Top tips for organising your office Christmas party during COVID-19
The annual office Christmas party is one of the most anticipated events on the calendar for businesses around the country. While it may still be too early to know how coronavirus restrictions may change over the next few months, it is likely this year’s celebrations will look very different, writes Shazia Juma-Ross, CEO at corporate activities company, Skills and Thrills.
In many states, gatherings are dependent on the size of the venue, with group bookings currently capped. People are also not allowed to stand, mingle or dance while out at pubs and bars, meaning activities like karaoke are off the table.
Organisations have already had to completely modify how they operate this year, and we’ve all experienced tremendous changes in our day to day lives. Now the office Christmas party is joining the long list of events being adapted to suit COVID-19, with businesses already booking virtual celebrations.
Despite the various coronavirus rules and regulations, it’s still possible to throw a great end of year party for the team – here’s how.
One of the easiest ways to get around any COVID-19 restrictions is with a virtual party, particularly for those in Victoria. Everyone can be sent a package with their food and drinks, and secret Santa gifts can be posted in advance. Even if the entire event isn't held online, some businesses are opting for a hybrid party, with some staff onsite while others join virtually. If you’re worried about employees’ kids being at home, Skills and Thrills is working with businesses to curate tailored children’s activities programs to keep them busy while the adults enjoy. There are workshops to suit kids from one to 12 years old, including dance, science, arts, online escape rooms, virtual magicians and more.
Do an activity
Whether you’re hosting a physical event or online, it’s important to keep guests engaged with an activity. This is especially important for virtual parties as employees can easily feel like they’re being asked to sit through just another Zoom call. To dial up the festive spirit, you can organise Christmas cupcake decorating, mulled wine kits or even a gingerbread house making competition. Juma-Ross says, “We’ve seen huge interest in cocktail making and wine tasting for virtual parties, and even one request for a live band to provide entertainment, so the options are endless.”
Single serve food
In most Australian states, there are currently no shared utensils allowed during group events and communal food or beverage service areas are banned, so buffets and punch bowls are a no-go. To limit the number of people touching the food and cutlery, ensure the food options are single serve rather than share platters or canapes. Likewise with drinks, if there isn’t a bar, try and assign a person to be the bartender so everyone isn’t touching the same bottles to pour their drinks.
Take it outdoors
With venue capacities currently limited due to social distancing and gatherings dependent on the size of the space, it’s a good idea to get outdoors if you want to host a physical event. Outdoor weddings and birthday parties have been popular due to coronavirus restrictions and Christmas parties are no exception. The summer weather will be perfect to get out in the sunshine, whether you choose a high-end outdoor venue, opt for a picnic in the park, a barbecue on the beach or get creative by heading to a winery or a golf course.