Remote Christmas Parties

Posted in : HR Updates ROI on 11 November 2020
Caroline McEnery
The HR Suite
Issues covered: Discipline and Grievance; Policies and Procedures; Pay and Conditions

The Company Christmas party is such a magical time of the year, and 2020 shouldn’t be any different. It presents an ideal opportunity for employers to become inventive as their workforce may be working remotely due to COVID-19. The Christmas party offers employees the opportunity to socialize and enjoy the Christmas season together. Therefore, as an employer it’s time to become creative and treat your team to a Virtual Christmas event which can bring the experience to their remote working set up. 

A well-organized Christmas party can lift morale, motivation and can promote team unity. The Christmas party is also a time for the management team and employers to show recognition for the work well done by the company and its staff. Creating personal connections outside of the work environment can help improve the general atmosphere and the attitudes displayed in the workplace.

However, at the best of times the planning that is required to ensure that the event is successful and managed responsibly is not given adequate time or thought and now with the restraints the Pandemic posses its important to factor in a solution that suits the company and ensure participation from all involved.

For staff working remotely this presents an ideal opportunity to control what theme or event, the employer decides upon. From ideas such as virtual quiz’s with Christmas music playing in the background, virtual Christmas dinner cook offs, virtual holiday decorating, virtual holiday bingo and winter cocktail party. All of these amazing ideas can be pre planned by management and the management team can ensure a goodie box gets delivered to each employee prior to the event.

In past years people are always busy at this time of year and companies fall into the routine of booking the same venue as previous years without giving the event much thought. Now that the Pandemic has more than likely prevented the usual venue being booked, we think you can become creative for one of your most important events of the year in relation to staff engagement and motivation.

In order to make sure that you have a safe and well-received party we would recommend some careful preparation even with the remote aspect.

Before the Party:

  • Planning - With regard to planning the event, we would advise getting input from the staff on what they would like to do – a quick employee survey can allow staff to give their input and ensure that you are using your investment in the correct way.
  • Safety - It is important to remember that employers can be held liable for incidents that happen at Christmas parties, even if the party is offsite and out of hours. Once the arrangements for the Company Christmas Party have been organised, take the opportunity (perhaps in your email communication about the event) to remind staff that this is a company event and for everyone’s enjoyment to be mindful that all company policies and procedures apply especially in relation to conduct on the night. Although the event is held virtual and more than likely in the employees home the company need to ensure it is management appropriately.
  • Dignity/Harassment- Review the “Dignity at Work” policy and ensure that it clearly states the employer will not tolerate bullying, harassment or sexual harassment. The policy should state that it includes work-related social events and any organized virtual events also.
  • Logistics– Ensure that each employee has working WIFI and the resources needed to participate in the virtual event. 
  • Alcohol - Staff should ideally be reminded that alcohol must be consumed responsibly at Company Parties - this also means that employees consuming alcohol in their own homes must be done with a sense of responsibility; that under no circumstances are they to drink and drive for their own and others safety.
  • Social Media - You may also consider reminding staff that if they are engaging in social media tools that they should respect their colleagues and managements privacy. It may be useful to reissue the Company Social Media Policy and to inform all in attendance that they are not permitted to post images of others without their consent. It may also be advisable to request that no videos are posted. 
  • Employee inclusion - Keep in mind that Christmas is a Christian celebration and is not observed by every religion. Although some employees may not celebrate Christmas, these employees should not be discriminated against and should be given the choice to attend the Virtual Company Party. Ensure that all your workforce is included and consider referring to the party as an “End of Year” party if you think the word Christmas in non-inclusive. If an employee does not want to attend the Company Christmas Party, due to personal or religious beliefs, this choice should be respected by the employer.
  • Brief the Management team - Advise Management not to discuss issues relating to salaries, performance, career prospects or serious HR issues at the event, especially if alcohol has been taken.

A good option to ensure that you communicate all relevant points to employees is to send an email in advance setting out clear written guidance. It is important to keep the tone light as this is a positive announcement and to advise that you are including important safety notices to ensure all employees enjoy the event.

           

This article is correct at 11/11/2020
Disclaimer:

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Caroline McEnery
The HR Suite

The main content of this article was provided by Caroline McEnery. Contact telephone number is +353 66 710 2887 / +353 86 775 2064 or email info@thehrsuite.com

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