Post-COVID Christmas parties: the dos and don’ts

post-covid christmasJulian English investigates what the right protocols are in this day and age.

During this busy time, it’s easy for companies to get swept up in financial concerns and end-of-year sales targets. However, it is more important than ever that companies pay extra attention to their employees’ needs and keep the festivities going this holiday season.

By now, employers should have decided on their plans for a post-COVID-19 Christmas party. If not,  guidance is needed on what to do now that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us. So let’s see what did happen and see if it can give us guidance for what to do this year.

During the lockdown

During the lockdown a number of companies gave staff a gift or voucher as an alternative to a Christmas party. Some held virtual events while others held no event at all.

Typical parties or big events were not possible last year due to social distancing guidance and tier regulations. Government advice was still for people to work from home if possible.

So, let’s see if this move away from Christmas parties continues in a post-COVID world?

Firstly, we must remember that the majority of companies are not fully staffed in their offices.

Therefore, a Christmas party is an ideal opportunity to get everyone together face to face. I don’t think you can pass on this opportunity.

The truth is that no computer screen or digital slideshow can replace the innumerable benefits of meeting people in person and building relationships with them. However, it is also true that in-person events going forward will look a little different. Event planners will have to account for certain factors that were once barely thought about.

For those back in the office and during a time when social distancing and mask wearing is still advised, perhaps a Christmas party might have to be altered. New ways to support, recognise and connect with employees should be considered this festive season.

Squaremeal offers several top tips to ensure a safe and successful Christmas party alternative.

To make sure your first post-COVID-19 event goes off without a hitch, they have compiled a checklist of tips and tricks to help you out, as well as featuring useful quotes from industry experts.

Think about your venue

Finding the right venue has always been critical to the success of public events. But venue sourcing is likely to look a little different these days, with event planners now having multiple new factors to consider. With this in mind, it is also crucial to have a Plan B.

Make sure that you are working with a venue who can be flexible in terms of providing digital assistance or reconfiguring spaces to ensure social distancing. It is also a good idea to put together a contingency plan. This will map out a timeline of when and where things could go wrong.

Build trust with attenders

It is important to remember that several events professionals (and the general public) will not have been to any large-scale events in over a year and a half, so they may well have anxieties and concerns about attending their first in-person event.

To ease these concerns, it is essential to make it clear to guests what measures you have put in place to ensure their safety.

Embrace new technologies 

Consider that some will attend virtually and have facilities in place so they can integrate as much as is possible.

While Christmas will certainly look different this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Christmas during COVID as a company. The key to safe and healthy COVID Christmas plans is to keep them as intimate as possible. While the CDC doesn’t currently have a limit or recommendation on the number of guests allowed per party, the fewer people you invite, the less risk you pose for your guests.


This article first appeared in Laboratory magazine. You can read the latest issue here.

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