Seeking Christmas clarity in a post-lockdown world

Published By Neil Thompson on 18th August 2020

Seeking Christmas clarity in a post-lockdown world

Following the news that some UK events can now resume, 60% of people are expecting Christmas parties to be more important than ever in 2020, according to recent research by IET Birmingham: Austin Court.

Christmas parties have been the subject of debate for many weeks, with the festive season sitting right on the periphery of potential normality or indeed a second wave of COVID-induced regulations, but overall, the public are optimistic about having a party this year, providing venues can offer an attractive package while still adhering to necessary measures.

With just 25% thinking their Christmas party is looking unlikely for now, three quarters were either confident it would go ahead or felt it was too early to plan yet. Of those not anticipating a Christmas party, 39% would expect a summer party in 2021 as an alternative. Figures also show that 90% would prefer a pre-Christmas party in November or December, while a small minority were keen to wait until January to extend celebrations in the new year.

The demand for a nice, and secure, venue has emerged as the top requirement this Christmas, valued by 79% of recipients, followed by good food at 68% and, preferably free, drinks at 51%. When questioned on concerns in the wake of COVID-19, getting close enough to talk with loud music being played, dancing and transportation were considered the biggest obstacles, while catering, drinking and entertainment were of little concern. One tongue-in-cheek response expressed relief that there were likely to be less drink-induced inappropriate endeavours between colleagues this year due to the importance of distancing and therefore far less regret heading back to the office the next day.

The good news for employers looking to keep their costs down for this year’s festivities is that only 20% of those asked believed that partners should be invited to staff Christmas parties. Having been in lockdown with loved ones for so long, a change of scenery – and company – is looking likely to be well received!

In order to reward staff with what could possibly be the first and last social occasion of the year as a team while budgets are tight, key considerations include scaling down the guest list to team members only, choosing a venue with flexible contracts, and preferably on-site parking or safe transport options. When asked if people were expecting to feel comfortable using public transport again by December, 46% said yes, 18% no and 36% thought it was too early to tell.

Austin Court is now taking bookings for Christmas parties, offering a dedicated event coordinator to talk through and settle any concerns beforehand. Guests can enjoy a festive three-course dinner and music in a charming setting with a backdrop of beamed ceilings, original exposed brick, and views over the canal. To find out more about hosting your Christmas party safely at Austin Court, visit https://austincourt.theiet.org/your-event/christmas-parties/