With COVID-19 disrupting end-of-year celebrations for the second year in a row, it can be difficult to show staff that their hard work is appreciated and valued in the way employers used to. With remote working, lockdowns, and restrictions, it has become incredibly difficult to plan large events, and businesses with offices interstate have had to come up with ways to fairly engage their workers who have experienced stricter living conditions than their less-affected counterparts.
The pandemic has taken a physical and mental toll on the health of many people, which is why it is more important than ever to put on a united front and recognise staff for their efforts and accomplishments throughout a particularly difficult year.
Here are some ways you can celebrate your employees at work during a COVID-19 Christmas.
Show that you care
It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure a safe workplace and cutting corners or ignoring health mandates can imply that you do not care about the health and safety of your staff.
Listen to your employees’ concerns and abide by rules that will ensure their safety. If needed, install social distancing markers, safety screens, hand sanitiser, and protective gear and let them know you have their back when it comes to enforcing rules.
By showing that you care about providing a workplace that is safe you are inherently expressing respect and concern for your workers.
Stay in touch
When staff feel uninformed or misinformed they do not feel valued or as though they’re part of a team. To mitigate this, you should keep everyone up-to-date as information arises and welcome feedback where possible.
Become a flexible employer
The festive season can throw plans into disarray and with school closures clashing with work, end-of-year parties, and all of the other life admin that needs to be completed, staff will appreciate the opportunity to work flexibly, whether from home or simply by shifting their starting or finishing times or lunch breaks.
Praise good work publicly
It’s one thing to tell a staff member that they have done a great job, but to celebrate their accomplishments publicly such as through an award night, newsletter or social media post shows that you truly appreciate their efforts. It also reminds the other team members what exemplary service looks like.
Say ‘thank you’
There is a lot to be said for taking the time out to thank someone for going above and beyond. By personally thanking your staff for their efforts and support throughout the year they will feel appreciated and as they and their work has made a meaningful contribution to the business. Remember to personalise the thank you so that it comes across as genuine and reiterates to the staff member exactly what they did that was so fantastic, so they know how to keep up the good work.
Get in the festive spirit
They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but since Christmas can be an expensive time of year, why not treat your employees to some catered meals, morning coffees or provide snacks for the last few days in the office?
Reward staff with bonus leave
If the business is winding down for the year and you can afford to offer extra leave, let your staff take some bonus time off that won’t affect their leave balances.
Although many businesses have done it tough due to COVID-19, a lot of industries have boomed If your business has had a successful past year or two, pass on the good fortune to those who have helped you achieve success in the form of gift cards or cash bonuses. If there are local businesses who have suffered as a result of the lockdowns, why not share the love? Treating staff to vouchers from small businesses like beauty salons, hairdressers, restaurants, and boutiques is a win-win for your staff and the community!
Bring the team together
Remote working can lower morale and result in loss of enthusiasm and drive, which can lead to poor performance and high turnover. Even if it is only via video conference, it is important to bring the team together for regular catch-ups. Plan a few games or topics of discussion to kick off the chat and keep the meet-ups to business hours to ensure high attendance and to avoid burdening staff with work commitments during their personal time.