At the end of the calendar year, workplace holiday celebrations are experiences that many employees look forward to. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations are evaluating how to engage employees safely this holiday season. Leaders find themselves tasked with deciding whether they
should cancel or postpone celebrations, or offer an amended version that prioritizes safety—with many choosing to offer a virtual holiday party.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR EMPLOYERS
Holiday celebrations can positively impact employee engagement, but benefts should be weighed against other factors such as fnancial costs and concerns over safety. For employers choosing to offer a celebration, an event can be comprised of a variety of activities—with many options that can take place virtually.
These include a:
- Secret Santa gift exchange
- Virtual mixer
- Gingerbread house contest
- Ugly sweater contest
- Holiday karaoke
- Online escape room
- Trivia contest
When hosting a holiday event, employers should make sure to follow best practices, such as:
- Keeping attendance optional
- Keeping events general rather than religious celebrations
- Ensuring employees are aware of policies and expected behaviors
There are a variety of ways that leaders can recognize employees this holiday season, and employers should consider which initiatives are appropriate for their workplace.
CELEBRATING HOLIDAYS SAFELY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
‘Tis the season for holiday planning. Yet, gatherings of families and friends,
crowded parties and travel may put Americans at an increased risk for
COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you carefully consider the spread risk of in-person holiday
Several factors contribute to COVID-19 spreading in group settings. Those include community spread of the coronavirus, event location, event duration, quantity of attendees and the locations where attendees are coming from. It’s also important to consider attendees’ behavior both prior to the gathering and during the celebration.
BEFORE A GATHERING
If you choose to attend an in-person event, consider the following tips prior to the gathering:
- Check whether the host has steps in place to prevent the spread of the
- Bring along supplies like extra masks, tissues and alcohol-based hand
- Avoid contact with people outside of your household for 14 days before the gathering.
Also, it’s important to stay home if you do not feel well or are at a higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19.
DURING A GATHERING
Consider the following tips from the CDC to reduce your risk of being exposed to, contracting or spreading COVID-19 during an in-person event:
- Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from people you don’t live with—and be mindful in areas where it may be harder to do so, such as restrooms and eating areas.
- Wear a mask at all times when around people who don’t live in your household.
- Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
If you want to celebrate the holidays as safely as possible this year, consider
celebrating virtually or with members of your own household.