In an HRreview poll, 75 percent of people told us they were having a Christmas party this year. 

Now, business leaders have shared some of their insights with us around the topics that come up during the festive season.

With the ‘quiet period’ less than two weeks away, the decision of whether to have a party despite the legality, health and safety regulations and how to support staff – your questions are answered.


Keep frontline workers as engaged as office workers

Some of our business leaders say a company’s office workers are occasionally unintentionally prioritised over their frontline workers. This can reduce their engagement and feelings of isolation from the business.

Steve Frost, CEO and Founder of employee engagement business, Workbuzz says, “There’s a stark engagement divide between office-based workers and front-line workers. Almost half of organisations with mostly frontline/on-site workers seeing engagement decline over the past year. It’s therefore more important than ever to involve frontline workers in the festive celebrations, and not unintentionally exclude them because they can’t make it into the office, or because they haven’t been provided with the right technology for keeping connected.”


Wellbeing for hospitality staff

Flynn Byrne, Training Officer at Escapism Bar Group said ensuring a good night’s sleep and having less booze will help people keep going. 

Most importantly for those in hospitality, remember to take a break. Flynn said: “Managers are often so busy they lose track of time amid the mess and mayhem of the bar, or while they’re making sure 30 Christmas dinners go out at once without a hitch. It’s okay to remind the boss you need a break – ask for the downtime you’re entitled to and, more importantly, need.” 

He added: “If you work in hospitality and need to speak to someone about your mental health, don’t forget that there is always someone at the other end of the phone who can help.”


People before presents

Claire Crompton is Commercial Director of Bolton SEO agency, The Audit Lab. She said: “Don’t just think about how big the work Christmas party can be, but think about how you can celebrate your staff’s hard work and achievements over the past year.”

This is important, she adds, so employees can see the contribution they have made to the business’s success. 

“Schedule a day for a little festive celebration (Christmas jumpers encouraged) to present awards, report back how well the business has done, inform what plans you have for the coming year, and reward staff for their hard work.”


Health and Safety

Make sure staff feel safe, says Mike McCloy from corporate events management company, Maximillion. He says “When organising an office party, it’s important to consider whether your employees would rather celebrate the office Christmasparty in-person or via an online virtual event.”

John Nicklin, MD of Sorce, which offers a desk booking solution agrees. He says “Now isn’t the time to relax health and safety measures, especially with the threat of Omicron. If you’re holding office celebrations, make sure you know who is going to be in the office and when, to avoid overcrowding.”

Anne Corder Recruitment warns if decorations are being put up – either at an individual’s desk or the office as whole – make sure they’re PAT tested and not fire hazards. 


How to ease stress

Daniel Rabbie, the CEO of the digital tool for businesses GetBusy, admits that stress can’t be removed entirely, but says the pressure can be reduced. 

“Although the Christmas shutdown is welcome, it can cause added stress for all professions. But there are ways to help take some pressure off. Planning ahead and preparing well in advance is the key to making sure you reduce as much stress as possible.

However, with preparation, he says, not only will you give your employees a head start but you will also save yourself stress.

“If you know you have a big project to complete before Christmas, start it and delegate out as necessary at the beginning of December – not during the last week before Christmas. That way, you can chip away at it bit by bit, then come the final week, you’ll have a head start, rather than beginning from scratch.

“Similarly, if you’re aware of potential challenges ahead, anticipate them. All too often, the final week of Christmas is the week loose ends are tied up for the year, and emails and queries from teams, bosses, and clients come flooding in. So, by making sure you’re organised and can find information quickly, you’ll save yourself a lot of stress.


Secret Santa or not?

Donald Moore, Chair of schoolwear supplier One+All and says, “Don’t put any financial expectations on your people to fork out for a Secret Santa gift or contribute towards a celebration. In fact, this time of year should be about the employer supporting the financial wellbeing of its people.”

John Nicklin also said: “There’s no playbook on how employers should manage Christmas this year. However it’s important that whatever celebrations take place are inclusive, prioritise staff wellbeing and are focused on recognising the great efforts and accomplishments of every individual. This will put both staff and the business in a really positive place as we enter 2022.”



If you or anyone you know is struggling this year, get in touch with Samaritans helpline: 116 123  or Mind charity: 0300 123 3393





Feyaza Khan has been a journalist for more than 20 years in print and broadcast. Her special interests include neurodiversity in the workplace, tech, diversity, trauma and wellbeing.