By: Felipe Rivas
2 min read December 2020 — The business community knows how to throw a party, especially during the holiday season, but in the COVID landscape, this year’s celebrations will look a lot different for companies and individuals alike. While the pandemic upends the annual in-person celebrations, and many companies consider how to handle holiday parties, safely celebrating employees and their contributions this year is imperative, experts say.
Only 23% of companies are hosting holiday gatherings this year, down from 76% in 2019, according to a Challenger, Gray & Christmas survey taken in October. Roughly three out of four of those companies will be having a party virtually. “It is no surprise that many companies are forgoing the holiday party this year. It’s difficult to celebrate and implement all the precautions needed to keep everyone safe. The last thing any employer wants is an outbreak due to their year-end party,” said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc, in a press release
With roughly 550 team members spread across North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia, accounting firm Aprio is among those companies shifting their celebrations to an online setting. “It’s a real challenge because culturally, holiday celebrations are when the team comes together and can spend time with each other and break bread. It’s tough,” Regional Managing Partner John Bly told Invest: Charlotte. “We were thinking about it and decided to do a virtual celebration because we’re not yet comfortable getting that many people together,” he said. Providing an engaging time for the employees is the main goal for this virtual celebration. “We are having a magician. We will do it for the employees and their significant other. We are trying to make it fun and interactive. Nothing could replace an in-person celebration but we’re trying to do the next best thing,” he said.
Though properly planning a holiday may be a major challenge this year, companies should look for ways to celebrate their employees, Challenger said. “Millions of Americans are still out of work and many others are waiting to hear if their jobs still exist. Of those who are employed, many may be experiencing survivor syndrome or are dealing with other energy- and morale-sapping issues at home. It is imperative that companies look for ways to celebrate their employees,” said Challenger.
The ongoing remote working tutorial COVID is giving the workforce may be an asset when thinking about ways to be merry and keep the party going digitally. Many workers now have extensive experience with video conferencing software, and even a short happy hour can help connect employees. Managers can facilitate games using apps like Houseparty or find online trivia games and mail prizes to the winners,” Challenger said.
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