This year has launched a plethora of ‘new normals’ on to the British public, with lives being heavily affected by the global pandemic. Companies that would ordinarily be office-bound are now spread across the UK working from home. In fact, the revolution of working habits has caused a 300% growth of the word “remote” and the word “Zoom”, as we know it today, has officially been added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
With social interaction being banned, the first lockdown saw business teams switch up the Friday night pint for a Zoom quiz; many people extending their online catch-ups to other areas of their lives including fitness classes. Initially, this was well received, with many people flourishing with the new way to connect with friends and colleagues. However, as the months went on and as Zoom fatigue began to set in, it became apparent that the year was proving difficult in its ability to nurture the sense of team within an organisation. People naturally require physical interaction, something that was impossible through the strictest Covid times.
After Boris’s latest update, it seems ever more likely that within the new tier system, there will not be an allowance for large (or even small) parties to take place. This is understandable considering the current climate, however, it does throw up a large question mark around the tradition of the ‘Christmas Party’. Having worked in the industry for 20 years, I have been lucky enough to have had some amazing experiences around the festive period, with large company events at amazing locations supported by bands and guests. Recently, as a medium-sized business, we were able to have a fantastic dinner as a team last year, less raucous but a chance to talk to all the team. It seems such a shame to lose this tradition, nonetheless, with the world as it is right now, there are alternatives that should be looked at.
For Canton, we are considering a few options ranging from a meal outside of London where restrictions (may) be less severe. But also looking at events such as cook-a-long over Zoom or an outdoor, socially distanced event such as a scavenger hunt. I hope we will find something that brings the team together.
Whatever we choose to do we have to accept that it is going to be different this year and adapt as necessary. It would be great to hear what other companies are planning. Are there any innovative ideas that could inspire others to make the most of the traditional Christmas party? I have thought about the thousands of pounds each year that are spent on socialising around Christmas; veritably individuals spend an average of £300 each year on festivities. That’s a lot of saving that companies will be doing this year.
Therefore, I pronounce a ’call to arms’.
As an industry, should we gather together and make a donation to an organisation such as Nabs or a charity your business already supports? Even if it is just £20 per head that would have been spent on food and drinks, with so many people in our industry we can make a huge difference. So much has been spoken about with regards to mental health, not just during the pandemic, so it feels appropriate to support such a valuable asset to our sector.
I’d love to hear what you think, and maybe we could work together to make this Covid Christmas even more unforgettable.
Nick King is chief executive officer and founder of Canton.