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COVID-19 has had an impact on every aspect of the workplace in 2020, and the office holiday party is no different.

This year, companies are being forced to think outside the box in order to give employees a memorable holiday experience.


Here are some of the ways companies are celebrating the holidays in 2020.

Virtual Parties

A group of coworkers take part in a virtual holiday party.

In a year with virtual meetings, virtual trainings, and virtual happy hours, it's only natural that companies hold a virtual holiday party. Forbes recently highlighted some companies that are getting creative with their holiday parties.

PayPal - The company is holding a 29-hour holiday party, where all employees can take part in multiple virtual experiences including listening to live bands, cooking or origami classes, and a magic show. The company is also mailing all employees gifts sourced from local businesses.

RooneyPartners - This New York City-based communications firm is holding a virtual holiday party via Microsoft Teams and the company founder enlisted a wine merchant to ship champagne splits to employees (sparkling juices to those who don't drink), to enjoy at the virtual party, which will include employees performing holiday songs and poems, according to Forbes.

Modern Niagara - This Canadian mechanical and electrical contracting company will send its employees $100 eGift cards to order dinner from local restaurants, and then after dinner, employees will log onto the company virtual concert by popular Canadian band Blue Rodeo, followed by a Q&A with band members, according to Forbes.

Culinary Classes

Young professional takes part in an online cooking class.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, some employers are enlisting the help of online culinary platforms to give employees the option of sharing a unique experience with their families.

In these scenarios, employers either ship ingredients or grocery store gift cards to employees, and then employees log onto an online platform, like online culinary school Rouxbe, to take part in a virtual dinner-making event with co-workers or family.

Companies are also considering virtual wine tastings, or other activities where the workforce can log on and learn something new.

High-End Gifts

Many companies are giving employees gift cards and other gifts, instead of holding a office holiday party.

Some companies are purchasing high-end gifts for their workers, including Apple AirPods and self-cleaning water bottles. For some companies, purchasing the high-end gifts for employees is actually cheaper than paying for a large holiday party, according to SHRM.

While not every company can afford high-end gifts, many are still hoping to keep the tradition of gift-giving alive by mailing gift baskets or gift cards.

Keeping It Simple

Come companies hold food drives, or take part in community service, instead of holding an office holiday party.

Companies have been getting creative all year when it comes to bringing the workforce together and having fun. This will likely continue during the holidays as many companies will likely organize small virtual gatherings to celebrate the holidays.

These small gatherings could include virtual happy hours, virtual game nights, or just a short meeting to review and celebrate company accomplishments. Companies may also attempt to incorporate themes into these gatherings, such as ugly sweaters, to make them a little more festive.

Some small companies may even take part in a socially-distanced community service activity instead of doing a holiday party. Popular community service projects for the holidays could include a food or gift drive.

As with anything in 2020, companies will find a way to adjust to the new workplace realities brought on by COVID-19, and start new traditions.


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