While the Christmas period may be looking different this year in light of the pandemic, new research has indicated that an overwhelming number of employees are longing for workplace festive fun.
Almost three-quarters (72%) of employees say that they have come to realise the value of festive fun, agreeing that it allows them to bond with co-workers.
In addition to this, one-third (34%) said that team festive activities help colleagues to work more effectively and efficiently together. While this may be the case, data has shown that employees haven’t always seen the value in festive fun.
In fact, the research – which was published by O2 Business – found that 39% admitted to previously viewing the annual Christmas knees-up as a mere chance to unwind.
Yet, with the reality of the traditional Christmas party being taken away this year, more than half (54%) said they had underestimated the important role that office Xmas parties play in boosting morale and keeping teams of colleagues connected.
Maria Fernandez, Trading SMB Director at O2 Business, said: “Christmas is traditionally a time of year when employers give something back by organising an event where everyone can let their hair down and have some fun, which in turn has a positive impact on team morale.”
Elsewhere, O2 Business’ data found that 66% of survey respondents said that they would benefit from a festive celebration this year more than ever, with one-quarter (25%) admitting that it would be a shame if there wasn’t some form of an end of year get-together – even though this will likely be virtual.
How can HR create virtual celebrations?
While a lot of the traditional Christmas plans – including annual office knees-ups – won’t be possible this year, business leaders are being encouraged to adapt their usual festive celebrations to suit a more virtual context.
In fact, with previous research finding that nine in ten UK employers will take Christmas parties virtual this year, it is possible that HR will be looking for inspiration of how they can mark the end of 2020 in a meaningful way.
To help with this, O2 Business – in partnership with Gina Brown at Brown Bear Events – shared the following three tips:
1. Team building at a distance
With many employees continuing to work from home and communicating via platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, HR could try creating a video call with a twist. For example, employers could send staff gift boxes – whether this is a wreath-making set or something else that is creative – and teams could virtually do festive activities together.
2. Showing support to staff members
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, employee health and wellbeing has been a top priority for the HR function. So, to ensure that staff feel valued, giving employees access to something that can enhance their health and wellbeing could be a great way to end the year. This could include access to virtual yoga sessions or meditation classes among other things.
3. Saying ‘thank you’
At the end of the year, it is not uncommon for employers to recognise and reward staff for their hard efforts throughout the year. This year has been a difficult year for many so letting staff know that they are valued – whether this is via a token gift or a thank you letter from the CEO – is a good way to boost morale in the workforce.