Well, that falls a little flat. There hasn’t been much to celebrate in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting devastation to our world, combined with natural disasters, social unrest, an economic crisis and a divisive presidential election doesn’t really make you want to “Shake Your Groove Thing.” It’s safe to say most people feel weary and wary about what’s to come in 2021 and would just as well let 2020 end with no fanfare and certainly no office holiday party. Afterall, aren’t we all a little tired of Zoom happy hours?
Actually, an office holiday party may be exactly what your company needs to relieve stress and improve employee morale and engagement. Social distancing and COVID-19 concerns can make it a bit challenging, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Here are some party ideas that will help you plan a gathering unlike any you’ve ever had before. Literally.
Interactive, Virtual Team-Building Events
Consider organizing virtual versions of popular interactive and team-building events such as a murder mystery, trivia contest, scavenger hunt, game show or karaoke. Once you’ve decided on a theme for your event, send employees a party-themed gift basket beforehand with snacks, beverages and props to use or wear during the virtual event. Have a toast during the event with a fun mug included in the gift basket and give party-themed prizes for winners.
Include the Whole Family
With most employees working remotely with spouses, children, parents and pets around, consider having an event in which the whole family can participate. You could have a virtual gingerbread house or wreath-making workshop and send supplies to employees beforehand. A cooking class using pre-delivered ingredients is a great way to include the whole family and make dinner at the same time. End the event with a toast and ask employees to share pictures of their dinner with everyone at a later date.
Social distancing can easily be accomplished by just going outside, even if it is cold. It’s possible to have in-person gatherings if you adhere to all city and state crowd size, mask-wearing and social distancing requirements. You could have a large bonfire with portable heaters and provide employees gift baskets with s’mores ingredients, gloves and scarves. Bartenders can pass drinks and hot cider and individual boxes with premade heavy hors d’oeuvres.
When considering the price of hosting a holiday party complete with rentals, food, drinks and entertainment, it is likely more economical to give employees a high-end gift instead. Employees may appreciate receiving a gift they wouldn’t purchase for themselves like Apple Airpods, an Instant Pot, wine-of-the-month subscription, a Yeti lunchbox or cooler, a Bombas holiday gift box of socks or Nespesso coffee machine. While everyone will miss the social aspect of a party, employees will appreciate the gesture particularly given the hardships all have endured this year.
Food Delivery and Culinary Delights
Everyone appreciates a night off from cooking and cleaning up after dinner. Arrange to have a meal from a favorite local restaurant delivered to employees during the hectic holiday season. There are also many online gourmet food delivery vendors with interesting offerings from grass-fed beef to organic, plant-based meals.
The Wow Factor
If you really want to go all out this year, host a drive-in family movie night with company-provided, delivered-to-your-car concessions like popcorn, candy and sodas. Ask employees to decorate their cars beforehand and give awards for best and worst-decorated cars. An event management company can assist with logistics for this or another over-the-top, memorable experience for your employees.
Get Engaged with Smart HR
There’s no doubt this year’s holiday party will look very different from those in previous years. That means there’s plenty of opportunity to try something creative and new to show your employees you care about them and want to recognize their hard work and resilience this past year. Smart HR can help you plan and implement initiatives to get and keep your employees engaged. Engaged employees are more fulfilled and productive which helps your bottom line. Call Smart HR today.