmas parties
If your team consists of under 30 people, you can plan a live party for everyone. However, medium-sized and larger businesses can also choose live events, by hosting several smaller parties instead of a single large one. When it comes to creating separate groups, the initial tendency might be to group departments together. Another good option might be mixing people from different departments, who don’t often have a chance to socialise at work.
As mentioned above, you might have to organise a virtual event even if you’re also hosting a live party. Even if your entire staff is happy to attend a live event, you should still consider the possibility of having to move the celebration online, in case of government restrictions tightening. Therefore, it’s important to have some ideas for how you can plan a virtual event for your staff.
Christmas is a time of gift-giving, so think of ways to offer something to your employees even without a live event. If your employees have been busy with work, a simple and appreciated present is an extra day off for the holidays. If you want something more tangible, you could reimburse your team for a delivery service for a meal to ‘share’ during the virtual event. Alternatively, you can post them holiday goodies or hot chocolate packets to enjoy together.
There are a number of ways to enjoy a festive virtual get-together. For the festive aspect, invite everyone to wear Christmas jumpers, hats etc. Christmas games can also be a nice way to simply have a laugh and unwind. You can choose any game that can be played online, and think of creative ways to make it Christmassy.
If you want a more memorable experience, a great option is to host a virtual workshop, such as candle making, or cocktail mixing. Create a poll to choose the most popular option, and send your team the necessary kits ahead of time.
Tech considerations & logistics
While you could host a large virtual event for everyone in your organisation, you’ll have to consider what is the best format for creating a nice environment. You could easily include everyone in a virtual workshop, where it’s more about learning than socialising. However, if you’re hosting a virtual Christmas meal or game evening, you might want to create separate smaller groups, as socialising online in large numbers is trickier.