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Christmas 2020 – What Will the Office Xmas Party Look Like This Year?

Christmas 2020 – What Will the Office Xmas Party Look Like This Year?
02 November 2020 | Updated 02 December 2020

Amidst England's tiered lockdown system, what does this mean for the annual office Christmas party?

Whether you’re one to embrace the Christmas jumper-wearing festivities or take more of an Ebeneezer Scrooge-style approach, all forms of Xmas celebrations are looking far from normal this year, due to the ongoing threat of coronavirus.

But in the absence of a traditional Christmas “do”, what alternatives are employees expecting?

Find out how FM teams across the industry are planning to celebrate.


Virtual Parties


Outsourced communications provider Moneypenny polled 1,000 UK office workers and found that 26 per cent said their companies are hosting a virtual party.

Reminiscent of early lockdown zoom quizzes and online happy hours, many will opt for the safe option of keeping employees in their own homes.

Virtual Christmas parties appeared a popular option among companies located in West Midlands (49 per cent) and London (38 per cent). On the other hand, only 10 per cent of employees in East England stated their company is planning a virtual Christmas party. 

Of those surveyed, over half (54 per cent) of office workers aged 18-24 stated that their workplace is hosting a virtual Christmas party. 

On the whole, 11 per cent stated that they were excited for this year's alternative to a Christmas party and particularly, those situated in the West Midlands (24 per cent) and London (19 per cent). 

However, only 4 per cent of those in Scotland and Wales expressed their excitement about the new Christmas party plans.



A Socially Distanced Meal


Catering services are just one of many sectors who have had to quickly adapt to our new COVID-secure behaviour, meaning that a physical get-together isn’t necessarily off the table (if we return to a tiered system of lockdown in December).

Event caterers such as Social Pantry have created innovative ways to provide experiences not possible in a virtual setting, such as longer length dining tables, extra space between guests, safety screens and outdoor dining options.


Christmas lights

Picture: a close-up photograph of some Christmas lights


What About Secret Santa?


Secret Santa, an office rite of passage, is also looking different this year. Overall, 23 per cent of workers surveyed said that they are participating in a “long distance” version of Secret Santa. 

The findings revealed that companies in the West Midlands (38 per cent) and the North East (25 per cent) were the regions most in favour of “long distance” Secret Santa. 


Raising Morale for Employees at Christmas


Danni Rush, Chief Customer Officer at Virgin Incentives and Virgin Experience Days spoke to HR News about the value of making extra effort this year for your employees:

“With Christmas parties and after-work drinks almost certainly out of the question this year, virtual experiences and events are a great alternative way to engage and motivate remote working employees.

“For instance, last month, Virgin Incentives ran a virtual cocktail making class with our team, sending out different ingredients to everyone at home and a cocktail shaker. We connected over Google Meet so we could ‘cheers’ virtually and share our experiences of making the drinks.

“Although activities like these aren’t exactly what we imagined we’d be doing at this time of year, businesses must get imaginative and find new ways to excite employees and inject some fun into their day to stem feelings of isolation.”

Picture: a photograph of a group of people raising a glass in celebration

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 02 November 2020


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