For a lot of companies, Christmas is the time when you can throw the office Christmas party that closes off the year and you can celebrate all you've achieved. However, this year your usual celebration may not be possible. As countries around the region continue to get a handle on the pandemic, large in-person gatherings aren't possible. But this doesn't mean you still shouldn't try to put something together, after all, you've been dealing with an unprecedented 10 months. So how can companies celebrate the holidays during a pandemic? In this quick post we outline two different avenues companies can take to: the virtual office party and the hybrid office party.
The Virtual Office Party
A relatively easier option for many companies will be to move their holiday office party to the virtual world, especially if employees are spread across the country or the region. This could involve simply replicating the usual holiday celebration in a virtual format through a video-chat platform. Another alternative is to think out of the box and offer employees more engaging activities such as online tastings.
The fully-virtual celebration is ideal for those who cannot or would rather not leave their homes. Companies can look to export the traditional office party into an online platform. Depending on your budget, you could even hire an MC and an event planning team to put it all together or you can set it up yourself. The important thing is to keep everyone engaged, after all, some employees may be Zoom-ed out after months of virtual meetings and hangouts.
An easy way to do this is to simply transform all of the aspects of your traditional office party. This could include company-wide awards, a virtual photo-booth with AR filters, food and drink delivered to employee's homes, mini-games or playing a virtual escape room with prizes that can be delivered at a later date or via email.
Virtual Tastings and Cooking Classes
For those looking for something a little different, and have a bit more budget, you can look at organizing a virtual tasting. Whether it's wine or whiskey, you can look to book a personal tasting for your employees: everyone will receive a complete kit and be guided through the process via an online platform.
For the foodies in your team, there are also virtual cooking classes available. Similar to a virtual wine tasting, employees will receive a kit with all of the raw ingredients needed so they can easily follow along with the chef on a virtual call. Plus, these kits can also come with wine pairings to boost that holiday spirit.
The Hybrid Office Party
The hybrid office party on the other hand is a combination of a virtual celebration and your traditional in-person holiday party. The possibility of hosting these types of holiday parties will of course depend on the current regulations in your country. In Singapore for instance, people can gather in groups of up to 5 with the possibility of this being increased to 8 as the country moves towards Phase 3 of their reopening. Similarly, there have been announcements about the resumption of work-related events at third-party venues with up to 50 people. On the other hand, the Philippines recently announced that Metro Manila will maintain their GCQ status until the end of December and the standard Christmas office parties are not allowed to be held as the limit of gatherings is at 10 people.
Small Team Celebrations
If you're in a country where it would be possible to host an intimate holiday party you can explore the possibility of having employees who live near each other come together. These smaller parties can then be connected virtually. To help make parties feel more cohesive companies can have food and drinks delivered to all teams and set up team-based activities for a mini competition. This could take the form of online quizzes, a virtual scavenger hunt, or as mentioned above, having teams participate in an online escape room and rewarding those who complete the tasks first.
So even if you can't host your usual office party due to social distancing measures and government regulations to control the pandemic, it doesn't mean you still shouldn't celebrate this time of year. As a company you've rolled with the punches if you will as COVID-19 put a halt to nearly all industries across the globe. Employees have been pushed into working from home and trying to replace casual water-cooler moments through group chats and Zoom meetings. If that isn't a reason to have a celebration, we don't know what is.