What will the office Christmas party look like in 2020? (2024)

There's karaoke, prizes for best dressed, bonbons and awkward dancing – but this year, the annual office Christmas party could look very different.

After a challenging year for thousands of Aussies, a holiday celebration seems like the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy the company of friends and colleagues.

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However, with coronavirus restrictions still in force, there will likely be some changes to office traditions.

Here's what your office Christmas party might look like in 2020 and what you may have to consider when planning one.

Will we still have coronavirus restrictions by Christmas?

Many states are already considering what Christmas celebrations could look like and while some may have a fairly normal holiday season, others are likely to still be under coronavirus restrictions.

Christmas Day celebrations could include limits to the number of people allowed to visit each other, the use of masks and limitations on popular events.

READ MORE: Christmas to 'look different' with iconic tradition cancelled

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Borders between several states remain closed, Victoria is still under lockdown and domestic flights have only just begun to resume – all of which are likely to have an impact on major holiday celebrations.

Will there still be an office Christmas party?

Whether you get to enjoy the fun of an office Christmas party will likely depend where you live and how many people can gather.

In NSW, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced high school formals will be permitted this year, giving hope to workers that perhaps their end of year celebrations can go ahead as well.

Gatherings in NSW are dependent on the size of the venue, with group bookings currently capped at just 10 people.

People are also not allowed to sing, dance or mingle while out at bars or at weddings, meaning it may have to a sit-down Christmas party this year and activities like karaoke currently off the table.

In Queensland, an office Christmas party looks more likely with fewer restrictions currently in place on group gatherings and venues.

READ MORE: The major events that could be cancelled due to COVID-19

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All patrons in food and drink venues must currently be seated when eating or drinking however nightclubs can operate in accordance with an Approved Plan.

Victoria remains under the harshest restrictions in the country and the state is unlikely to see all restrictions dropped by December.

Stage four restrictions are in place until September 13 and lockdown measures will be eased further from September 28, so long as coronavirus infections have reduced to between 30 to 50 daily cases before then.

Mr Andrews has said he wants Christmas to be "as normal as possible" for Victorians and is working toward having most restrictions eased by the time December rolls around, however while families might be able to gather, the chances of large corporate Christmas parties seems slim.

In South Australia, there are minimal restrictions around group gatherings, however no shared utensils are allowed to be provided during group events. Communal food or beverage service areas are banned, meaning your office Christmas party probably won't have a buffet or communal punch bowl this year.

If you live in Western Australia, your chances of having an office Christmas party are high given the state's current COVID-19 situation.

READ MORE: Christmas to 'look different' with iconic tradition cancelled

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Unseated performances are permitted at venues such as concert halls, live music venues, bars, pubs and nightclubs meaning your office has plenty of choices for their annual Christmas celebration

The NT has been the state arguably least impacted by the pandemic in terms of infection numbers and there are few restrictions that remain in place meaning if you live in the NT, you're likely to be able to enjoy an end of year office party.

The ACT, which has not recorded a positive case of COVID-19 in a number of weeks, has lifted most restrictions on clubs, entertainment venues, bars and restaurants.

In Tasmania, people attending an event in a licensed venue can move around freely, as long as they are not standing and drinking alcohol and dancing in venues where food an alcohol is being consumed won't be permitted until after Christmas.

"Restrictions remain in place for dancing in all venues where food and alcohol is consumed because of the increased risk of close contact, particularly where alcohol is consumed, and difficulty of tracing contact among patrons. This restriction will be in place at least until the end of 2020," the Tasmanian government said on its website.

What will a Christmas party look like this year?

Depending on which state you live in, some Christmas traditions may look slightly different in 2020.

Buffets and bonbons could be a no-go to avoid touching the same surfaces and some states may still have a limit on dancing (although this could be a good thing to avoid any embarrassing dance moves in front of colleagues).

Dalton House in Sydney already has Christmas parties booked for December. There is a 150-person cap and CEO Anna Cesarano said the company has come up with a creative possibility for companies wanting to go ahead with their Christmas party plans.

"We have launched hybrid events where we can have people can virtually party, whereby we deliver the menu to their doorstep and they can party have the DJ going," Ms Cesarano said.

The new virtual hybrid-event would mean everyone in the office gets their Christmas menu delivered to their door while connected online to enjoy the music and chat with colleagues.

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"We're just trying to be creative because people want to party and people are looking for an excuse to party, especially this year," she said.

"There's other options for example 150 can be on site, and the other 150 to be at home if they can't come or are maybe at risk."

Ms Cesarano said the current restrictions haven't stopped a number of larger-scale events going ahead so far, and Christmas should be no exception.

"We have had some amazing events since July and there hasn't been one outbreak – we've been able to manage the events with our COVID-safe plan," she said.

"There will be amazing and creative ways people can party this Christmas … We're not about to let this dampen our spirits."

Not only do venues want to ensure people can enjoy their end of year celebrations, but finding solutions is critical for businesses struggling after a difficult few months.

"It's been a hard enough year as it is, our industry has been one of the wort hit so we're trying to hang in there."

How many people allowed at Christmas party?

Currently in NSW, the four-square-meter rule applies to all indoor venues, booking are restricted to 10 people and no more than 20 people are allowed to gather outside in a public place.

The maximum number of people who may attend a wedding or a gathering following a wedding service cannot be greater than 150 people and all night clubs are currently closed.

Restrictions on the number of people allowed to gather together is unlikely to increase significantly any time soon.

After September 28, and assuming case numbers continue to decline, up to five people from two different households will be allowed to meet outdoors. This means a virtual office party could be on the cards for people in Melbourne.

Queensland currently has a limit on gatherings to a maximum of 10 people in homes and public spaces however wedding ceremonies may have up to 100 people in attendance.

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In South Australia, gatherings at private residences may have up to 50 people per gathering and group events not in a person's home are restricted to no more than 100 people.

If you live in WA, your whole office will likely be able to attend, with limits on gatherings now only determined by the reduced two-square-metre rule.

People in the Northern Territory are also looking at a fairly normal Christmas, with events of less than 100 people not requiring any safety plan as long as physical distancing is maintained.

In Tasmania, there are few restrictions on gatherings of less that 250 people. If your office is planning on having a bigger Christmas party event, you may have to host it outdoors with a maximum of 500 permitted.

In the ACT, there is a cap of group gatherings of 100 people per venue despite low numbers of community transmission over the last few months.

What will the office Christmas party look like in 2020? (2024)
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