we hate to break it to you, but christmas isn't going to be the same this year...
... and it unfortunately means that there won't be the usual Christmas party celebrations either.
2020 has introduced plenty of new terms into our everyday conversation. The dreaded "new normal", "social distancing", "the rule of six", and the list goes on. While we've all been trying to keep up with the growing number of rules and regulations, the festive season has snuck up on us.
But the big question of course is, will COVID-19 be the Grinch that stole Christmas?
Corporate festive celebrations are a huge part of the UK's economy, and something many employees look forward to annually. It's a time to celebrate with colleagues and to reflect on the accomplishments and hard work from the year. But with curfews and restrictions on gatherings, it's time to start planning an alternative version of the Christmas 'work do'.
It's certainly been a tough year for all of us, so putting in the effort to create a sense of unity and inspire festive cheer among your workforce will help everyone to feel a little more motivated and optimistic about 2021. While you may not be able to get your team in the same venue for the usual buffet and questionable dancefloor performances, there's plenty you can do... from a social distance.
By now, most of your team should be pretty au fait with Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom etc. So get the diaries out and schedule a virtual celebration. There are tonnes of ways to make these events fun and engaging. Since you won't be splashing out on a venue and the usual costs associated with a Christmas party, you can dedicate that budget towards doing something a little more personalised. Here are some great ideas to get your started:
The usual pile up at the open tab bar is a thing of the past – but let's be honest, that didn't always end well anyway...
This year, send your employees a bottle of something they'll really enjoy, or sign everyone up for a virtual cocktail making class and mail a hamper with the ingredients. Your team can have an interactive experience participating in something fun and still raise a toast to the company and each other. If you want to get really fancy, you can host an online wine tasting workshop. Wine selections can be sent to your employees' homes, and everyone can take a shot at sharpening their sommelier skills.
The best part is, there'll be no need for taxis, and everyone can safely resume their latest Netflix binge after having a festive chat and tipple with their colleagues.
Fancy dress conference call
For most remote workers, 2020 has been the year of loungewear. As a result, you may be surprised to find that your team takes up the offer of a fancy dress party with great enthusiasm. Let's face it, any excuse to dress up is welcome at this point.
Set a theme, set a time, and name your prize. You may just have the best time seeing each other's flamboyant costume choices, and it's a great way to break the ice and quash any awkwardness around the novelty of an online party.
As far as we know, despite being in a high-risk category, Santa is still fully operational this year.
Keep the magic alive by setting up a long-distance Secret Santa where colleagues can send anonymous packages to one another. There are plenty of online tools to help you draw names out of a virtual hat, and you can all meet on a call to observe each other's expressions as you open gifts.
Sure, it's not the same as it once was, but it will still be a lovely way of reminding everyone that they're part of a team.
You may want to send out a disclaimer advising that you are not responsible for how your employees' household members will react to the noise, but online karaoke is a thing, and it may just be the biggest laugh you've had all year. God knows some us need a laugh this year.
Remember, this may not be everyone's cup of eggnog, but if your team is partial to some power ballad belting, it’s is a great way to end the year on a high – albeit, potentially flat – note.
don't forget to communicate
Once you've got some idea of how your 2020 Christmas shindig will go down, it's essential to focus on the important bits.
Beneath all the festivities, the real reason behind a company's Christmas party is for employers to show gratitude to their staff and share insights on the goals that have been achieved so far and the vision for the future.
Communicate with your team to let them know that their contributions are valued and set some time aside in your virtual meetings to give a little speech and highlight the company's accomplishments.
most importantly... show your appreciation
Undeniably, things are going to be different this year, but there are also plenty of positives worth acknowledging. Despite the challenges, your company has pulled through and taken steps and measures to adapt to the shifting tides and continue to serve its customers. That's largely down to the efforts and contributions of your team. While a Christmas party isn't on the cards, there is scope to explore alternative ways of saying thank you and keep the morale up.
You can still spread holiday cheer with eVouchers and physical gifts that will help to connect your team with your organisation's core values and make them feel noticed and appreciated.
At Sodexo, we offer flexibility and choice to suit any budget. We provide a huge range of digital and physical vouchers and gift cards that will give your employees access to over 100 online and high street retailers chains throughout the UK. You can help them celebrate the holidays with friends and family by allowing them to choose from 26 restaurants, 42 entertainment venues and tonnes of independent stores. With most holidays being halted in 2020, you can give your team something to look forward to in the new year thanks to the discounts offered by our holiday booking partners.
Why not give your team something fantastic to open this year? Our employee engagement experts are filled with ideas to help you pop some Yuletide cheer in your staff's mailboxes. Speak to us today to find out more about our Christmas reward and recognition solutions.