Why you should hold a Christmas event this year and how to ensure it’s COVID-19 safe
This year has kept teams apart, shaken up entire industries and disrupted workforces in a way that will change the business landscape for good. And that - says Marianne Edmonds - is why keeping the tradition of the staff Christmas party has never been more important.
The Director of LOUD Events in Brisbane helps businesses big and small develop and deliver events for their workforce and, despite the added challenges, this year’s no different.
“This year in particular, I would say it’s imperative to the corporate community to celebrate and regroup,” Marianne says.
“It’s been particularly tough for many industries whether it’s the disconnection of staff, work from home or adapting to COVID-19 business as usual.
“This is an opportunity to come together as a group to celebrate the year that was and look towards the year ahead.”
Marianne also points to the event industry that’s gone through a difficult time due to the COVID-19 gathering restrictions.
“Of course, it’s also going to help support venues, the wider industry and small suppliers who have had to close for eight months,” she says.
Shake up the classic Christmas party event
While in the past it’s been commonplace to pack a couple of hundred people into a venue and put on a bar tab, this year business leaders will need to think outside the box for their team’s or clients’ Christmas parties.
“The hardest thing is finding space that will allow the capacity of a large event - you used to have a venue that could do 100, now you would need one that can hold 400 to host an event for 100 people,” Marianne says.
She’s referring to the 4-square-metre rule required for any indoor events. Outside, this changes to 2 square metres.
“The other thing is the restriction on dancing - but there’s other ways for corporates to engage their workforce and have fun,” she says.
Marianne points to some of the events that LOUD has helped corporates deliver in the lead up to Christmas. She says for indoor events you can do seated dining, trivia and more table-based games.
“It’s about interaction and keeping people entertained,” she says.
“One way that organisations are managing to get their whole workforce involved is by breaking them up into smaller groups – by team or branch or even what side of the city they live on. And it doesn’t have to be the normal evening-type event either, we’re seeing a lot more people opting for lunches this year.”
As for ditching the classic standing bar-tab style events (remember, dancing still isn’t allowed in Queensland), Marianne suggests getting a bit creative with the run of events.
“We booked out a venue for a 45-person sit down event with 4-course degustation and we brought in a sommelier to talk through the wines and why they went with the dishes.
“Another example is an awards night we helped to deliver for 130 people when we had to sit. We made it work with stools and beers and we played a type of networking game where they moved around with their stools.”
If indoor doesn’t sound right for your team, Marianne says to consider outdoor activities.
“There’s some great activities you can do outdoors like lawn games and a gourmet barbecue. Outdoors you only need 2 square metres per person so that opens up your options quite a bit.”
Keeping it COVID-safe
Holding events in Brisbane is welcomed by the Queensland Department of Health, which provides a COVID-safe checklist for event planners to complete. Marianne says that for most people, it’s just a matter of filling this in, which will take about half an hour. Other than that, she says it’s a matter of common sense.
“If you’re holding an event during this time, you need to be putting hand sanitiser out, making sure everyone registers for the event, keeping surfaces clean - which the venue should do,” she says.
“You also need to ensure someone at the venue has had COVID-safe training. Most of these checklists can be done in half an hour, and most venues will do it for you.”
Another element in hosting COVID-safe events is in the communications in the lead up to, and during the event. Marianne says there’s a few simple things that will help to put event organisers’ and attendees’ minds at ease.
“In your pre-event comms you can share the COVID-safe event checklist, and let everyone know the measures you’ll be taking to ensure the event is safe to attend,” she says.
“At the event, you should be seen to be doing everything you can. Minimise touch points at events, have delegates pick up their own lanyards, touch-free check-in and so on.
“Ensure there’s visual cleaning - if there’s audio announcements someone should be visually cleaning the microphones. And in your verbal comms on the day, remind people to socially distance visually and make sure that people know you have their health in mind.” Marianne says of all the years, it’s essential to celebrate the year that was 2020.
“The outcomes of hosting an event will far outweigh the challenges.”
Enquire now at brisbaneeventplanner.com.au to book in something special for your team.