Like so many things today, Christmas celebrations in companies have been greatly affected by sanitary restrictions to prevent the spread of covid-19. Physical meetings have practically disappeared. Any face-to-face event in the world of work is almost a chimera.
This does not mean, however, that the offices are ignoring these dates. On the contrary, a lot of initiatives have been born that seek to replicate this type of meetings at a distance. In parallel, the number of companies that have decided to gain weight has also skyrocketedChristmas baskets, give out gift vouchers or allocate that expense to donations.
“At Banco Sabadell we did not want to stop celebrating the excellent work done by all the people who make up the bank in a particularly difficult context,” they report from the entity.
“That is why various alternatives were proposed and it was the employees who decided to donate the budget allocated to the Christmas celebration to social institutions.”
Some funds that, finally, have been decided to distribute between the Food Bank, Cáritas, Children’s Villages and the Red Cross “because they are dedicating a great effort to help people affected by the social crisis caused by the coronavirus.”
Experts warn that in recent months, characterized by the introduction of teleworking , communication between the company and the workers runs the risk of having deteriorated, thus damaging the work environment and motivationof the employee.
This Christmas season, therefore, “is a perfect occasion to carry out initiatives that, even remotely, can make the worker feel valued and generate pride of belonging”, explains Oriol Mas, CEO of Randstad Direct, Training and Human Capital Consulting.
In this sense, “as long as circumstances allow it, it is advisable to comply with those incentives and rewards that we carried out last year or consider some new ones that allow us to reward the commitment shown in the most difficult months of 2020”.
How? If other years raffles and karaoke bars were successful in the lobby of the company or in a restaurant, now the alternatives are truly varied and in many cases the employee’s partner or family is also included:
film and fast food in drive-ins from the own car; cocktail making courses that are held from home – in addition, they send all the necessary elements – and then connect and toast together; virtual escape room games for which disguise is required -the necessary kit is distributed at home- or monologue and theater sessions that allow interaction.
For example, Planeta Impro, organizer of improvisation shows, has changed face-to-face functions at company headquarters for streaming connections through a videoconferencing app .
Its actors work together from a set or, a cheaper option, from their own homes, while viewers can send their comments through the application chat and managers, turn on their camera at the end of the function to congratulate the holidays .
Regarding the gastronomic part, the options are also innumerable. Glovo, for example, offers a delivery service that works these days mainly for dinners in Barcelona and Madrid, but also for companies that have their employees spread over several cities.
Workers receive a voucher to order food at the restaurant of their choice and receive it at home on the specified date.
The catering sector , for its part, has also adapted: “The events that require our services are planned well in advance and the current uncertainty does not allow us to generate the necessary trust in customers”, admits Jesús Baranda, president of the Business Association of Catering (AEC)
Which explains that, given the disappearance of face-to-face events, they have had to incorporate the delivery of delivery boxes into the offer “to respond to our customers with some type of non-face-to-face format, not for the profitability of the product in itself”.
The sector that is benefiting is that of Christmas baskets. This year companies have joined that until now did not have that detail with the employees and others have decided to improve the products in quantity or quality. Or, alternatively, give out vouchers to spend on products or in restaurants.
If the objective of the traditional Christmas meetings is mainly to build a shared vision and reinforce trust between managers and workers, there are experts who consider that this function is not achieved in the virtual versions.
This is what Juan Carlos Cubeiro, a talent specialist and director of the Human Age Institute, believes , a non-profit association that brings together more than 700 organizations with the aim of promoting talent as an engine for transformation.
Cubeiro believes that presence is necessary to make a team. “Human contact is irreplaceable. Technology should not be mythologized, because it is not good for everything. A hologram will never have the warmth of real people,” he says.
In addition, it highlights that we are already tired of virtual encounters , so it is increasingly difficult to keep the attention of those summoned.
In addition, these events do not have those minutes before or after the face-to-face events that allow you to exchange opinions with other attendees, one more reason to be patient and postpone team building activities until when they can be developed in person.
“In no case can a virtual event be a face-to-face event transferred to an online platform.
It must be specifically designed for that environment, integrating all types of audience and thinking very well about the objectives,” says Sandrine Castres, general director of MCI Spain and Portugal, a company specialized in the organization of events and congresses, which has observed that, over the months, the level of demand in virtual experiences has increased “and budgets, too”.
Even so, the average expenditure per worker is much lower than the 65-120 euros per person that they calculate that a company usually invested in dinners or in face-to-face Christmas events.