How has the pandemic changed the shape of the ‘Company Christmas Party’? Usually a key highlight in recognising and rewarding employees for their hard work and usually provokes a range of emotions and expectations from employees. For many, it is a chance to let their hair down and relax with colleagues, without the pressure of ‘work.’ Last year, businesses across Australia have had to diversify their traditional offerings, to meet our new ‘socially distanced’ normal. With strict COVID restrictions still hindering large gatherings in some states, and many employees still not wanting to take the risk of large-scale socialisation, organisations have had to become more creative in tailoring celebrations to a more disparate workforce.
Client lunches have become luxury hampers instead and gifts to employees have become more creative to match a workforce which has spent more time at home, than ever before. A report compiled by Moneypenny found that 26% of employers have organised a virtual celebration for staff – with some organisations even sending out hampers, drinks and gift vouchers for employees to purchase their own treats. An easy option for employees, who merely have to saunter to their home office, link up to zoom and pour a drink. No late-night taxi queues or embarrassing office shenanigans is what we found last year. Only 7% of those surveyed said they would soldier on with a traditional, in person office party, showcasing how the pandemic has (perhaps temporarily) changed the face of how we celebrate.
With the economic impact hitting organisations and individuals hard, some savvy employers are offering financial bonuses to staff in lieu of the expense of an office party. A popular choice, which chimes well with staff shows the out of the box, innovative thinking from HR teams across the country. However organisations choose to celebrate, one element which is important, whatever the industry, size or commercial challenges, is the need to celebrate. The festive season, of course, is central to celebrations in December, but more importantly, praise for the teams of people who have adapted, changed, worked harder than ever before and deserve to be rewarded and recognised for their loyalty and perseverance, in a year which has been more challenging than most and we need to keep this in mind as we progress throughout 2021 which may turn out to be much alike to 2020.