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How to Celebrate and Say “Thanks” This Holiday Season

5 Tips to Address and Help Employees Manage 2020 Holiday Stress

As we head into the holiday season, this year will close out like none other. While your company may have certain holiday traditions, whether that be a gift swap, cookie exchange, or a holiday party, likely you’re going to have to do something different this year. Couple that with zoom and pandemic fatigue and the holidays become even more challenging for employers. The question on many employers’ minds is, how can we effectively celebrate the end of what has no doubt been a difficult year and show gratitude to our employees?

As you start to think about ways you can celebrate, below are some thoughts to keep in mind:

  1. Make it Optional

  2. Generally, if a workplace function is mandatory, employees must be compensated for their time. Depending on the number of employees, enforcing and tracking attendance may be difficult. With this in mind, it can simply be easier to make the party optional. That said, in a time when many people feel a lack of control, being able to control the decision whether or not to attend is something within employees’ control and is likely to be met with positivity versus feeling required to attend another zoom function.

  3. Keep it Festive

  4. There are many arguments concerning the appropriateness of observing one holiday over another. For instance, some workplaces may favor a “Christmas party” over a more inclusive celebration. However, focusing on the holiday spirit—and avoiding religious celebrations—can help avoid unwanted employee divisions or discrimination suits.

  5. Get Creative

  6. Zoom fatigue is real! That doesn’t mean that you can’t use zoom for your festivities but think about how you can be creative and utilize the technology. Regardless of whether you are remote or in-person, the options below can be adapted to work either way!

    • Theme days for in-person or remote work - i.e. ugly holiday sweater
    • Theme weeks between Thanksgiving / New Year’s spotlighting mental, physical, and financial wellness tips
    • Compiling a recipe book of fun holiday recipes
    • Virtual gift exchange – for those remote, there are websites that can assist with implementation
    • Elf on the shelf/Mensch on a Bench picture sharing - where's your elf/mensch today?
    • Company match for local charitable contributions
    • Sending care packages to physical locations with treats
    • 12 Days of Christmas raffle
    • Trivia challenges or competitions
  7. Be Interactive

  8. For many employees, it’s been difficult to feel connected with their co-workers this year. For those on-site, there may be safety precautions that prevent what used to be normal interactions, while those working remotely may find it difficult to connect in a virtual world. Interacting with co-workers is vital to keeping that connection and can be done safely in-person or virtually. There are many services that have pivoted their usual offerings and now offer remote events such as comedy shows, wine tastings and painting or cooking classes. Consider what your employees might enjoy and appreciate and engage them in an informal, casual way.

  9. Appreciate Holiday Stress

  10. We can’t have a discussion about holiday celebrations without talking about the stress it causes for many. This year may be especially difficult for those who can’t be with family. While many look forward to the holidays, others dread the season. If someone feels stressed, the obligations at holiday time can take their toll on even the most cheerful of people.

This year, paying attention to your local and state pandemic guidelines around gatherings will be especially important to keep everyone safe. Additionally, keep an open and inclusive approach to the holiday season to ensure all employees feel equally celebrated. No doubt, the end of 2020 is cause for celebration!

Discover other ways of elevating the employee experience this season and check out the recent blog post: Easing Employee Stress During Trying Times.


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