How to Host a Holiday Party the New Normal

toast with glasses

The holidays are an exciting time for corporate teams in the United States. The upcoming holidays are an excellent occasion to let employees come together and express gratitude for their loyalty and hard work throughout the year. A company-wide holiday party is also perfect for bringing the entire staff together and fostering team spirit and contact between different departments.

However, this makes it all the more difficult for most companies to plan in light of COVID-19. Especially now, with case numbers rising again, it’s even more critical that we celebrate a corporate holiday that doesn’t put anyone at unnecessary risk.

We’ve put together useful tips to consider when planning a safe but festive company celebration this year.

Check for the current infection numbers and local regulations

Let us first summarize some of the most critical findings of how COVID-19 spreads.

Close contact is a significant risk factor for the spread of COVID-19 because it is a droplet infection that is transmitted through the air, primarily by coughing or sneezing. If people touch nearby contaminated surfaces, the virus can quickly spread when the same person touches their face later. In an enclosed space with poor ventilation, the risk of spreading COVID-19 from one to another is even higher, as the disease is also airborne.

In addition, the last few months have shown us that vaccination does not help 100% against infection and transmission. Although the vaccination and booster shots are essential to decreasing the likelihood of a severe bout of the disease, we strongly caution against taking COVID-19 too lightly this holiday season.

Before getting into the specific advice below, you should always consult official government guidance when planning a return to the workplace, including:

How to set up a contemplative feast

Depending on the climate where you live, you should carefully consider whether you can spend the party outside in the fresh air. Outdoor places reduce the probability of the virus staying in the air since the virus seems to feel exceptionally comfortable in stuffy, heated rooms.

Of course, not every company can move the party outside due to weather conditions or simply logistics. Therefore, those who live in cold areas or do not have an outdoor area available should ensure that indoor spaces are kept well ventilated and clean at all times.

Although it may seem inconvenient, don’t be afraid to hire personnel who will regularly disinfect surfaces, bathrooms, and commonly used areas. With the help of images and flyers, you can also remind your colleagues to wash their hands regularly. Your employees should always adhere to the mask requirements and avoid unnecessary close contact.

Monitoring health status and symptoms of all guests

Even if you follow all precautions, there is still a risk, albeit perhaps slight, of becoming infected.

If you invite elderly or vulnerable people, it’s time to take special care. But even if you don’t, keep in mind that your employees might just visit their families a few days after your event.

For one, it’s essential to check the guest list, let them fill out a health form, and monitor who has had regular vaccinations. As mentioned, vaccinations are crucial but don’t promise total protection, especially now that different mutation variants of the virus are proliferating.

That’s why it can be essential to encourage guests to isolate themselves before spending time with people at increased risk for the virus. According to official authorities, 10 days should be enough. However, if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, they need to wait at least 14 days. This means, for your company party, you need to give visitors plenty of time before they return to their families on Christmas Day. So plan your party for the first week of December at the latest.

Remind your employees that they should not attend the event if they have symptoms associated with the virus, such as a cough, fever, diarrhea, or tonsillitis.

Testing for all it’s worth

Many businesses will need to make a key decision whether to just symptom screen or entirely test their employees for COVID-19. Symptom screening takes the form of a questionnaire listing symptoms and recent contacts, whereas testing takes the form of PCR or antigen tests that detect the virus. Testing is probably the most reliable way to combat COVID-19 at Christmas, especially if you plan a larger event.

There are several ways to test for COVID-19. First of all, you can choose between rapid antigen tests and PCR. Antigen tests are excellent when you need to test many people for a high mass uptake, but the risk of a false positive is high. The most reliable result offers only the PCR tests. These tests can detect even minimal amounts of the virus, effectively detecting when someone is in the early stage of infection.

While previous testing methods required up to 24 hours to give an accurate result, you can now get a reliable diagnosis in 25 minutes, thanks to the latest technologies. With the antigen tests, this is even possible within as little as 12 minutes.

Since all tests should be regulated and under one roof at a corporate event, we advise visitors against allowing people to test themselves independently. Instead, the easiest way to manage a high number of tests is to book an organized testing procedure on-site at the corporate party. Such testing procedures collect each visitors’ information, including the number of vaccinations, health check and symptoms monitoring, and test monitoring⁠—all of this with a single application. By leaving these tasks to experts, event organizers can meanwhile take care of the well-being and satisfaction of their healthy guests at their corporate party.

Are you planning a company-wide party soon? With the help of our services, you can guarantee a safe and contemplative celebration.