Blog Post

Cartoon Coffee Break: The 2020 Office Holiday Party

Terry LaBan

Cartoonist and Illustrator

Editor's Note: This post is part of our "Cartoon Coffee Break" series. While we take talent management seriously, we also know it's important to have a good laugh. Check back regularly for a new ReWork cartoon.

Across a range of HR efforts, 2020’s "new normal" has presented HR professionals with the opportunity to get creative with strategies for boosting employee morale—and HR’s latest challenge: the holidays, traditionally a time of celebration and end-of-year fun.

As with most social gatherings throughout the year, the office holiday party will look different in 2020. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean yet another Zoom session. Here are a few things to consider when planning your socially-distant office holiday party—or deciding whether or not to even have one:

Why Are You Throwing a Party? Before you go all out on one idea, make sure to identify the goals of your holiday party. If you’re looking to provide a sense of normalcy, maybe try sticking to some tried and true company traditions. If you’ve recently hired new employees, you might want to throw some team bonding activities into the mix.

Will It Be IRL or Online?Of course, the first thing to consider is whether or not you’ll be innovating-from-home this holiday season. This will largely depend on geographic location—maybe consider how many layers are needed for employees to have fun. Climate aside, many companies have found creative ways to host outdoor gatherings that are both safe and fun.

Managing Schedules in 2020. As always, the holiday party needs to work with everyone’s schedules. If a babysitter has been consistently difficult to find for you and/or employees, it might be best to hold your celebration during work hours.

Centering Around The Main Attraction. In-person or on Zoom, try to find something that your employees can focus on instead of just relying on small talk. Whether that means making something (cocktails, cookies, etc), going on a hike, holding a tasting, exchanging gifts, or simply playing a game—make sure you’re not just catching up.

Building a More Human Workplace

Boosting employee morale this holiday season is as important as ever and, if an office holiday party is a company tradition, it can be a great opportunity to lift the team’s spirits. Not only does increased employee well-being boost organizational performance in the short-term, but it also helps build a more human workplace—something that will be increasingly important for companies looking to attract top talent in the long-term.

For more reading on how companies are adjusting to the new normal, check out this interview with Cornerstone’s Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer Heidi Spirgi and HR thought leader and host of the PunkRock HR podcast Laurie Ruettimann.

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