You’re right, COVID-19 has officially put a damper on most fun stuff for 2020. Holiday office parties included. While a major bummer, 2020 has showered us with ingenuity. We’ve learned how to do so many things differently.  This year, the holidays will be done differently too, both at home and work. If you want to celebrate with your employees and coworkers this year in lieu of a real, live, in-person party (and you’re a bit burned out on coming up with new ways to do things), you’re in luck! Here are a few ways to do just that:

  1. Make a tribute video that allows employees to send a holiday message to everyone else in the office or invite departments to do this inter-departmentally. You can make one here:
  2. Give the gift of time without employees having to use their paid time off. And provide them with ideas of ways to spend their free time (ie: Do a yoga routine, make and hang a holiday decoration, call a friend, etc.) You could take a page from REI’s book. They allow employees to #optoutside on the Friday after Thanksgiving and encourage employees to share their adventure in a social media post. ALPS is electing into this for the December holiday. We are providing employees the entire day of December 24th off to celebrate with their families.  It is usually a half-day paid holiday. Some companies are even providing the week between December 25 and January 1 off with pay.
  3. Go Small. If you’ve got a small office, the Today Show provided a great segment on how you might be able to host a small gathering safely and responsibly. Try an outside, socially-distanced bonfire with masks, individually wrapped food, single-serve hot chocolate with wipes and hand sanitizer, but schedule it out so only so many individuals are signed up to participate at certain times.
  4. Baby Pandas. Schedule some entertainment during the regular work week! Entertainers can still entertain virtually. Don’t make it an all-night or even an hour-long event (people are zoomed out). Offer 15-minute “breaks” or “connection” around 3:00 pm with entertainment. It offers a quick pick me up, even if it is to simply connect and watch the baby panda through the Smithsonian Institute.
  5. Allow employees to ‘gather’ (virtually) or create their own virtual time and allow them to “celebrate” their holiday in style. Remember not everyone celebrates the same holidays.  Allow individuals to join in on the variety of celebrations that are offered at this time of year. It goes without saying that everyone must still be respectful of each other in all spaces.
  6. Queue up a watch party: pick out a Netflix holiday movie, have it playing in the background while employees are working. Give them the option to join or not.  It is called a Teleparty.
  7. Host a virtual Paint Party: How fun would it be for employees to get a package in the mail and then be able to connect to learn how to paint? You don’t have to be an artist; it is all about doing something together.
  8. Make it fun for the kids. Children can still talk with Santa through Zoom, (if that’s their jam). Your office could participate in a coloring contest or snowflake-folding contest. You could even do this for your own company and ask everyone to submit with a hashtag on social media, like #companycoloringcontest2020.
  9. Gift Giving! If you are thinking about a holiday gift for employees in lieu of the office party, here are some options:
    • Gift boxes: Pick out an assortment of popular local items from your area to create gift boxes, or use an online vendor like SpecWorks, Inc. or Happy Monk Coffee

10. Keep it local if you can. Your local small businesses are in need of support right now and would probably be willing to assist you in providing thoughtful gifts for your employees. Consider making a call to a local company before ordering online so your contributions to your employees and coworkers will be helping your community too.

11. Don’t forget the importance of mental health during this time.  Missing out on traditions that have been in place for years can be hard to manage.  Provide employees with resources to help themselves mentally manage. Here’s a good one:


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