At a time when most people are reluctant to return to the office environment (whatever the government says), it seems strange for us to be saying why you should have a Christmas party this year. Let’s explain our reasoning, and how to ensure it goes well, and safely.
Thank you to your staff
It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a different year to any other. You have asked your team to do things this year that you have never asked of them before.
- Furloughing was unheard of before March – both the word and the activity. The pressure on management (working out who to furlough) and the staff (wondering whether furloughing was temporary or permanent) has been huge.
- A Zoom call used to be a once in a while experience – not a everyday (if not more) activity. Hopefully everyone behaved appropriately!
- Working from home. Not everyone has a quiet space they can work in. The impact of home life has been huge.
- Home-schooling. Not something imposed by the company, but the combination of working from home and home-schooling has been huge pressures on many of the staff.
These are just some of the reasons, over and above their normal responsibilities, that the company needs to say a huge thank you to everyone in the business.
Say thank you in person
Saying thank you in an email or on a conference call is one thing. Saying it publicly is something completely different – and so much more powerful. Having the Managing Director/CEO saying thank you in front of the entire team will inspire loyalty and bond the team. Communicating to the whole team in person maximises the flow of knowledge and energy within the business, far more than over Zoom or Teams.
There are untold examples online of how people have bonded during the lockdown. Online quizzes and virtual drinks are just two examples. Nothing, however, beats being in the same room. Being able to talk to someone face to face after 5+ months of screen-only communication makes a real difference.
Not talking shop
Conference calls are great for discussing a new project, or progress on the current one. But with X people on the call, the thing that cannot happen is a relaxed, casual one to one conversation that isn’t about work. Humans are social animals and thrive on interaction with others. Your Christmas Party gives people a chance to relax and catch up with each other.
A break from the family
We all love our partners and our family, but sometimes we want to see different faces. A Christmas party is a great reason to get out of the house and see people you’ve not seen in person for a long time.
Christmas parties are a great way of showing your team they are valued, respected and appreciated. Whilst the near future is still uncertain, both economically and health-wise, Christmas parties give senior management a great opportunity to update the team with the plans for the future (assuming they are positive).
We can all agree that 2020 hasn’t been a great year. Surely things can only get better. The Christmas party gives you the opportunity the close 2020 and set the stage for 2021.
Christmas parties don’t have to be expensive. We have a range of flexible packages for Christmas parties, so please get in touch to find out more. A couple of suggestions to help control costs:
- Schedule your Christmas party for lunchtime, say 12 – 4pm. Lunchtime events are cheaper than evenings and then your staff can decide whether they go elsewhere, or go home, after that.
- An informal gathering, perhaps in The Arches with a DJ and a buffet, will be more budget-friendly than a formal sit-down meal
Companies that have struggled this year can use this opportunity to put 2020 to bed, to thank their staff for what they have done, and achieved this year.
Make the event safe for everyone
The biggest reason people won’t want to come to this year’s Christmas Party is their concerns about potentially catching COVID-19. These are our suggestions
Don’t make it compulsory
Even if you did, some people will simply refuse to come. Making the event compulsory will negatively impact many of the reasons for having the Christmas party in the first place. You want people to be relaxed, so let people who aren’t comfortable miss this year.
Easy to get to location
You will have staff coming from all directions, but try to organise a location that is relatively easy to get to for most people.
Plenty of dedicated space
Don’t cram them in. Most venues have dramatically reduced their capacity numbers for events to ensure there is plenty of space for social distancing. Choose a venue that can provide you with dedicated space. You can control your own team, but its less easy if others are not socially distancing. A conducive, safe environment will protect your team and help more people make the decision to attend.
Don’t blast out the music
When the music starts, keep the volumes sensible. Even those dancing want to be able to talk and when socially distanced, it becomes a little harder to hear. Normal speech is about 60 decibels. Someone standing over a metre away will experience 53 decibels – about a 10% drop.
Make it easy for people to show how concerned they are about social distancing. We will have “traffic-light” wristbands available for all events for people to wear and clearly show how close they are happy for you to get.
If you’re having a meal, its easy to socially distance the seating to ensure people are apart.
Limit the alcohol
A strange thing to say for a Christmas party, but it may be sensible just this once. People’s ability, and desire, to follow the rules often diminishes after a few drinks.
Some people may have to leave
Hopefully everyone will behave and the Christmas party will be a pleasant experience for everyone. But if someone does fail to follow the rules and continues to encroach the personal space of others, you may have to ask them to leave. Whilst never a pleasant task, better that one person is asked to leave than everyone feels uncomfortable and the festive atmosphere is lost.
An earlier finish may help to control alcohol consumption. It may also help people to feel more comfortable about getting home, particularly on public transport.
Everyone should have masks, but making sure you have a supply of them to give out as people leave will ensure they are suitably attired for their journey home.
We’ve given you 7 reasons why you should have a Christmas Party this year, and 11 ways to ensure the event is Covid-friendly and safe for everyone. You can also see our tips for ensuring you have a great event here. To talk more about how we can help you hold a Christmas Party, get in touch, or give us a call on 020 7403 3300.