It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (for Festive Office Parties)

Written By Gemma Harvey

holiday office partiesLast year, the unforeseen happened. The entire world practically shut down due to a global pandemic, meaning we were mostly unable to spend time with those we love. Of course, this also meant that we were unable to celebrate during the festive periods. Many of us saw the New Year with a glass of something at home, perhaps with some nibbles and a Zoom party.

Most big celebrations were postponed or even canceled, including traditional fireworks displays, so we weren’t even able to see the New Year in with a bang. Alongside this, not having the opportunity to celebrate with our work colleagues after spending so much time apart and away from the office was another blow to an altogether meager year.

However, this year is looking far more hopeful and after the last 18 months, we are all in need of a big celebration. The vaccine programs are moving full steam ahead, meaning that, hopefully, this year we will be able to celebrate with friends, family, and our workmates. Cheers to that!

Most workplaces have now returned in one form or another. However, many still have staff working from home or in new, hybrid working routines. Many programmers have been working remotely or in freelance scenarios for a considerable period of time. It is clear now that a large percentage of the global workforce will be adopting similar working flows.

As the rest of the world continues to catch up with remote working, it’s time to consider how we can involve everyone in festive activities and how freelancers can also come together to celebrate after such a long year of being apart.

So, with the colder months just around the corner, supermarkets are beginning to fill their shelves with endless chocolate selection boxes, pumpkin spice-flavored everything, and a few sneaky easter eggs. With this in mind, whether you are organizing the festive office parties this year or are simply attending one, here are some suggestions for making the most of office events during the festive season if you work remotely or in a hybrid working style.

Find Your Miracle on 34th Street for a Holiday Meetup

Luckily, the “bespoke”—the British term for customized—software development industry was able to continue working relatively unhindered. The present need and demand for bespoke software solutions allowed programmers to continue working throughout the pandemic, meaning very few were affected by furlough or redundancy.

The covid-19 pandemic spurred a monumental digital revolution, as hundreds of thousands of businesses turned towards new methods to continue trading and operating when asked to completely close their shop doors to the public.

Between now and New Year’s Eve, there are many holidays and celebrated occasions taking place across the globe. From the Autumnal Equinox to Halloween and Hanukkah, people will be coming together all across the world to rejoice in glad tidings that were sadly missed out on last year.

It’s important to remember that just because you may be working remotely, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on these events again this year. Whether you’re new to remote working this year or it’s something you're very familiar with, there are a number of ways that you can still have a good time and socialize over the festive period.

Out of the estimated 21 million bespoke software developers worldwide, 1.5 million of these are freelance. Many freelance programmers will turn to an online community for help; therefore, they will more than likely make acquaintances and friends via these platforms. Why not organize a group of people you have met online or have previously worked with before going freelance to get together and make an event during the holiday season?

Programmers and software developers can be notoriously solitary, but after a year of pretty much having absolutely no contact with anyone, other than through digital platforms, make the most of being able to step outside and into a public place to share in special moments.

You can do this by picking a venue that will be a good middle ground for your group to meet, potentially somewhere that serves good food, has a good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and is a place that you can just sit back and relax in.

If you would prefer to celebrate remotely, there are plenty of online games and quizzes you can participate in via a Zoom call. We were all nearly at our limit with Zoom quizzes by the end of 2020, but after a short respite it could be time to revisit a virtual quiz. As a freelance programmer or remote software developer, figure out what works best for you and get involved with something festive this year.

Don’t Be a Grinch—Make Sure Everyone Has a Seat at the Table

Although we all thought we would be happy to be out of the office, there is a sense of relief to finally be able to catch up with colleagues and water the plants on our desks that have been so sorely neglected. Further, more and more companies are turning towards a hybrid way of working, allowing staff to work from home for a selected amount of time a week, with core office hours in place.

Although a good portion of your working hours will be spent from your work from home desk, being back in the office environment will enable you to celebrate the festive periods more easily with work friends. Employers should consider planning festive events to take place on days where most, if not all, of their staff body is supposed to be in the office, meaning that no one will miss out on an event.

Everyone has a good (albeit embarrassing) story from an office Christmas party, and it’s time to make some new memories with colleagues. Many software developers and programmers may have started a position within a new company remotely during the multiple national lockdowns. This means that they may have not actually met those they work with in person yet.

Although this may be an overwhelming experience to begin with, it will be a turning point during their time within a software development company, allowing them to become fully immersed in the goings-on that would’ve normally taken place pre-covid.

Hybrid working is very much the future outlook for many workforces, but make sure everyone is being included within plans, to make sure no one has to experience FOMO (fear of missing out).

Have Yourself a Merry Little Office Party

holiday office partiesAside from virtual events, this may also be the first time a new bespoke software developer interacts with colleagues in a real-world environment, so the first office party back needs to be one to remember.

Many businesses suffered a loss of income or resources during the covid-19 pandemic, so it’s understandable that many office parties will have to be organized in accordance with a budget.

Just because it may be the first event with everyone in person, it doesn’t mean you have to break the bank for it. Bringing back old traditions such as secret Santa or Christmas Jumper Days will allow everyone to get involved with the holiday activities and spread some festive cheer whilst doing so. They will also be good icebreakers for those employees that may not have met each other yet.

Bearing in mind that Covid-19 is still very much in the world, it’s important to also consider some covid friendly activities, to keep your staff safe and sound during the holiday period.

You could organize something along the lines of a gift wrapping race that software developers can complete from their desk or an elf on the shelf competition, where programmers have to take photos of the cheeky elf character getting up to naughty things around the office. There’s a whole manner of games and activities that can be taken part in, whilst socially distancing.

Also consider in-house catering, take away, or buffets for staff in the office for a party, instead of going out for an expensive meal in a restaurant, which could also be a good way to save money and allow people to still enjoy some time with colleagues in a festive environment.

‘Tis the Season

The festive period is fast approaching, and now is a good time to start considering how you would like to celebrate it with those you work with. Whether you work remotely, in a hybrid manner, or are back in the office, there is something for everyone in terms of being able to enjoy the holiday season, in one way or another.

From organizing get-togethers with fellow freelancers to Zoom quizzes, and from fun office activities to parties, it’s important to have a good time, keeping everyone engaged. After all, the happier an employee is, the better their productivity.