How to celebrate Christmas with a dispersed workforce

How to celebrate Christmas with a dispersed workforce

After a very different Christmas last year, workplace celebrations are back on and it’s likely your team are looking forward to getting together to enjoy some festive food, exchange gifts and warm wishes, and have a well-overdue mingle to celebrate the end of the year. But, with lots of teams still choosing to work remotely and flexibly and with lots of businesses forgoing their company parties to avoid unnecessary COVID exposure before seeing family on the 25th, workplace Christmas celebrations might still look a little bit different in 2021 from how they have in previous years.

With some of your employees working from home and others on location, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to planning Christmas celebrations in a way that’s safe and fun for everyone. But, regardless of what your work set-up is, Christmas is a wonderful occasion to connect with colleagues and celebrate the end of the year.

Why it’s important to celebrate as a team at Christmas

End of year celebrations are a great chance for businesses to show how much they appreciate the hard work of their employees and celebrate the successes of the past year. This is really important for driving employee engagement and motivation and laying the groundwork for a productive January. Socialising as a team also boosts morale, engagement and productivity, and builds those important relationships between colleagues that contribute towards your company culture. In fact, according to this article from Forbes, some perks of employees with strong social connections include increased happiness, less stress, and increased engagement and loyalty.

Here are a few ideas for celebrating this Christmas with a dispersed team and getting them in the Christmas spirit wherever they’re working.

Bring people together through food 

All of the best Christmas festivities involve fantastic feasting, and even if your team aren’t all together in-person, you can still enjoy some great food and company this season. If a large-scale Christmas party and meal are off the cards this year, you could arrange some smaller events for individual teams and departments to look forward to. 

Businesses that have stayed fully remote could plan a virtual Christmas drinks party and arrange for gift boxes filled with treats and goodies to be delivered to their team member’s home addresses. Alternatively, if your company has taken on a hybrid approach whereby all employees work on location every so often, you might like to plan for an assortment of snacks and treats to be handed out around the office. Coming together over food is a great way to boost morale and see your people through the last few weeks of December.

Spark some healthy competition

If remote employees are missing the festive atmosphere at the office in December, encourage them to decorate their home working space. You could even turn it into a festive desk decorating competition that both remote and on-location colleagues can join in with. Simply ask them to upload a photo of their work setup to your online hub and conduct a poll for individuals to choose the best one. Christmas jumper day is another great occasion for all of your team to come together virtually or face-to-face, dress up in their best seasonal attire, vote for their favourites and win prizes. 

Healthy competition like this can motivate employees to be more competitive in other aspects of their working life, like when it comes to reaching their sales numbers and their own personal goals. It’s also a great technique for building company culture, helping all of your employees to destress at the end of the working year and promoting effective teamwork and collaboration. 


Giving back to the community at Christmas can be incredibly rewarding and is a great way to incorporate team building into your end of year celebrations. There are lots of inclusive ways for your team to fundraise, whether they’re working remotely or in-person with their colleagues. Whether it’s a virtual Christmas coffee morning or at-home exercise challenge, workplace fundraising activities provide your team with the chance to bond in a way they can’t always do in the context of work and will boost their social wellbeing in readiness for the new year. 

Arrange a Secret Santa 

A secret Santa gift exchange is a great way to nurture employee relationships and build bridges between colleagues from all corners of your business. It encourages people to take the time to get to know their colleagues’ interests and buy a gift they think will truly mean something to them. Start by setting a budget or choosing a theme and, if you work in a large scale company, it might be a good idea to ask everyone partaking to write down a few likes and interests by their name to help their Secret Santa.

Use an online tool such as Elfster or DrawNames to organise your virtual Secret Santa and pair each gift giver and receiver. If your team has a hybrid work set-up, gifts could be exchanged at a communal place in the office or alternatively, they could be posted to home addresses and opened together at your virtual Christmas drinks party.


The festive season wouldn’t be complete without carols and Christmas hits from years gone by. Whether your teams are working from home or on location, why not create a seasonal playlist to play around the office and for people at home to stream. Everyone can join in by adding their own favourites, providing another great way for colleagues to get to know each other on a more personal level, wherever they’re working.

We’d love to know how you’re celebrating Christmas as a business this year. Make sure to connect with us on LinkedIn where we’re sharing more tips on how to support and celebrate your employees’ during this time and an insight into the festive activities we’ll be doing at peoplevalue.

Read next: Why December is a great time to launch an employee reward and recognition programme

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