2020 is a year like no other, and I don’t think there’s a soul out there that would doubt it! However, employees are likely expecting a special celebration of some sort, and it is not a time to cancel festivities when teams are overworked, stressed, and anxious. Business owners likely have this line item in their budget already, so why not get creative and make it happen?

Celebrations are also a great way to build engagement with teams, and even Zoom celebrations are appreciated by most. Thinking of ways to make it special, while keeping your team, and in turn your customers, safe, is a challenge. We’re up to it! Here’s some creative ways to celebrate your team in the middle of a global pandemic. Bonus: most of these ideas help local small businesses that may be struggling!

Help another Small Business

Think about other small businesses that are struggling. Here in Central Ohio, there are many restaurants and catering facilities that are offering special menus, box lunches or dinners, or even parking their food trucks in the parking lots of local businesses. Win- win! A catering & banquet facility called The Berwick is even offering take-home dinners for families as a pick-up option. This would be a great way to help out a neighbor, and feed the families of your team.

Night at the Movies

Night at the Movies! Several local movie theaters, and I’m sure nationwide, are offering very inexpensive reservations of an entire theater. Take your team, sit at least 6 feet apart in every direction, don a mask, and watch Elf or The Grinch. Fun!

Do a Box Lunch

If your team typically has a catered lunch together for the holidays, consider having a local restaurant do a box lunch. That way there are not shared banquet utensils in family-style settings. If you have the space in your facility, sit 6 feet apart together. If that’s not possible, let everyone eat in their offices, or send everyone home for a couple of hours while they eat their delicious lunch over Zoom.

A Shared, Distanced Meal

If you’ve got people with multiple dietary needs, a Door Dash, Uber Eats, or Postmates gift card is a great way to have exactly what the employee wants delivered to their home. Eat together over Zoom and talk about all of the different delicious eats that the team chose. Better yet, pick a locally owned restaurant and let everyone order off the menu. Let the leadership team be the Uber drivers!

Remember Safety First

Be sure that you are being responsible about COVID guidelines for gatherings for the safety of your team, but also keep in mind the public perception of your customers. Posting mask-less photos of a gathering is not the best way to earn customer confidence. Especially if your business is customer-facing, like a contractor or trade in a customer’s home, or a retail establishment where they will encounter that employee in person, photos need to reflect that you take this seriously. The very last thing that you want is to have your business suffer because of a party. CDC Guidelines for in-person gatherings (of course subject to local laws and regulations) include:

  • No more than 10 people in one location at a time
  • No shared utensils, plates, or glassware
  • Maintain a 6-foot distance between parties not in the same household
  • Masks must be worn while not eating/drinking
  • If possible, outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor
  • Wash hands frequently

Hopefully, we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel during this dark time, but in order to be able to celebrate with the entire team next year, getting creative is the way to go. Maybe it will be (as our client Dr. Rivas from Kimball Animal Hospital in Clawson, MI says) a “COVID Keeper”. This just may be the most fun everyone has ever had!


Need help coming up with creative ways to celebrate your team? Are there systems and processes in place for safety? Contact us today to set up a no-cost no-obligation business diagnostic!

About the author,

Director of Marketing, ActionCOACH Columbus

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