What employees want in 2021

A number of months in the past, with COVID-19 charges falling, many corporations had been slowly returning to in-person events, conferences, and team-building gatherings. But with the emergence of omicron (and reviews of the variant making an early vacation get together in Norway a superspreader event) some companies are once more placing a brief maintain on in-person celebrations.

So the place does that go away the standard workplace vacation get together this 12 months? A number of weeks in the past we requested CEOs and different executives what that they had deliberate. But we had been additionally curious: What do employees truly want out of their firm’s vacation get together this 12 months?

According to a survey of 400 companies by authorized group and office consultancy, Seyfarth at Work, roughly 40% of corporations might be holding vacation workplace events this season. (The consultancy performed an analogous survey in 2020, when solely 6% of corporations stated they might ship invitations for an in-person gathering.)


We requested Fast Company readers on LinkedIn and Twitter what they would like their firm do to mark the vacation season. In both informal polls (which collectively gathered greater than 5,000 responses), many respondents stated they would like to obtain present playing cards, over exhibiting as much as an in-person occasion.

A senior director of consumer expertise, Janine Nock participated in our ballot, and agreed to share her ideas round group occasions. Nock identified that Christmas or different holiday-themed events can exclude some staff. “There’s a need to simplify some of this over-indulgence of Christmas activities, especially since not everybody celebrates Christmas,” Nock says.

Being considerate of individuals’s totally different existence, backgrounds, and time constraints could make a distinction to staff. Noticeably, fairly a number of respondents from our polls echoed this sentiment.

Some would slightly spend time bonding with their coworkers via hands-on actions, whether or not via a enjoyable shared expertise,  a charity donation, or a extra close-knit gathering, possibly damaged down by particular person groups.


Nock agrees, saying corporations usually skip out correctly soliciting worker suggestions forward of time, selecting to advertise (and even mandate) attendance at over-the-top celebrations.  “Honestly, I think it’s reading the room, engaging the temperature of the group. Sometimes it’s sending out an [employee] survey of ‘what would you like to do?’ But I don’t think any of these things should be forced, and if it’s going to be a gathering, nobody should feel excluded.”

If you’re a supervisor or firm chief, maintain perspective round how high-pressure this time of 12 months will be for employees—particularly in a second 12 months of the pandemic. Often, the final month of the 12 months is a mad rush for employees. Many of your staff are trying ahead to taking it slower and discovering time to decompress earlier than the brand new 12 months begins. “Be respectful of people’s time,” says Nock. “They have a lot going on in December [even] outside of the holidays.”

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