How to Plan a Safe Holiday Work Party This YearHosting a company holiday party is a great way to bond with your team. At JOHNLEONARD, each year we look forward to our holiday party. It is a highly anticipated day where the whole office can get together and celebrate our accomplishments at the end of the year, create new memories, and have fun with our colleagues.

Due to COVID-19, there is still uncertainty as to what company holiday parties will/ should look like this year. Whether your office is working remote, hybrid, or on-site, you can still gather safely and celebrate this holiday season. Here are tips to help you throw a socially distance-friendly and COVID-safe party.

Get feedback from employees first

Conducting an internal survey is a great way to gain feedback and learn how your employees feel about an in-person event. The most important thing is to listen to employees’ needs and concerns and then make a decision based on their responses. If the majority of people are not comfortable having an in-person party, consider a virtual one or other alternatives.

If you do host an in-person event, decide what you want to do about the people who are not comfortable with it. Will the party be optional? Does everyone need to show their vaccination card or proof of negative COVID test before entering the party? Iron out all of these details before sending out any holiday invite.

Limit Party Attendance

Typically in a COVID-free world, a company holiday party is a great time for an employee to include their families or ask a significant other to join them. In today’s circumstances, if you are having an in-person party it is best to limit the attendance to employees only. Many people are still avoiding large groups of people who are not in their direct social circle so in this case, the smaller the party the better.

Find ways to limit exposure 

When hosting a holiday party this year stay away from the buffet or family-style meals. Instead, opt to serve individual meals to limit the transmission of germs that can occur when using the same utensils. Get creative with the menu or see if the venue will allow you to create a signature cocktail or dessert.

If possible, try finding a venue outdoors with fresh air. A lot of restaurants have found creative ways to seat groups outdoors by providing dining options in cozy igloos or huts or on retractable roofs with heat lamps and fire pits. If you are unable to host your event outside, consider a private dining room so you limit your exposure to outside people. Ask to only seat a certain number of guests at each table and rearrange the room so it is socially distance-friendly. Be sure to book your venue ASAP, as places will book quickly as the holidays approach. Here’s a sampling of some of the best places in and around Boston to book a semi-private space or private dining room, or to do a full restaurant buyout.

Virtual Holiday Party

For organizations that are still working fully remote and do not want to miss out on celebrating the holidays, consider hosting a virtual party. You can still be festive via Zoom by playing themed games and getting dressed up in holiday attire. You can even play Secret Sender  where you mail a coworker a gift and have them open it during the party. There are plenty of fun, creative ideas to celebrate via Zoom.

How to Plan a Safe Holiday Work Party This Year (1)Most importantly, enjoy this holiday season no matter what your organization decides to do this year. We all have been through a lot this year and deserve to have a relaxing, fun time celebrating and spending quality time with our team members. Cheers! 


For more workplace and company culture tips, subscribe to The JOHNLEONARD Blog!