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Handling Holiday Parties & Workplace Celebrations During the COVID-19 Pandemic

CoAdvantage- With major holidays like Thanksgiving and New Year’s; religious observances like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza; and plenty of office parties in-between, the season of workplace celebrations is upon us. This presents great opportunities for employers to demonstrate employee appreciation, boost morale and engagement, and just have a little fun – especially this year.

However, given that the U.S. is facing a pandemic that seems to be surging as we head into winter, employers need to take care in how they handle any gatherings.

Switch to virtual holiday parties via teleconferencing software.

Just because workers don’t gather in the same room doesn’t mean they can’t party together! And teams have plentiful options for keeping a remote party fun and interesting.

  • Enjoy virtual holiday happy hour. If you just want to give your team a chance to blow off some steam, let them sit back and chat with some BYOB time. If you want to upgrade the experience for team members, arrange for pizzas or other food to be delivered to their homes.
  • Play party games. Many analog games adapt nicely to being played remotely (anything from charades to trivia to guessing games to bingo). Simultaneously, many digital games can also be played collectively, like Codenames or even a variety of card games.
  • Host contests. Being apart doesn’t mean you can’t compete! Throw a costume party, or mail each of your workers a gingerbread house kit, and then host a gingerbread contest.

Keep the party outdoors.

Even in winter, there are often plentiful options for outdoor activities that teams can share together while remaining appropriately socially distanced and masked. For example, rent a projector and projection screen and set up your own outdoor movie theater or drive-in theater in a parking lot. Visit local attractions like botanical gardens or participate in fall or winter sports activities. The key here is to keep the holiday festivities in environments that are lower risk for the spread of COVID-19 than indoors. Just remember to follow any local health directives.

Always be smart about your activities.

Regardless of how, when, and where your office hosts any holiday celebrations, be smart about them. Be mindful of health guidelines (e.g., if your local jurisdiction limits gatherings to a certain size). You’ll also still want to take care to ensure your office remains legally compliant during celebrations. Just because people are on Zoom doesn’t mean they can’t still make bad choices! So, you might want to remind workers about office policies regarding appropriate behavior prior to any event.

CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about CoAdvantage’s ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.

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COVID-19 RESOURCES: Please visit our Coronavirus Resources landing page for a compilation of links and useful information for your business to utilize as you navigate the COVID-19 crisis.