How to show appreciation to your staff when you can’t have a party

As 2020 comes to an end, we can probably all agree that it’s time to put a bow on this year and move forward. Finishing out strong with the holidays sounds great but given the pandemic situation and social restraints, those fun and festive holidays will look much different this go round.

While year-end holiday parties are fun and social gatherings, many business owners also see this as an opportunity to celebrate the successes of the past year and show appreciation to the team that made it all possible. Often times, holiday parties turn into the time that employees are given a bonus, a raise, a gift, something in return for their hard work and commitment to their employer.

So if this year doesn’t allow for (or frowns upon) said type of party, what other ways can employees be shown how much they are valued, appreciated and celebrated? Here are a few ideas:

• Virtual get-togethers – we’ve all heard of “Zoom fatigue” and yes, it might be a real thing. However, a virtual holiday party doesn’t just have to be a bunch of small faces on the screen with awkward silence, a stuffy agenda, or difficulties trying to talk over each other. That doesn’t sound fun at all, right? But you can get creative with virtual get-togethers such as a cooking class, a wine tasting, trivia, games, ugly sweater contest, ornament crafting or a white elephant exchange by drawing of numbers.

• Gifts – everyone likes gifts. Even if they say they don’t. They do. Of course you can resort to a gift card that will please everyone but that also feels impersonal… so 2020, right? Although functional and practical, it’s kind of the easy way out. Think along the lines of ear buds given all the Zoom meetings lately, new running shoes for the guy that’s taken up more exercise during the quarantine, a weekend getaway for the person that’s put in the most hours to recharge, or a massage for the working but also stay-at-home-virtual-school-teacher mom.

• Culinary treats – A cake, a ham, a nice bottle of wine… these are all things that most anyone would enjoy but also be able to share and may even lighten the load of their grocery list for the holidays.

Regardless of what you decide, the gesture will be appreciated and it’s understood that this is best we can do at this point in time. Yes, we will miss the social aspect of the party and it won’t feel quite as festive but there’s still a lot to celebrate for the deck we were handed in 2020. For companies that are still surviving, and especially those fortunate enough to be thriving, there’s a lot to be thankful for. And we can look forward to one heck of a holiday party in 2021!

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