Christmas carols and mince tarts have appeared at the supermarket and ads are appearing on tv highlighting the deliciousness of hams and the joy of giving. Yep, that’s right, Christmas is coming at us like a freight train and will be here in less than seven weeks. Oh my…..
With all the uncertainty about lockdowns and density quotas you may not have sorted out your end of year function and if that’s the case, we have some thoughts for you to consider….
It’s been a bloody hard year for many of us with everyone facing some sort of challenge in varying degrees either mentally, financially, socially or a combo of all three. For that reason, it is even more important to acknowledge the end of 2021 and look to the greener pastures of 2022.
For businesses that have been directly impacted by the stay-at-home orders, a key element in helping your business reboot is reconnecting your teams. We all know that the office landscape has changed forever with increased flexibility following the great work from home experiment that COVID-19 delivered. But now more than ever, you need to find the opportunities to bring your team together to keep the connections thriving and underscore a positive workplace culture that will help your people and business heal after a such a tough year.
Key to us all being able to get together is the stay-at-home orders lifting in affected states as vaccination rates hit key targets as per the national plan. Now we not only have the opportunity to bring the team together, but we also have choices as to what we can do. Density limits are lifting meaning bigger groups can attend but you will need to keep in mind that vaccination certificates will need to be shown in many places as part of their compliance requirements. Whether your business is or isn’t a mandated industry, or you have chosen to require vaccination of your employees or not, or you have allowed exceptions for team members who work 100% remotely, then you will need to factor this into your event planning. COVIDSafe plans are still applicable even at an end of year work shindig!
Something to bear in mind is that you may have team members who are apprehensive about socialising or attending venues where they may cross paths with strangers. While we need to start moving forward as a nation, we also need to consider that not everyone has had the same experience or has the same health considerations when it comes to Covid and there may be valid reasons for their hesitancy. As such, it might be worthwhile surveying your team as to what they would enjoy doing as a team celebration. Be clear that you will have the final say and that everyone needs to understand that there will need to be consideration given to an option preferred by the majority if consensus is not reached. As the old saying goes, you cannot keep all of the people happy all of the time so don’t twist yourself in knots trying. Your ultimate goal is to deliver an activity or outing that will be fun for all and generally everyone will find something to enjoy and appreciate.
At HR Staff n Stuff, we believe the key to end of 2021 celebrations is allowing your team to gather in an environment where they can reconnect by chatting and relaxing together. This will allow you to start 2022 with a stronger sense of team unity while allowing your crew to join together and kick 2021 to the curb. So that rules out a heavy metal concert mosh pit….. (in our opinion lol)
There are so many amazing options available. Local restaurants, pubs or cafes where you can book a long table or a private room – or the whole venue if your team is large and your budget allows. Wineries in surrounding regional areas are easy to access and, like businesses in metropolitan locales, they are crying out for customers to return as they too rebuild their way out of the pandemic impact. For those who like to drop in an activity there’s rock climbing, roller skating (yes, that’s right), go karting, paint ball, tree challenges, virtual reality and escape rooms to name but a few options all of which can drive a form of team unity. Remember to allow time for reconnection and chatter and not just the physical activity though, so your team can mingle with the broader group.
The pandemic has ravaged the finances of many businesses so if gala style end of year function is out of reach, there are other options that will help you bring your team together. Consider perhaps a BBQ in a park where your team can play a game of cricket or just sit in a camping chair and enjoy each other’s company while partaking in a snag and some salad. Maybe you want to consider having something at the office or factory. You could organise a local business to cater or fire up the barbie and you have yourself a party.
The focus of any party should be about fun but as HR consultants, we need to remind business owners that you have responsibilities as to alcohol consumption and appropriate behaviour when it comes to a Christmas or end of year function. We know we sound like party poopers, but this reminder serves only to protect your people and your business so if you are unsure as to how to communicate expectations around the fun, call the HR Staff n’ Stuff team and we’ll guide you through a solution that best suits your circumstances.
Our final point when it comes to end of year parties is to highlight the need for you to decide and/or communicate any shutdown periods you are planning. It’s been a big year and many businesses will have teams that haven’t been able to take a proper break for some time. If you are shutting down, get the information out asap so your people can organize their family reunions, getaway bookings, or any of the other things they have missed out on during this year. The more notice you can provide, the better. If you aren’t shutting down, you also need to communicate this information and have an approach determined for managing annual leave requests over the summer period.
In the meantime, HR Staff n’ Stuff are here to answer any questions you have regarding Christmas parties and shutdowns. And yes, we too are looking forward to getting our crew together and chatting and laughing together as we finally get the opportunity to be together once more. Come on down 2022!
The HR Staff n' Stuff team all contribute to our blogs. Enjoy the read!