It’s that time of the year again: office holiday party season. After the seasonal gatherings went virtual last year with so many employees working remotely, some businesses are inviting their workers back to celebrate in person in small groups as 2021 comes to an end.
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According to a November survey of 182 human resources executives, nearly 27 percent of companies will hold in-person holiday parties this year, up from 5 percent in 2020. But that boost in the number of festivities doesn’t mean employers have completely figured out how to have these gatherings, especially as the omicron variant of COVID-19 begins to spread.
“There appears to be even more uncertainty surrounding company parties this year than last,” says Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., which helps businesses find executive talent and conducted the survey. “Most companies simply canceled the event in 2020, likely hoping it would be a one-year issue. Now that we’re entering the second pandemic holiday season, companies want to celebrate and connect their teams, but are not quite sure how to do it.”
Businesses that had their in-person parties earlier in the season held the events with various safeguards in place, but some firms whose get-togethers are set for later in the month are considering whether to modify their plans. That means company holiday parties will continue to be mix of options this year.
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