TAFEP Hero 2023 Nov
HR guide: How to plan a festive company party amid COVID-19

HR guide: How to plan a festive company party amid COVID-19



With Christmas just around the corner, it's time for HR to come up with ways to celebrate the festive holiday with their colleagues. Especially with the pandemic this year, it's more important than ever to engage employees and show them you care as an employer. One of the major bugbears for the coming Christmas party is the ever-changing social distancing measures and a recent surge of cases. 

Here is a quick guide by Glassdoor on how HR can host an online or offline holiday party amid the pandemic: 


Virtual event: Send around a package of virtual backgrounds that people can use during the celebration, for example, snowy settings for Christmas. HR can also partner with a graphic designer to create custom backgrounds that are branded to the company. Another idea is to organise a virtual background competition. Employees can select or create their virtual backgrounds, and they can vote the best one for the holiday.

Socially distanced in-person event: Consider having pre-printed party kits including everything from games to food packaging designed specifically for the event so the party feels special. 


Virtual event: Send out a playlist in advance so people can stream background music in their own homes. If you're hiring live entertainment for your virtual event, consider hosting different musicians in different breakout rooms.

Socially distanced in-person event: If you happen to be in a place where you can't blast music, there's always the silent disco route. Sanitized wireless headphones can be handed out and hooked up to the same central sound system for an outdoor dance party. 


Virtual event: Reach out to any kind of entertainer you would consider for a live event. Think outside the box a bit as you can hire any acts from anywhere in the world to join in a webinar format such as Cirque du Soleil performers. Just make sure they include a little company branding to make it feel more custom than live-broadcasting a show. 

Socially distanced in-person event: If your event is outdoors and entertainment is on a distant stage, you can consider having guests opt to sign in to a live feed that gives them a closer view of the performance. 

If your budget is tight, consider tapping into the talent of your own employees. A "[Your Company]'s Got Talent" event is a great way to showcase your people, make them shine, and increase engagement across the board.  

Whether you're virtual or socially distanced, don't forget to have a host. 

Games and activities

  • DJ party

  • Socially distanced outdoor silent disco

  • Virtual variety show

  • Comedy act

  • Talent show with bonus points for party-theme-inspired performances

  • Murder mystery

  • Online scavenger hunt

  • Virtual escape room

  • Trivia contest 

Party favours

Prepare a little something for employees to take away from the event such as a printed party invitation, care packages, a small gift box to remind employees of some time well spent with their colleagues.

Another idea is Secret Santa. While employees have to pay for their gifts if they decide to enroll in the game, HR can propose to top management to cover the shipping fees. 

Food and beverage

Virtual event: If you want to ship food or beverage to your work-from-home employees for a holiday party, you've got lots of options. A simple idea is sending out a box of candy or chocolates in a custom box. A more complex and costly idea is to send out a cocktail or meal kit scheduled to arrive a day before the event.

An extra special touch would be allowing people to RSVP for a certain number of people so their family or partner can join in the fun. 

Socially distanced in-person event: Make sure everything should be pre-packaged and served at a distance – or delivered directly to each guest's 6-foot safety bubble. Avoid a buffet. 

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