5 tips for a fun, COVID-safe office Christmas party

Workplace Christmas party planning is already well under way, as organisations prepare to say thank you to staff, contractors and clients for their contributions during the year. 

And what a year it has been!

For many, the start of Christmas festivities will be a welcome sign that 2020 is on its way out. Bushfires, lockdowns, the threat of COVID, business closures and more have made this an unforgettable year for all the wrong reasons. 

However, we can’t let our need to shake off the stress become an excuse to forget the risks we still face as a community, which is why it’s important to plan our workplace Christmas parties in a way that is both fun and safe. 

Here are 5 simple tips to help you organise an enjoyable, COVID-safe office Christmas party this December…

1. Encourage team celebrations over company-wide events 

The smaller the event, the easier it is to manage. Instead of a big office bash this year, encourage smaller teams to plan their own celebrations. 

This will inspire stronger ties between team members, and give all staff more of a voice on how they wish to plan their festivities. 

2. Take it outside

Broadening the space for your office Christmas party makes it easier for people to relax and have fun, while still following the COVID guidelines. 

We often forget just how many beautiful outdoor spots we have in the ACT, and an outdoor Christmas party is a great way to explore new places and add a lovely scenic backdrop. 

The National Capital Authority is waiving fees for events held on the National Capital Estate, including Old Parliament House Rose Gardens and Aspen Island. To reserve a space, simply email them at nca.events@nca.gov.au.  

3. Get creative with fancy dress

It’s always incredible to watch how creative some people can be in tough situations. Over the past 6 months, ingenious outfits have been popping up all over the globe which make it easy to maintain the 1.5m social distancing requirements. 

For your office Christmas party, why not invite people to come in fancy dress? Think balloon suits, crazy hats, and crinolines (the under-skirt wireframes women wore in the late 1800s). As long as the materials are safe, there’s no limit to what people could come up with!

4. Less ho ho ho, more no no no

Most people love to drink socially, and in most social contexts it’s rarely a problem. But when it comes to office Christmas parties, open bars and free-flowing alcohol can quickly lead to embarrassing moments and lasting regret. 

Where possible, encourage alcohol-free Christmas parties and let staff save the booze for celebrations with family and friends. Particularly after such a difficult year, frustrations that have been building up over months and months could come out in all the wrong ways when one too many drinks are involved. 

If there is going to be alcohol, try to restrict it a few bottles of beer or bubbly.

5. Keep it clean

All organisations should have a widely understood and well-promoted etiquette for Christmas parties. 

We’ve all seen movies where staff choose the end of year event as the perfect moment to declare their infatuation with a co-worker, or tell their boss how they really feel about them. 

Often this is the result of one too many drinks, but it can also happen when Christmas party culture becomes too informal. 

If anything, COVID social distancing could be the gift that keeps on giving this year by saving people from those embarrassing moments that make for a difficult return to work on Monday morning!

Where you need to share bottled up feelings about your experience at work, tell your GP, psychologist or coach. These are safe spaces that are there to help you resolve difficult situations – and blurting things out in the middle of an end of year celebration isn’t one of them. 

Let the fun begin…

Office Christmas parties are fabulous – and a valuable way of rewarding people for their efforts during the year. Just because we’re all struggling with COVID worries doesn’t mean the fun has to end. All you need to do is think a little outside the box, and you can quickly turn the COVID pain into a COVID gain.

If you’ve had a really tough year at work and want to talk about it, book a free 15 minute coaching session with me. This will give us a chance to get to know each other, and determine if a coaching arrangement is the right fit to help you get back on track for 2021. 

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