As coronavirus cases are on the increase again and local lockdowns become more commonplace, localised and a daily moveable feast, the likelihood of a Christmas party seems increasingly very unlikely as we move closer towards the festive season. Whether you love or loath the annual knees up, it’s time to think what you could offer as an alternative to try and maintain some Christmas spirit.
Here are some ideas to consider.
Whether you select one or more ideas, or perhaps allow employees to select from a range of options, it is important to let your employees know that they are valued and that you still wish to mark the occasion, albeit in a different way this year.
In a 2020 survey McKinsey reported that while organisations facing tightened purse strings may not be able to reward employees financially right now, they can potentially achieve a 55 percent improvement in engagement by addressing employees’ need for work recognition through nonfinancial means. How about creating an on-line awards ceremony to celebrate the successes of this most extraordinary of years?
Remember, if you opt to have an online event your employees will be joining from home, so all content should be family friendly! It is also worth remembering that all of the normal workplace etiquette and workplace conduct standards should apply. Zoom and Teams meetings can sometimes feel quite informal, but these events are still work events and managers should role model behaviour that is acceptable in the workplace.
Recently, it was reported in the national press that an advertising boss was dismissed after taking his webcam in a lavatory during a video call as a ‘joke’. The incident is believed to have sparked a complaint leading to an investigation and then a dismissal. The Group’s CEO reiterated to all staff in an email after the event “We believe everyone should experience an inclusive and respectful workplace culture. Inappropriate or offensive behaviour is not tolerated and when we see any employee breach our code of conduct, we take swift action”.
On a practical note, employers should also always ensure that gifts/events are fully inclusive, if you do opt for vouchers or gifts, you should be aware of your tax obligations as well as your data-protection obligations in using or sharing employee addresses with third party suppliers or event organisers - ‘express consent’ from individuals may be required if your existing data protection policies do not cover it.
Whatever you may decide to do; enjoy and have some laughter.