In the corporate world, the term B.C. may as well stand for Before COVID. March 2020 and the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic brought once-in-a-lifetime disruptions to office culture, and office occupancy rates remain far below their pre-pandemic peaks. However, 2022 has brought a slow but steady return to at least hybrid office environments, and it seems more likely that a return to a “more” normal office culture is poised to continue over the coming years.
However, for CEOs and managers who are trying out a variety of creative ideas to try and entice their employees back into the office for more days each week, there may be a more traditional option for building back office culture. The office holiday party has always been an important team-building and employee retention strategy in any major corporation, but many companies only dabbled with traditional office holiday party ideas last year as the Omicron wave kept case counts high around the world.
So what can employees and employers alike expect from what is shaping to be a blow-out office holiday party season in 2022? What office holiday party ideas are worth thinking about right now if you are in charge of planning your company’s holiday gathering? And what makes this year different than years before when it comes to the importance of the office holiday party for fostering a positive office culture? Let’s dive into some of the biggest questions here.
Like many other things in a post-pandemic world, one of the biggest reasons to expect a blockbuster office holiday party season is pent-up demand. Unlike goods, services, or more casual events, there is demand from multiple arenas for office holiday parties this year:
Throw in the fact that office holiday parties (unlike retreats, conventions, or other more formal events) offer a relaxed and celebratory environment by nature, and it’s the perfect storm of demand and opportunity. The office holiday party has been a tradition in the corporate world for decades for these reasons, and now the chance to regain some of the pre-pandemic magic offers a reason for anticipation and excitement.
While some holiday party planners may simply try to re-use what worked before the pandemic, we expect a number of big changes in holiday party event management. This is due not only to the still-changing landscape of the office environment in 2022, but also the ever-evolving world of event management platforms and technology that offer new (and creative) planning ideas for holiday party hosts. These include:
In an environment where staffing challenges remain a major concern in a broad variety of industries, the office holiday party offers a major opportunity to increase employee retention and help employees feel valued without major financial commitments. While remote and hybrid options are likely here to stay, especially in industries like tech or content creation, there are some real benefits to encouraging employees to become more connected with the in-person office environment, such as:
While these benefits may seem obvious to many employers, a well-planned and creative office holiday party can achieve them all in a single occasion. This means it’s worth considering allocating more of a budget to your office holiday party planning, brainstorming some new ideas, or soliciting employee feedback to crowdsource a holiday party that people will enjoy – and that will lead to some measurable benefits over the coming year in terms of employee happiness and productivity.
While the calendar may have just turned to October, the holiday party season is much closer than you think. To help your company or business get the most out of your office holiday party this year, you should get started on a few things right away: