Remote Christmas party ideas – and what you can claim

By this time of year, you’d usually have your venue booked and menus sorted for the end-of-year staff gathering! But with local lockdowns still in place, and employees still working from home, it’s likely that your Christmas staff party will be taking place remotely in 2020.

So, if you haven’t already started organising a date or a plan, now’s the time to get planning, thinking up ideas for online activities and getting the date in your team’s diaries.

Get creative your party activities

Your remote end-of-year party will be a very different beast to the usual staff party. You can’t completely replace the atmosphere and team spirit of being in the same room with your people, but you can try being as creative as possible when it comes to your online party activities.

It’s usually a good idea to form a ‘party committee’ with representatives from across the company taking part in the planning process. This way, everyone’s ideas get heard and you end up with a remote party that has something for everyone.

Just because people can’t gather together, doesn’t mean the business gets to skimp on effort and engagement with staff. So, here are a few fun ideas to get you inspired.

For your party, you can:

  • Send an inventive invitation – whatever you’re planning on doing, get your invites out soon so everyone has the day booked in their diary. This could be a creative, interactive email invite (maybe get the CEO to make their own invite video), or it could be an old-school printed card invite sent to each employee’s home address.
  • Set a theme – having a theme for your party makes it easier to come up with ideas. So, talk to your committee, agree on a party theme and ask people to get creative with their décor, backgrounds, music and costumes etc.
  • Get artistic – if you have creatives in your team, get them to have some fun designing virtual party backgrounds and animated GIFs for staff to use on the day. Make everything fit your agreed theme and really go to town with the visual elements.
  • Go multimedia – with a video event, you need to put some real effort into making your party interesting and fun. Try using slideshows, videos, music playlists, games, speeches, or even a talent show. Make it fun, engaging and inclusive for everyone.
  • Use an MC – it’s worth having an outside MC to host the event for you, so the event has a focus and someone to make sure the whole team is feeling involved. Having an MC gives your online event some pace and drive, making it feel more like a real staff party.
  • Showcase the skills and achievements of your staff – an end-of-year party is a great chance to show your team that you appreciate them, so think about having some awards that recognise the achievements of all your staff.
  • Send out gifts – the party may be online, but you can send out packages to everyone and have them open their gifts during the party. Or you could organise Secret Santa exchanges for the day, so everyone gets a gift and something special.
  • Deliver hampers to your team – sending out food and beverage hampers for the party will help staff to relax and enjoy a party atmosphere with some special catering. Make sure you’re catering to everyone’s dietary needs and send out a mix of food and drink to bring the online party to life.

Talk to us about claiming the expenses for your party

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) announced that remote parties will be treated in the same way for expenses as a physical party. So this means that you’ll be able to claim back party expenses up to a value of £150 per head for your online get-together.

If you’d like advice on what you can (and can’t) claim, and how to account for your party expenses in your finance system, give us a call. We’ll run you through the latest rules around expenses.


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