Christmas parties get people out of the day-to-day office routine – whether they are working at the office or from home, with a change of scenery to allow them to relax and enjoy themselves. It is something that staff and clients look forward to; a chance to bond with one another in a fun and enjoyable setting.
Unfortunately, a lot of Christmas parties are being wiped from the Christmas season calendar by employers as they are still liable should they put their employees at risk, in terms of the virus.
This doesn’t mean that Christmas parties should be trashed altogether – there are plenty of opportunities for a socially distanced shindig. Businesses have adapted to the changing business landscape this year, so navigating the restrictions for a great end-of-year party is totally manageable.
7 unique COVID Christmas party ideas
Ensure you are up to date with your region’s restrictions
The first step to organising a killer Christmas party this year is to make sure you are up to date with your region’s COVID restrictions. This will mean you can get to the drawing board knowing exactly what is inside and outside of the scope for your celebrations. Every state and territory has different requirements.
If your event will be restricted by the number of people able to gather inside, consider a socially distanced outdoor extravaganza. In an outdoor setting you can further limit the chance of spreading the virus by wearing masks and ensuring everybody is sanitising their hands. If a face-to-face event is not possible at all, virtual gatherings are still an option. Everybody can join the event from the safety of their own living rooms with a Zoom link.
Plan for plan B
2020 has been the furthest thing from going to plan so make sure your backup Christmas party plan is in place from the get-go. A sudden spike in COVID cases could see cities and states falling back into a lockdown.
If plan A is a face-to-face event that is amazing but you should consider putting precautions in place for a virtual event if restrictions were to change. You can get the party started no matter what COVID restrictions are in place.
Set the date
Just because things might look a bit different this year doesn’t mean your workplace Christmas party should be left until the last minute to organise. Set the date ahead of time because your clients and workmates’ Christmas calendars will still book out with in-person and Zoom events like any other year.
Parties build team spirit and help retain employees. Let your staff have something to look forward to – this will make them feel valued and content in their positions. Get-togethers also solidify and deepen client relationships too.
Theme it up
There is no doubt that a theme gets everyone in the mood for a great time. Under the sea, 80s, heroes versus villains, and fancy dress are all fun dress-up themes that will certainly get the party started. The great thing about a dress-up theme is that it works for Christmas parties whether they’re face-to-face or via Zoom – everyone can still get dressed up and get involved.
Even if a party happens via Zoom, encourage everyone to get into the theme. Share photos on your social media, intranet (dedicated event site) or e-newsletter – really make a fuss about the effort everyone has put in. Looking back, this is going to be a year like no other and you’ll want plenty of memories to celebrate over – WE GOT THROUGH COVID!
Plan an activity
Face-to-face or virtually, break the ice with a game that will allow everyone to loosen up for the rest of the party. Add thorough games throughout the event. Leave the business chat in the office and give everyone something else to talk about with a round of fun party games.
No end-of-year party is complete without a Secret Santa. Even if your event is online doesn’t mean the tradition should be forgotten – set the budget and give employees plenty of time to get their presents in the mail.
Secret Santa is a crowd-pleaser and it is totally malleable to work in the virtual world. If mailing is not an option for your staff and clients, email-only gifts are a great idea – vouchers and experiences are an easy option.
Plan ahead for food and drinks
If your in-person event is a socially distanced soiree, there are some easy steps you can take to ensure the food and drink options are safe for everyone attending.
In terms of food, single-serve meals are very important. While canapés, antipasto platters and cheese boards have traditionally been a Christmas party staple, this year they need to be adapted to eliminate the use of shared utensils and communal food.
Similarly with drinks, if there isn’t a professional bartender, it is best practice in these times to assign one person to pouring and making drinks for everyone so that everyone isn’t touching the same bottles.
Jenny Folley, founder and managing director of @WORKSPACES