Employees have long had a complicated relationship with holiday gatherings. We’ve seen them parodied in movies and SNL skits for their hyperfocus on drinking, their awkwardness, and the social anxiety and/or resentment they inspire for workers who see them as nothing more than obligation.
The past few years have made the office holiday party even more fraught: Drinking, especially in work settings, is less popular than it used to be. People are drawing harder boundaries between their professional and social lives. Disengagement and tightened budgets present new hurdles. And perhaps most glaringly, the office holiday party is a lot harder to do well in the age of hybrid and distributed workforces.
The solution: To make your hybrid holiday gathering engaging and inclusive, run it like a hybrid meeting.
Yes, you want this event to actually be fun. No, meetings are… historically not. But the same norms that help make these more run-of-the-mill gatherings feel generative and productive are also the ones that will help your hybrid party be more joy than drag. Here’s what to focus on: