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The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and it will certainly look different in 2020. While it’s easy to see the ways your business will need to adapt to keep up with your customers, it’s critical that you also consider the experience for your employees. Social distancing guidelines are continually changing but are consistently preventing any large gatherings, which means no holiday office party.

People crave connection during the holiday season and spend more time with friends and loved ones in person than at any other point in the year. Especially during such an isolating time, that feeling is stronger than in past years, and this is even more reason for employers to get creative with holiday experiences for their staff. While in-person gatherings are not possible, other options still infuse some holiday spirit while socially distanced.

Regardless of how employees adjusted to working remotely in 2020, the holidays will bring new challenges and feelings resulting from gathering restrictions. By taking the time to celebrate your employees it reiterates how important and valued they are by your organization.

We gathered some of the ways that brands are celebrating the holidays this year that your company could consider when building your plans for your employees.

Holiday Music Playlists

Sometimes the simplest things can have the most significant impact. If your employees listen to music throughout the day, this is a quick and easy way to recognize that and help shift their mood. Sending out a Spotify or Apple Music playlist to commemorate the season switches things up and can make people feel more connected to each other.

Gift or Card Exchange

The biggest thing missing from the holidays in 2020 will be connecting with coworkers, especially those you haven’t seen in a while. The holiday office party is often a great excuse to connect with friends on other teams. This year, try randomly connecting your employees across the organization and encourage them to send each other a small gift or note to reconnect those relationships.

Casual (and Digital) Gatherings

If your business utilizes video conferencing software, like Microsoft Teams, creating digital gatherings is simple and efficient. Set aside a week where you place many different meetings on the calendar to encourage your employees to socialize with each other. You can center these around a time of day or a theme to differentiate each option.

Cash Bonuses

While cash bonuses are not always a popular option for conveying your employees' value and importance, this year might be different. As a result of COVID-19, some of your people could be facing financial stress more than in previous years – a cash bonus might mean the world to them.

Send Festive Treat Boxes

This time of the year tends to have a medley of indulgent treats. If your organization is looking for a physical embodiment of your appreciation, a simple treat box is a fun and festive option. Consider working with local organizations to customize the gift and make it that much more meaningful.

Sponsored Holiday Happy Hour

COVID-19 brought a different kind of appreciation for happy hours. If your employees are among those who have found themselves enjoying happy hour more regularly from home, this could be a great option to encourage gathering. Providing a budget for your employees to purchase drinks for attending or sending out a drink kit is a great way to show a little extra spirit.

Themed (and Digital) Office Party

The physical office party is no longer possible, but scheduling a company-wide afternoon off and creating a digital event is a good alternative. Instead of just having a big Teams or Zoom call, create different themes, and offer breakout rooms to provide new spaces for connection. A digital holiday party also gives your employees a mental break from work to enjoy socializing.

Sponsored Digital Experiences with a Kit

It can be hard to include your employee's families in holiday festivities. Some companies invite spouses or entire families to the holiday event, but in a digital environment, that is much different. Engaging your employees in a digital experience – such as a cooking or crafting class that comes with a recipe or assembly kit – could be an option that includes the whole household. These experiences can be found online from various vendors.

The Impact is in the Effort

Your employees have put in the work this year. They have had to make compromises and sacrifices but continue to show up and do their jobs. Showing your appreciation and recognition for their efforts is critical, and special effort during a unique holiday season will have a lasting impact.

The effort you put into making your employees feel valued during this unique holiday season will likely offer valuable returns in employee satisfaction and morale. These factors will benefit your internal operational efficiency and have a positive impact on customers.

At Avtex, we know the power of exceptional experiences. People remember how you made them feel, and your community will thrive if you take the time to send a clear message. Make it clear that you see all the work they put in in 2020 and celebrate them by making this time as special as you can from a distance.

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