As we count down to the days leading up to the end of the year, businesses and offices are usually a buzz with activity around preparations of a year-end staff party. However, since the dawn of the new variant of covid-19 along with increasing cases in the work place, these parties have been met with scepticism.

Amid the high number of cases in the different provinces, people are still anticipating a small gathering to bid farewell to the year. But what does this mean for businesses who have planned these year-end gatherings on a much larger scale?

If bookings have been made and caterers informed it would be a major disappointment and loss of funds to cancel now. So how can businesses ensure a safe practice of a year-end gathering amid the 4th wave?

  • Many companies are still office based, for the benefit of those individuals having a gathering in the office should still be on the table. Perhaps look at hosting it in house where a caterer can provide individual meals as opposed to a buffet or help yourself.
  • It’s also great to check in with staff on who would be comfortable to be part of a gathering during this time. A lot of people are still not vaccinated and might not want to gather with the risk of the 4th wave. Having a conversation around what works can be the answer to getting staff to be more excited about what to do for the year end function.
  • If you have taken to keeping things strictly online then this is the perfect time to take a fresh view on stale virtual gatherings. Initiate an online office party in which you send a box of goodies for your staff member or order them something using an online caterer to deliver to them. This will take away from the online monotony and give the team a chance to have a gathering that is virtual and engaging. Plan fun games or even quiz night to make the online gathering exciting.
  • Try not to make the year-end function seem to be compulsory. As much as we would like to use the time to compliment and commend everyone on their great effort for the year, we must also be mindful that many people who have not vaccinated will not feel comfortable to attend the gathering based on their unvaccinated status. It should now be optional as opposed to compulsory especially when most people are taking precautions and staying away from gatherings amid the 4th wave.
  • It is for this reason that online or virtual gatherings are the way froward. Try to be innovative about thanking your staff for a good year. Whilst most people are planning to stay indoors and wait out the 4th wave, many have been left disappointed as their plans were cancelled. As a result, the festive spirits might be low. It would be advisable to perhaps ask your team to join a year-end do virtually with a complimentary snack box and perhaps an evening of kind words and music to show gratitude to the team. If that fails then simply rescheduling a year-end lunch after the 4th wave should be considered.

Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute, a South African TVET College. He is the author of Racism, Classism, Sexism, And The Other ISMs That Divide Us, AND My Leadership Legacy Journal available from the ICHAF Training Institute.

The ICHAF Training Institute offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.

Website: |