Humans are inherently social animals, which made 2020 one of the hardest years in living memory, especially for the closely-knit teams of small startups.
Thankfully, the year is ending on a high note in Australia with infections stopped after some painfully long lockdowns and the borders reopening.
Victorians will celebrate the start of 2021 by heading back into the office for the first time in more than six months. For some, such as the GoCardless team below, the last time they gathered together was March.
But before then, there’s Christmas. How do you celebrate with your teams after the year everyone’s just had? That’s what we asked six founders and executives. Here’s what they said.
ANZ General Manager GoCardless
Due to the fact that the Victorians borders have opened, I will be heading down to Melbourne to celebrate with the team.
Luckily, we still fall under ‘outside gathering’ numbers, so we are spending an afternoon at Lake Carousel on the lawn. It will not only be a Christmas celebration ,but also the first that the team have all been together since March for many of us.
I am sure it will be very emotional and will give us a chance to regroup, as well as inhale, exhale and head into Christmas knowing we are in for a big 2021.
Employee Experience Lead, Perkbox
We don’t have a single Christmas party at Perkbox, rather a month of festivities and events. For us, the holiday season is a celebration of a year’s worth of work, so try to avoid the tick-a-box approach of holding one party and being done with it.
It’s a bit tricky this year, given we’re a global company and try to be consistent with our policies. Our head office is in the UK, which is currently under lockdown.
But much of what we did last year will be continued this year as it can be done remotely. So we will continue to hold 12 days of Christmas Trivia, where each day we ask a question about a team member. We’ll also do Secret Santa, using items from our platform. There’s also days where we take all meetings outside, and other team activities throughout the month.
CEO and co-founder Employment Hero
The Employment Hero team is celebrating at The Greens North Sydney this year. We had to pick an outdoor venue that could cater to a number of people, which was quite difficult to achieve. Now that we are a global team, we were also careful to ensure that our international team members would feel included in the festivities, so they will be celebrating their own local functions depending on COVID-19 restrictions in their region. We love a theme, so this year it is ‘come as 2020’ – open to interpretation, of course.
In light of restrictions, RSVPs have been essential, and everyone will need to check-in at the venue. Tables will be limited numbers as well as randomised. Despite some of the rules that we wouldn’t usually have at our Christmas party, we’re all looking forward to the food stalls, bar tab and celebrating what has been a big year in many ways.
CEO and co-founder, WLTH
After a year of video calls and working from home, we have found that our company culture and ability to spend time together as a team has been vastly affected. The opportunity to have a Christmas party is a great way to bring everyone together and spend the day as a team celebrating what has been a very strange year.
We are very lucky to be able to gather as a group in Queensland to celebrate Christmas this year, as a result of eased restrictions. We have planned an afternoon of delicious food and drinks, followed by a team-bonding activity.
This is not an opportunity we will be taking for granted, as we believe it’s important to celebrate the successes our team has achieved over the past year.”
Co-founder and Managing Director 3 Phase Marketing
To say that it’s been a hard year is an understatement. So many of our milestones went uncelebrated (such as our five year anniversary) and all of us are fatigued by screens; all of us are craving connection.
So to treat our staff, my co-founder Tamara and I are throwing a masquerade party and exchanging medical masks for glam.
We’re going to spoil our team with live entertainment, gourmet food and bespoke cocktails, all the while maintaining COVID- compliance, social distancing and room capacity.
And while there won’t be any dancing, we’ll be making use of our time together, and drowning everyone in love. Because after the year we’ve all had, we need it.
Christmas this year looks and feels a little different for a few reasons. COVID and the physical barriers it presents will be felt by all businesses this year. We’ve also doubled our headcount and now have Asia and US-based employees to include in our end of year celebrations.
While the US’ situation with COVID prevents in-person activities, we’re still moving ahead with a team get-together in Australia. We are keen to ensure there are common points of connection, so the day will kick off with a global virtual team catch-up to reflect on the year, share learnings, and celebrate the wins.
The Australian team will then get together for a ‘Bikes for Tykes’ activity in the park, where we will be completing challenges and building a bike for charity. Finally, we’re holding a lunch that would typically include partners however this year we are restricted to our core team.