Five things to consider when organising a remote work Christmas party

With Christmas around the corner but social distancing still in place, Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula, offers advice to employers planning remote work Christmas parties.

Christmas Party

What do employers need to consider when organising a remote work Christmas party?

Christmas is usually a time of cheer and celebration, and the perfect way for employers to incorporate this in the workplace is by organising a Christmas party for their staff. However, things will have to be a little different this year due to the ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and social distancing.

While the easiest and cheapest option for employers is to not go ahead with their annual festive plans, in the spirit of keeping Christmas alive some may choose to organise a remote party. There are, however, some important things that employers should be consider:

1. Make virtual Christmas parties optional

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for employers to keep their employees’ wellbeing in mind, much more than ever before. However, even with something that can be considered a ‘treat’ for employees, some may have been struggling with work-related stresses and may not want to partake in a Christmas party this year. It’s therefore a good idea that remote parties should be optional.

2. Cater for everyone

Employers should ensure that those in attendance do not feel excluded from any activities during the party. For example, if an employee does not drink alcohol and a virtual wine tasting activity makes up the bulk of the event, such a person would not be able to contribute to the fun and may feel left out. Therefore, it may be better for employers to ensure that there is a wide range of activities available that cater to the individuals who are attending. 

3. Put boundaries in place

When the activities have been finalised, it’s in the best interest of the company to send out emails to attendees and potential attendees. It should detail what is expected of them at the event and highlight that the same conduct is expected of them at a remote party as it would be at an in-person event. It should also outline that the same disciplinary procedures would apply in a situation where an employee commits a form of misconduct during the event. 

4. Highlight processes

Similarly, employees should be made aware that the same grievance produce applies to ensure that if company rules are broken by an employee or a grievance with the company itself, the affected employee will be able to raise this with the company.

5. Explain social media rules

Finally, while employees can use their social media accounts in their own personal time, including at work social gatherings, employers must ensure that the use of social media should be done in a manner that does not adversely affect the company’s reputation.

To conclude, remote parties are the perfect way to ensure that social distancing rules are adhered to and that employees are rewarded for their efforts. However, there should be a mutual sense of responsibility on the part of the company and its employees.

About the author

Kate Palmer is HR Advice and Consultancy Director at global employment law consultancy at Peninsula.

See also

Employment law: what to expect in 2021 and beyond

When does the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme end?

What is flexible working?

Find out more

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Social Distancing (GOV.UK)

Image: Getty Images

Publication date: 24 November 2020

Any opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and the author alone, and does not necessarily represent that of The Gazette.