With pandemic restrictions tightening up again across the country and globally, many businesses will be working virtually as we head into holiday season. That means office Christmas parties will be traded for safer ways to celebrate the holidays with employees and coworkers. 

Working Virtually Shouldn’t Be Isolating

Not everyone enjoys working virtually, especially when they thrive on connecting with their peers face-to-face. For that reason, it’s even more important to check in with your employees and see how they are doing. Make a point of scheduling one-on-one video calls with your staff so they can voice any concerns they have.

Show Your Support for Virtual Employees 

Even though you’re not seeing your staff or coworkers every day, you can still show your appreciation for all they’ve done for you during the year. A simple email thanking them for their contributions during a meeting goes a long way to letting them know they are appreciated. The more specific you can be, the more appreciated they will feel. 

Alternatives to In-Person Christmas Parties While Working Virtually

Virtual Parties

Zoom is a cloud-based video-conferencing service that allows you to meet with anyone who has an internet connection or a smartphone. Zoom allows up to 100 people in a Zoom room at a time. This could work for a virtual party for smaller offices. You could invite a fun speaker, entertainer, or comedian and give employees the opportunity to ask questions at the end of their presentation.

Since Zoom only allows one person to speak at a time, a virtual party will be more successful if it involves an agenda. You can play games like bingo and twenty questions, or create a staff trivia list where employees submit questions about themselves and coworkers have to guess who it is. 

You can even share whiteboards via Zoom, so if Pictionary is your thing, you can play it virtually too!

Online Treasure Hunt

A fun way to involve other businesses in your community (that also have websites) is to plan a treasure hunt where employees must visit other business’s websites to answer questions about the business. Give employees a week or so to complete the treasure hunt and submit their answers to get a prize as well as a chance to win something bigger in a draw. 

Gift Baskets

Create a list of Christmas themed baskets and give employees the opportunity to choose which one they’d like with your compliments. You may even have a gift basket company in your area already doing this that you can partner with. 

Here are some theme ideas to get you started:

  • Christmas movie night,
  • Chocolate and wine,
  • Wine or beer advent calendars,
  • Luxury bath products,
  • Tea and Christmas cookies.

Gift Certificates

Gift certificates are always nice because employees can shop for what they want. It’s a way you can support businesses in your community or across the country. 

Delivered Meals

Most in-person Christmas parties include dinner, so why not give your employees a night off from cooking for their family? Many restaurants are now offering delivery and curbside pick up. Collaborate with your favourite local restaurant to provide meals for your staff. 

Extra Days Off with Pay

During the holidays, it’s always nice to have extra time away from work to spend with family. Consider giving staff an extra day of time off with pay so they come back to work after the holidays ready to hit the ground running.

Remember, most gifts you give your employees are a deductible business expense, but will also be considered a taxable benefit to your employee. If you’re not sure if you’re handling employee gifts properly, give us a call.