Is the Office Christmas Party Cancelled?

What will the office Christmas party look like this year?

Despite an easing in lockdown restrictions on December 2nd, we are far from back to ‘normal’. At the start of 2020, we did not know that this Virus would have us in lockdown in March let alone living under restrictions in December. Needless to say, everything that we consider to be the norm has changed beyond all recognition. The office Christmas party will not be escaping the strange times that we find ourselves living in.

What can office workers expect from their Christmas celebrations?

A lot of this could potentially depend on the tier that you find yourselves placed in. The current government guidance is that if you can work from home, then you should. We know that ‘social contact’ has been one of the greatest contributors to this virus. As a result, employers are being extra vigilant in how they protect their workforces.  It is estimated that 35% of the UK workforce are currently working from home. This is set to continue until at least April 2021.

Even in the lowest tiers, we will not be permitted to socialise with multiple ‘households’ in an indoor setting. This means that a big Christmas party with all our colleagues just is not going to happen this year. A recent survey suggested that 26% of UK office workers will be having a virtual Christmas party in exchange for a traditional “Christmas Do”. Sadly, a third of employees say that their company had no plans for seasonal celebrations.

Virtual events

For the more adventurous and tech-savvy amongst us, Hire Space is hosting a series of virtual parties. You are driven to your party in a taxi, and attendees can navigate through a map of virtual rooms, such as a comedy club, bingo hall, and jazz cafe, as well as a smoking area and loo. Rooms can be personalised to look like the office toilets, or the local pub and cab drivers and bartenders will be played by actors. Event planning companies have switched to virtual too. They are offering remote versions of everything from karaoke and escape rooms, to murder mysteries and drag shows.

Outdoor events

There are some options to celebrate in person. Outside Christmas events are being set up. It isn’t going to be the usual knees up with a Prosecco and buffet, but if being with your colleagues is what matters to your business, You Magazine has some suggestions from Lightopia in Manchester to Longleat Safari Park Land of Light in Wiltshire.

Restaurants with Outdoor Seating

Enjoying good food and drink with your colleagues is not off the cards just yet. Again, tier restrictions will apply, but for small groups, a meal in an outdoor setting might tick a few Christmas boxes. Trip Advisor is always a good place to go for recommendations of the best places. There are also more and more entries here for venues with outdoor heated seating areas. Take a look and see if you can find somewhere that works for you.

This year has been tough on all of us. Even though the light is potentially at the end of the tunnel with the promise of vaccines, we know that we need to knuckle down. This means carrying on working in our remote bubbles for a little while longer. Because of this, taking time out to celebrate your successes as a business is important. Employers need to demonstrate their gratitude to their employees for how they have adapted and kept businesses going. These are, after all, the most unprecedented times we have seen for many, many decades. Even the smallest celebrations can have a big impact on employee wellbeing and every gesture employers make is gratefully received.

We hope that whatever shape your Christmas party comes in, you enjoy it and have fun!