It’s sure to be a holiday season like no other, but that doesn’t mean it has to be memorable for what it wasn’t. Instead, we believe your company can make the holidays memorable for your employees because of the unique circumstances we face. 

Our first priority is keeping you and your employees COVID-safe over the holidays, and a close second is to help your company grow despite this pandemic. Today we’re sharing some unique ways you can mark the season while keeping your employees and their families safe.

Know your restrictions

COVID restrictions vary from state to state and even county to county. The pandemic is an evolving situation, so it’s critical that you stay well informed of the current restrictions, guidelines, and orders.

Since many companies have shifted to work-from-home, you may need to monitor the restrictions of multiple geographic areas. For example, Divvy’s transition to FlexWork means that we have over 280 employees in 14 states, with differing requirements across state and county lines. Keep things safe and fair by making holiday and year-end activities possible for as many employees as possible. 

No matter what your level of restrictions or budget, there are options for celebrations, gifts, and helping your employees stay safe and mentally well during the holiday season.

Celebrations

A Challenger Gray survey showed that last year, 76 percent of companies nationwide planned to have holiday parties. This year, that number has fallen to 23 percent. A third of this year’s holiday parties will be virtual events. But what would that look like? And what if your company can’t (or doesn’t want to) have a virtual party yet still wants to support your remote workforce

We encourage you to get creative with your COVID-safe holiday celebrations, but here are few suggestions for virtual or in-person gatherings. 

Virtual event ideas

  • Virtual game nights, such as murder mysteries or trivia
  • Online classes, such as a cooking or craft lesson where you send employees materials beforehand and login to participate together
  • Virtual contests, like best tree, ugly sweaters, cake or cookie decorating, photoshop battles, etc. 

In-person events

  • Drive-in Christmas movie on an inflatable screen
  • Single serving catering rather than buffet catering
  • Outdoor activities like ice skating, sledding, light displays, or zoos
  • Set up a Christmas Market in your parking lot with small businesses and local vendors
  • Photobooths for a contactless entertainment and party favor option
  • Entertainment experiences such as a magician, animals, comedian, or other performers

If getting all of your employees to a virtual or in-person event makes a holiday celebration difficult, consider doing a company-wide charity drive or group donations.

Gifts

Many of the usual gifting traditions have become problematic in the age of coronavirus. You’ll want to avoid the physical passing around of gifts (like games of White Elephant), and minimize baked goods or servingware coming from employees’ homes. 

It’s clear that coronavirus is mostly spread through person-to-person airborne contact, but it can still live on surfaces for hours—or days. Here’s how you can give company gifts or run an employee gift exchange safely. 

Digital gifts

We’re a better part of a year into this pandemic, so we’ve all gotten much more acquainted with what the internet can offer. Digital gift giving can work well for company gifts or employee exchanges. Consider these digital gifts for employees and coworkers: 

  • eGift cards
  • Online service subscriptions like Disney+
  • Subscription boxes—there are more options than you could possibly imagine
  • Online classes like Masterclass or music lessons
  • Audiobooks or ebooks

Physical gifts

When it’s possible to safely exchange gifts, make sure everyone has washed hands and sanitized, and keep everyone masked up. You might also consider mailing gifts directly to employee or coworker homes when feasible. 

This year has uncovered new interests and desperate needs, so get creative about the gifts you give to reflect that reality. Cooking and baking has become a lifestyle for many, so kitchen gadgets or cookbooks could be a huge hit. Restaurants have been hard-hit by the pandemic, so consider supporting local restaurants by gifting takeout or delivery meals. Finally, we’ve all spent more time at home than ever before. Reward your employees and coworkers with a useful tool or decoration for their home office, or a plant to brighten their space.

Check out our 2020 Gift Guide for special deals and offers from our customers.

Travel

Use this map to see travel restrictions and quarantine requirements by location

Check restrictions: Make sure all employees are aware of quarantine and COVID-testing requirements they may face when traveling and returning home. 

Encourage driving: Road trips limit exposure and can allow for safer travel compared to air or other public travel. “The advantage of driving is the environment is much more controlled,” said Emory’s Dr. Wu. “Ideally, you’re driving with your immediate family you live with. If you’re picking up folks from other households, that increases the risk someone might be infected and you’re exposed. And it’s a small, tight environment.”

Enforce quarantines or require tests: In order to protect your employees, you might consider a mandatory quarantine or negative tests results before traveling employees return to the workplace. 

General health

Even without the pandemic we’d be thinking about ways to stay healthy during the dreaded flu and cold season. This year it feels even more urgent. Everyone is much more health-conscious, and hopefully, the measures of masking up, social distancing, and frequent hand-washing will keep us healthier. 

We all want our employees to stay healthy and safe, and we also want to keep our business on track without delays due to illness. It’s the perfect time for a refresh on healthy habits that can decrease the risk of catching coronavirus—or anything else. The World Health Organization recommends that you

  • Sanitize surfaces frequently
  • Wear masks whenever you leave your home—even when you don’t have to
  • Get a flu shot
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat a balanced diet, especially vegetables and protein
  • Take a daily multivitamin
  • Boost with an immune supplement like Vitamin C or elderberry
  • Sleep 8 hours a night
  • Get regular physical activity
  • Maintain a consistent eating, sleeping, and exercise schedule
  • Minimize or quit dependance on tobacco, alcohol, or other harmful substances

Remind your employees of your benefits and health insurance offerings, including flu shots, telemedicine, and wellness checks.

Mental health

We cannot afford to ignore the mental health challenges posed by this pandemic. Everyone has experienced stress, anxiety, and fear. The uncertainty and lack of connection has introduced many to newfound mental health issues. A CDC study conducted in June determined that 40% of adults reported struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues related to the pandemic. 

Unfortunately many of your employees may be suffering in silence, especially while working from home. As a company you can make a difference by acknowledging the reality of mental health conditions, and offering support. Provide resources for seeking help, share what mental health benefits your company offers, and encourage frequent check-ins and connections among teams.

Safe for the holidays

As we prepare for this season of celebrations we hope you can find ways to bring your employees together—at least in spirit. The way we survive is together, now more than ever. We wish you a happy holiday and success in the new year.

Divvy believes in seamless teamwork and empowering each and every employee. See how with a Divvy demo.

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