While you can’t celebrate the holidays with your employees in traditional ways, there are many creative options to spread joy, boost spirits, and say ‘thank you’ after a tough year.
As COVID-19 rates surge throughout the country, medical experts and others are discouraging large gatherings such as parties. No doubt, you want to recognize the hard work of your teams and treat them to some fun and R&R; but you’ll have to find alternatives to traditional holiday parties.
Here are a few ways you can let your workers know you care this holiday season:
- Don’t force the holiday spirit. It’s been a difficult year for most people. Acknowledge that this holiday will be different and be understanding if workers are more subdued or withdrawn. At the same time, check in with everyone personally, find out what they need, and do your best to be accommodating. For instance, set up a food pantry for those employees in need or use a gift exchanges to enable workers’ children to get toys and clothing. Remind staff about mental health benefits and encourage them to seek help if they are depressed, anxious, or stressed out.
- Demonstrate gratitude meaningfully. Since you won’t be spending money on parties, consider giving staff more personalized, thoughtful, and higher-end gifts. These might include Bluetooth earbuds, luxury gift boxes, gift cards for a nice restaurant, or a subscription for home delivery meals.
- Consider restoration. After this difficult year, your employees may need time to recharge. When staffing is short, it may be challenging to give workers time off; but you can do little things like having no video calls on Fridays and Mondays or no meetings on Friday afternoons. If full days off aren’t possible, give people some free mornings or afternoons. Let them come in late or leave early when possible.
- Give employees a say in celebrations. Encourage your teams to celebrate safely in ways that bring them joy. For instance, instead of a cookie exchange, give out bags with recipes and all the necessary ingredients to make different kinds of treats. Have a sanitized Zoom room that workers can use to connect with loved ones, or organize socially distant, masked caroling.
Not being able to be with family and friends for the holidays, while worrying about work pressures and personal finances, could make the 2020 season of love difficult for many. While you’re helping others through this trying time, don’t forget self-care. Treat yourself to a special gift, spend time with your kids or your pets, pick up the phone and call an old friend, or find other ways to be happy. Then model this optimistic mood for others. A little joy can go a long way, even in the midst of a pandemic.