Holding a Christmas party in the office amidst the pandemic? Such a crazy idea, isn’t it? It’s not that crazy, if the HR team knows how to handle it.
In a Q&A with HR expert Johnny C. Taylor, a company would love to hold their annual holiday party and encourage every employee to attend. Yet, some workers might refuse due to vaccine unavailability. At this point, Taylor advised to consider a few things in relation to employers and employee concern.
On the employee’s side, since they are often allotted one additional guest to the party, which makes social distancing harder to maintain, it is better to have their medical conditions checked. Employees should also be blunt about their family conditions and let their employers know immediately.
On the employer’s side, they should always follow the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Employers should also have a responsibility to provide a reasonably safe environment for their workforce, added Taylor. This means that gathering people en mass is a no-no choice.
However, pandemic is not the reason for employers to not celebrate their winning. If the idea of adding another Zoom call with colleagues seems unappealing, do not underestimate the value of a bit of holiday cheer, said management professor Vijaya Venkataramani.
The year has been crazy with unprecedented challenges and we all want to find something to celebrate, added Venkataramani. Therefore, giving an effort to have an organisational-wide party is not wrong. This opportunity can also be held to celebrate and appreciate all the hard work your employees have done to your organisations. The party could also mean to show that you value one and each of your people, despite all the challenges they faced.
See also: Working From Home: 4 Fun Activities to Break Up the Day
Water-cooler conversation or launch outings could be hard to do amidst the pandemic. But there is always a chance to not talk about work and just get to know each other as normal human beings and not just as colleagues who work on a project together. A festive atmosphere can do that.
Venkataramani suggested a safe outdoor activity. Create a small group of people and plan a socially distant outdoor activity, such as scavenger hunt, a round of golf or a hike. Employers can also try to get buy-in from the team on the activity in advance. Consider a democratic process and organise an activity that the majority agrees on. But if some people feel uncomfortable just like Taylor’s story, you should give them a pass.
See also: Protecting Employee’s Mental Wellbeing Through COVID-19: An Interview with Raymond Lew, CEO of Sun Life Malaysia