Nicky Jolley, founder and managing director of HR2day, getting in the festive spirit

Nicky Jolley, the managing director of Darlington-based human resources specialist HR2day, is urging companies not to let their Christmas celebrations become the latest victim of the nationwide lockdown and has drawn up a list of possible alternatives to the traditional boozy night out.

The firm would normally spend the festive season advising clients how to avoid sticky situations arising from too much ‘Christmas spirit,’ however many companies are advising that they might do away with a party altogether, struggling to arrange something that abides by ever-changing restrictions.

With this in mind, Nicky has published a list to give employers a few ideas on how they can keep up morale within their teams, without compromising on all important healthy and safety rules, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Nicky said, “2020 has been one of the most challenging years we’ve ever known. That’s why, more than ever, we owe it to ourselves and our colleagues to make sure that we still enjoy the festivities this December!

“Some employers are tempted to write this year off as far as office Christmas parties are concerned, with the immediate obstacle of the lockdown, coupled with the looming spectre of economic hardship as we approach 2021. But because of all this uncertainty it’s more important than ever that workers know they’re valued and continue to feel like they’re an important member of the team.

“Clearly, this year is going to be different. We won’t be able to enjoy the same mulled wine-fuelled antics of a typical Christmas party but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate at all! It could be something as simple as sending gifts through the post, or as hilarious as Santa-themed fancy dress Zoom parties. There are lots of possibilities, but I hope these suggestions provide some ideas to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in the workplace, whether people are working remotely or following social distancing rules on-site.”

Nicky’s list of socially-distanced, workplace Christmas party ideas:

  • Home “Christmas dinner” hampers. Use an outside caterer or restaurant to deliver picnic or festive afternoon tea for staff to enjoy together via a video call.
  • Advent calendar gifts. In the lead up to Christmas, have token gifts delivered to employees on different days, and enjoy watching them open them on your routine team calls.
  • Festive challenge. Set daily tasks during the period of Advent: writing a poem or story or drawing a Christmas picture. Everybody could take a turn and share the creations with team members electronically.
  • Santa-themed Zoom party – everybody has to dress up (festive tipple optional).
  • Christmas window challenge. Challenge the team to decorate their windows at home, with a prize for the best one.
  • Pay it forward. To create the fuzzy, warm feeling of Christmas, everybody has to do a good deed and share the experience with the team.
  • Advent challenge. Everyone throws a realistic challenge in a pot and people are randomly requested to deliver on the challenge. It could also help raise funds for charity.
  • Virtual secret Santa. Like a usual secret Santa, but the gift has to be delivered to the colleague’s home. Arrange a date to open them all together.
  • Online escape room or scavenger hunt. Have some team-building fun with a virtual game before enjoying some social time.
  • A reverse advent calendar. Give the team a modest budget to collect 24 items for a local foodbank. You can then share how well everyone did, and drop them off in time for Christmas.