When we think of the holiday season at the office, we usually plan for ugly sweater parties, a fancy celebration outside of the office, maybe a ‘”Secret Santa” gift exchange, nights out with the team, or other events that bring the full group of team members together.
In this pandemic, employees are craving that sense of togetherness and cheer – especially since many won’t be able to spend time with friends and family.
Obviously organizations cannot celebrate the holidays with their teams the way they typically do. But that does not mean that businesses should not invest in their employees this season.
In fact, employees need support more than ever this year, leaving opportunity for companies to give them just what they need and invest not in a party, but in ways that are more suited to 2020.
Company party – without the party
Holidays are all about coming together and feeling a strong sense of warmth and community. Think outside the box this year, and bring bonding activities and interactive experiences to employees virtually.
What do your employees like to do? That’s the first question you should ask yourself. If you have a small team of foodies, host a virtual cooking class. Send everyone on your team a bottle of wine and all the ingredients they need, and host a cooking class that everyone can sign into from their own home kitchens. The same can be done with a mixology class, too, if your team has a lot of people with sensitive diets or allergies.
Also consider finding ways to delight employees with surprise activities and acknowledgements. A holiday recipe swap can be a fun way to share traditions, or think about setting up a white elephant gift exchange.
If you have a large team or are not sure what your team will appreciate, ask them for ideas. Encourage employees to contribute ideas to the conversation through surveys or by starting a discussion on your next team meeting.
That way, each team member will feel like they participated in planning and will be more engaged and receptive. If you don’t want to make this an agenda item on your next meeting, consider having a submission contest and vote on the best ideas.
Help employees to relax
The holidays can be stressful, and that has all gone up a notch – or many notches – this year. When our schedules get busy and we have a lot on our plates, self-care will often take the backseat.
Encourage your employees to prioritize wellness and give them a reason to put themselves first. A gentle yoga or stretch class, or guided mindfulness sessions, are great ways to bring employees together.
You can also consider getting your team moving with a dance cardio or boot camp class. If your team has a lot of people with very different skill sets or interests, gift cards for wellness classes are a great start.
Also, since companies are likely saving money on the fancy holiday party, use those funds to give everyone a holiday “care package” with a gift card for a week of meals from SunBasket or HelloFresh, a Calm subscription and a yoga mat.
A Peloton bike might be out of budget for many people, so a lot of our clients at HealthKick are giving employees HealthKick credit to use toward their favorite health and wellness brands on their own time.
Even though you can’t have a fancy party this year, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be putting your employees first and celebrating the holiday season with them.
If you take the time to think about what will provide them with the most value, then you’ll know exactly where to invest and how to make this season special for them.