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Covid-style Christmas

With the uncertainty of COVID-19 still looming large it is impossible to know for sure what Christmas will look like in 2020. One thing is certain though, and it’s that 2020 will be unlike any festive season we have known before. At the very least we will all be practicing social distancing, using hand sanitiser, staying home with the slightest hint of a sniffle and congregating in much smaller groups.

So, what do you need to know in order to safely celebrate the end of a year we’d all rather forget?

As it stands right now employers in Queensland can host a Christmas party for their staff, although they may not be able to afford the traditional “blow out” of years past. Whatever you decide it will need to be governed by COVID-19 guidelines.

covid19.qld.gov.au states the restrictions on businesses, activities and undertakings imposes the same requirements in relation to both indoor and outdoor events, however those who choose to host an event may be more inclined to choose an outdoor venue with fresh air as opposed to a typical bar or restaurant setting.

Business owners looking to host a Christmas event must adhere to the requirements set out in the Queensland Government Industry Framework for COVID Safe Events. The Framework includes a “Decision Tree” which enables organisers to identify if and how they can proceed with their event under Stage Three of the Roadmap and beyond. The key points to consider are:

  1. Ensuring the event is governed by an approved COVID Safe Industry, Site-Specific or Professional Sporting Code Plan
  2. Determining if a ratio of four-square metres per person can always be maintained across the event site,
    or a ratio of two square metres per person (up to a total of 50 people) for venues or spaces of 200 square metres or less
  3. Determining if the event requires approval from the Queensland Chief Health Officer or a Queensland Public Health Unit via submission of a COVID Safe Event Plan, or alternatively whether it can proceed based on adherence to the COVID Safe Event Checklist, based on the scale and risk characteristics of the event – the good news is events with less than 500 people on site can proceed without approval from Queensland Health whilst following the COVID Safe Event Checklist!

If a catered venue isn’t in the budget, another option for businesses is to organise a Christmas party at a private residence, business premises or in a public space such as a park and this will allow for a maximum of 30 people. Bring the wine and cheese, crack open a bottle of bubbles and toast to the year that was – theoretically it is possible to have an office Christmas party if appropriate consideration is taken.

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate, making the time to do it is very important for many reasons including:

  1. Saying THANK YOU! Christmas parties are a great
    way to recognise your staff and let them know they have done a great job throughout the year – especially this year
  2. Fun. We spend most of the year interacting in a professional manner with our colleagues, but every so often it’s nice to just have fun with them. Take a break from talking about spreadsheets and deadlines and use the time to get to know one another better.  For many businesses, there are entire departments that exist under the same roof but barely have anything to do with one another. Everyone will benefit from the company becoming closer, so providing an opportunity for everyone to mingle is crucial
  3. Motivation. Office Christmas parties act as a special break for your staff and they will feel a lot more motivated when they return to work after the party. It can be easy to become unmotivated as the year drags on, but a party gives staff something to look forward to
  4. Company Reputation. Having a party for your staff can often help to enhance the reputation of the company by showing you care and are grateful for their hard work. In turn they will tell their friends and family and your reputation as a great place to work will improve. Parties emphasize team spirit and help to retain your company employees presentingi n environment they want to work in

Go Virtual!

If it all seems too much after an already hectic year perhaps, you’d like to do something a little different.

How about a virtual work Christmas party? This is one of the more convenient office Christmas party ideas and is great if you’re looking for an event that is more affordable. kiwihr.com suggests keeping the party fun
by including ideas like online secret Santa. You can still host the traditional Secret Santa and deliver a secret present via post to a workmate. 2020 has seen everyone become an expert at online shopping and there are plenty of apps which make the perfect gift a click away. Just remember to include a price guide!

Continue the festivities with a virtual karaoke party.
Log on to Zoom with friends and test out your vocal cords or download Smule; the social singing app that allows you to connect with friends and enjoy millions of karaoke songs.

So, break out the personal protective gear and get the party poppers ready. We all deserve to let off some steam, enjoy a glass of champagne and toast to our resilience in a year that presented so many challenges.

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