Should companies hold a Christmas party this year?
Most Covid-19 legal restrictions have been lifted and the majority of adults have been vaccinated, so in theory the Christmas party could make a return this year.
We’re expecting demand for Christmas party venues – particularly those well-suited to socially distanced parties and have good transport links – to be high this winter.
For many companies, their Christmas celebration could be the first time all employees have been in the same room for nearly two years, so business leaders might feel it’s time to get everyone together.
It’s also a good opportunity to thank teams and show them that their hard work is valued.
Employees can catch up face-to-face in an informal setting – something that’s hard to replicate via a video conference call.
Plus, many companies who postponed Christmas parties in 2020 may decide to go ahead as venue contracts may not allow them to delay their venue booking again without financial penalty.
Alex Palmer, founder of Kina Events, says:
For some, the standard Christmas party format with a DJ or a disco might feel like too much of a risk, but a conference, business update or awards ceremony – followed by a seated lunch or an evening meal with entertainment – could be good alternatives.
“Events held during the day could also help reduce alcohol intake, and therefore improve the likelihood that any social distancing recommendations are met, and make transport home easier.”
If you’re thinking of holding a Christmas party this year, there are some other important considerations to bear in mind:
- Covid-19 infections are likely to rise over the summer as restrictions lift, and then again in the winter. As a result, there’s a chance restrictions might change between now and December. This makes it harder to plan ahead
- Employers have a legal duty of care to their employees, so you may decide a large gathering is not worth the risk and hold a virtual event instead.
- Not every member of staff will feel comfortable to attend, and we don’t recommend making attendance compulsory. The whole idea is for people to relax and have fun, so there’s no point forcing those who don’t want to be there
- Larger firms could reduce the risk by allowing individual departments to arrange their own smaller Christmas celebrations instead of organising a large company-wide party
- The costs of holding a Christmas party are likely to be higher this year due to extra safety measures, having to book a larger venue to aid social distancing, and venues and associated suppliers may put their prices up to help cover their losses during the pandemic
- It’s unlikely that force majeure clauses and/or event insurance will cover you for last-minute changes or cancellations, so the risk of financial loss is greater
- We recommend ensuring strict Covid mitigation measures in advance of the party (for example lateral flow tests, temperature checks) so the party format can be more ‘normal’ once guests are inside the venue
- Some organisations may decide to hold a party next summer instead of in December – this could be for health and safety reasons, or budgets might stretch further for a non-“Christmas party” package.
- Event suppliers may have gone out of business due to the pandemic, so with fewer of them to service demand in coming months, availability may be harder to come by.
If you have any questions, need further advice or would like some help planning a Christmas party for your business, please contact the Kina Events team on 0207 205 7901 or send us an email.
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