By Tushar Agarwal, CEO and Co-Founder at HubbleHQ
A recent survey showed that more than 95% of London businesses have cancelled their traditional Christmas parties this year. Although this particular dataset only covers organisations in the capital, this is a pattern which will have been repeated across the country. While social distancing measures are undoubtedly an essential tool in stemming the spread of Coronavirus, this quarter’s stricter restrictions have made it impossible for large groups to meet in person—meaning that many businesses have opted to simply cancel their celebrations and hold out until 2021.
However, despite companies not being able to celebrate the closing of the year as we would traditionally, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do anything at all. This year has been tough, and employees—who may have had to deal with the spectres of furloughing, income cuts or the outright risk of redundancy—may well have been particularly affected. If anything, it’s more important than ever to celebrate the festive season this year, as this will give your team something to look forward to in these dark and uncertain times.
So, let’s take a look at five ways that you can use your Christmas budget to sign off the year in style.
- Send your employees a festive surprise
This is the season of giving, after all, so why not thank your employees for all of their hard work with a gift? Many of you reading this will have at some point taken part in a work Secret Santa, and there’s no reason that the pandemic should put a stop to this; employees could send their presents through the post, and open them at the same time on a video call.
There are also a number of companies out there who will deliver specially-made Christmas hampers to your employees. This is a simple and easy way to show appreciation for team members, as well as get everyone in the Christmas spirit!
- Support a charitable cause
Whilst it’s often overlooked, an important element of Christmas is thinking about the less fortunate in society. If you have chosen to cancel your party altogether this year, donating the money that you would have spent to a charitable cause can make a real difference. And to make sure that your entire team is involved in the initiative, you could run a company-wide survey in which employees each suggest a charity—then hold a vote to make the final decision.
Not only would your organisation be driving positive change in wider society, you may also see knock-on benefits through positive PR, and improved employee morale.
- Host an activity online
Having had to rely on technology to communicate with the outside world for the majority of the year, it’s safe to say that most of the country could now be described as video call experts! So, why not put all of this accrued expertise to good use and hold an activity online? Just as video conferencing services such as Zoom, Teams or PowWowNow have provided technological replacements to physical office meetings or chats, they can also be used to bring people together for workplace festivities.
This is also a great opportunity to support some of those other businesses out there who’ve had a particularly rough time of it in 2020—especially those in the hospitality and events industries. When researching ideas for our own Christmas party at HubbleHQ, we were well-impressed by the innovation and adaptability of companies who are making it possible for teams to celebrate at home. From team painting events to wine tasting experiences, there are activities on offer to suit all tastes.
- Make the Christmas dinner virtual
For many people, the best part of Christmas is always the dinner. While your employees won’t be able to sit in the same room to share laughs over a hearty meal this year, that shouldn’t mean that you have to forget about the idea in its entirety.
One popular (and Covid-secure) alternative is to cook your own Christmas dinners together, via an online cookery class—collectively sharing in the thrills and spills along the way. Another could be to order your employees a food delivery straight to their doorsteps, and then congregate on the video call of your choice to enjoy it.
- Listen to your employees
The Christmas party is a way of looking back on the events of the past year, celebrating in the ups and downs and thanking your team for their hard work. Given that the entire event is about them, it’s important to give employees a say in what you decide to do!
For all of our HubbleHQ social events, we form a planning committee made up of different members of the company. This helps to spread the organisational load, but also makes sure we get a few different perspectives on what people want to do. However you choose to approach the planning, make sure you take into account your employees’ preferences, and let those guide your plans.
2020 has been hard on us all, but that’s why it’s more important than ever to give your employees something to look forward to. While we can’t throw a traditional office Christmas party, this doesn’t mean that you can’t sign off the year with a bang!