2020 has impacted the operation and details of everyone’s lives — Including the holidays. As the holiday season is in full swing, there may be an overwhelming sense of discouragement and disconnection amongst your employees.
Although traditional holiday activities such as large company parties, potlucks and lunches are off the table this year to encourage social distancing, there are still a number of ways to celebrate the holidays safely with your team and nurture a sense of community in your office:
1. Get in the group giving spirit — If your employees are not able to participate in usual company wide activities, look at different ways to feel engaged with each other and the community at large. Large group volunteer activities are mostly postponed this year, but look to see if maybe your staff could all volunteer collectively for one cause — even if it is on different schedules. For example, if your local food bank is looking for volunteers to pass out food or drivers to deliver to homebound seniors, individual employees can participate separately but share photos and stories with each other.
2. Match employee donations to their favorite charity — While this will not be an option for some companies due to financial strain, investigate the idea of a matching program for your staff. If a employee wishes to donate to a local group, support them with a matching donation up to a fixed amount. If your team wishes to support one organization as a group with charitable giving, set up a companywide matching system.
3. Let employees DIY their own holiday decorations — Purchase and deliver something like a DIY ornament kit or home decoration craft for employees to do with their families in their own space. While people may not be able to decorate their office or cubicle this year, they can bring a little bit of the “office holiday spirit” home thanks to their employer.
4. Embrace technology for an office game night — So many people are ‘over’ video calls and Zoom meetings — You’re probably one of them. For the holidays, embrace that technology for something fun. Using ‘share screen’ functions you can host a group event where everyone plays games for prizes — There are multiple online options for interactive things such as Bingo, Scattergories and Trivial Pursuit via Zoom, GoToMeeting or MicrosoftTeams.
5. Create “bubbles” for smaller holiday functions –– Grouping employees either by function or location might allow smaller holiday celebrations where you are not cross-mixing large amounts of individuals. If your operations or sales team already sees each other on a daily basis, look at maybe a small catered lunch at the office or outdoor team-building activity where just those individuals who already work together participate.
6. Focus on health and wellness — Lockdowns and shutdowns mean countless people are missing their favorite gym, workout or activity. Help your employees find alternative ways to fill the void for the holidays. Research your area to see what fitness centers are holding outdoor yoga, meditation or exercise classes and book slots for your team.
7. Encourage individual reflection — While this year has not been fun in any way, shape or form, for many it has been a time to reflect on what is important and goals for the future. Encourage employees to take time to think about their goals for the year ahead — perhaps moving into a new position, getting additional training or education or becoming a mentor to younger staff. Gift your staff things like planners, journals and materials for a vision board, and your organization can use the holiday season is to begin outlining goals and actions for the new year and conceptualize opportunities to come.