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How To Host A COVID-Safe Office Holiday Party

By: Annie Button


Four young office workers in xmas accessories holding inflatable numbers of next year and protective masks to show end of covid epidemy

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, many workers have been left with no choice but to work from home for the majority of the year.

And, with restrictions consistently coming out banning gatherings of six people upwards, many people were concerned one of the big work-related events of the year would be unable to take place in 2020: The end-of-year party.

Well, we’re here to tell you that it can – but only if done correctly.

While it may seem like a strange concept to even be talking about office holiday parties right now, we thought we’d compile a quick guide to talk you through how to organise one that’s not only COVID-secure but also a lot of fun.

Stick To The Guidelines

A fairly obvious point to start with but, in order to host a COVID-secure Christmas party, you will need to abide by the government’s guidelines.

While these may keep changing – having recently moved into the tier system model – you must shape your party around the current laws that are in place, to avoid having to pay a hefty fine.

It’s not just the legal ramifications you have to worry about though – you need to think about the employees too, since you don’t want to put them in a situation they’re uncomfortable with.

Make sure, therefore, that you have plenty of hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes available for the event and try to keep as up to date with the latest government announcements as possible.

Plus, as annoying as it might be, if the restrictions do happen to become even tighter, you may need to think of a virtual backup party option to utilise instead.

Give Plenty Of Notice

As with any party, it’s important to give your guests advance notice so that they can make the appropriate preparations. From childcare to dog-sitting, the last thing you want is for employees to miss the chance to blow off some steam because they already have a prior engagement.

Therefore, start looking early. The sooner you start organising, after all, the greater the choice of private caterers and party venues you will have – something especially important this year.

With a 10pm curfew, in particular, you may need to think very carefully about what you can realistically do for your party, as this could influence where you want to host it. 

You might, for example, want to think about moving away from the traditional Christmas dinner party idea and, instead, consider hosting a day’s worth of COVID-secure daytime outside activities.

Whether it be an outdoor leisure centre where you can compete in a range of outdoor sports or hiring a large pub garden for the day, choosing alternative venue ideas like this could provide a great way of reuniting colleagues in as managed and low-risk a way as possible.

Think About Social Distancing

While on the topic of managing the COVID-risk, one of the most important things to consider when hosting a work Christmas party is how many of you can legally meet up.

If your office is currently running on a remote working basis, for example, this will – unfortunately – currently limit your meetups to groups of six either inside or outside, depending on the tier you are in. If this is the case, you may need to think about celebrating in smaller teams at the aforementioned venues or via a virtual setting.

If, however, your office has been unable to work from home throughout the pandemic, choosing to host your party in the office itself could be the best option. This is because it will prevent the rule of six coming into play, allowing as many colleagues to meet up as you like.

Plus, it should make life a lot easier when it comes to adhering to social distancing guidelines since your office should already have several COVID-secure measures already in place.

Final Thoughts…

Once you have decided when and where to host your work Christmas party, you can then get stuck into the fun stuff – setting a theme, sending out invitations, choosing the food, planning the games, buying the drinks, etc.

Then, when it comes to the day itself, you should be happy in the knowledge that you have not only organised your party to be as COVID-secure as possible but you’ve also done so in a way that has really gone above to put staff first.

Published: December 10, 2020

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Annie Button

Annie Button

Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent English Literature graduate. Annie has written for various online and print publications and specializes in business and career development. Follow @anniebutton1994 on Twitter.

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