In a typical office, Christmas party planning is one of those recurring tasks that always gets backhanded to the personnel department.

HR professionals reading this will be aware that, up until a decade or two ago, getting your ‘do’ off to a good start involved nothing more demanding than photocopying invites, ensuring that your local could muster a decent sound system for their upstairs room, and agreeing an appropriate choice of plonk with the landlord. In short, it was a doddle.

Christmas parties (2021-style) are a different kettle of fish. As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, we find ourselves obliged to cope with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. Party organisation is no longer a task for the faint-hearted.

Fortunately, LeavePlanner has some insights to share.

Pandemic partying

For party organisers, COVID-19 is the elephant in the room. The first decision for any business planning a Christmas event will be whether or not to ‘go virtual’.

Opting for an online event eliminates the risk of coronavirus transmission. It can also be a lot of fun. While such topics are beyond the scope of this article, there are any number of guides online that will tell you exactly how to have a wild time on Zoom.

Keeping it real

Of course, many of your colleagues will tell you that there’s no substitute for the ‘real thing’. But make no mistake: if you decide to host a ‘real’ party, you’ll be taking responsibility for the wellbeing of all your staff.

It’s clear that the summer option of an al fresco event is pretty much out of the question. (As I write this, Storm Barra has just transited the UK.)

Since you’ll probably be hosting your party in a warm, busy indoor venue, you might want to call on the services of an on-site security team and/or a ventilation consultant. If the budget won’t stretch, careful use of space and a good general brief ought to be enough to keep things safe.

To earn brownie points for responsible hosting, take some or all of the following additional actions:

  • Require lateral flow tests or vaccination certificates from all the staff who are attending
  • Ban ‘significant others’ and request employees not to publicise the event on social media
  • Designate a ‘staff only’ section within the venue and enforce it strictly
  • Circulate a memo encouraging mask wearing outside the employees-only section, and asking your employers to socialise only within it. (This is also a great way to signal that your event isn’t open to outsiders.)

These initiatives will show that you’ve made a clear commitment to doing things properly. (Rather like choosing to install LeavePlanner software!)

Have a great Christmas and we’ll see you next year.

For any queries, call Steve on 01252 636 070 or email