The pandemic has taken its toll across the globe and the customary excitement and frenetic activity usually associated with this time of year is definitely on mute. As we await government guidance on the restrictions likely to be imposed for Christmas and throughout December, the majority of companies have had to acknowledge that the office party as we know it, will not take place this year.

But wait, that doesn’t mean that there will be no celebrations, it simply requires some creative thinking – and also represents a fantastic opportunity for food and drink brands to put forward their best festive offers.

2020 could see the arrival of a brand new ‘Zoom Christmas party’ phenomenon. Staff who may have spent the last eight months communicating with their colleagues via Zoom (or Teams, Google Hangouts or Skype) have become incredibly proficient at using the various digital platforms to maintain operations, and now it is time to embrace the full power of the internet to save the time-honoured tradition of the annual office bash.

Zoom Karaoke, digital murder mystery parties, comedy bouncers, virtual toilets and smoking areas, themed rooms, you can even dial into Santa via Zoom, these are just some of the online experiences that can be incorporated into the newest wave of parties.  But no party is complete without celebratory food and drink and this is where smaller artisan producers can play a blinder. Get thinking how your business can be part of this digital dining scene, either on your own or by collaborating with other like-minded brands to create a party in a box or post party gift bag for attendees. Perhaps you can develop a specially branded offering which reflects a more personalised message from the company to its staff? Maybe you could create an online buffet and bar where food and drinks can be ordered and delivered ahead of the party? Or what about conjuring up an interactive taste challenge which invites staff to identify unique flavours and ingredients? 

In addition, or instead of a party, companies may choose to reward their staff via a bespoke gift which again offers excellent potential for local food and drink brands to put forward their very best seasonal gifting selections. Equally, it is possible to create vouchers for a future gastronomic treat as a gesture of thanks for all the hard work despite these challenging times, which provides an extravagance to look forward to as we all edge closer to the dreaded winter blues.

So, while it won’t be a ‘normal’ Christmas, the office event of the year is by no means cancelled. And there are some positives, think of the money that will be saved on cab fares when you are a little worse for wear! Not to mention the speed at which you can get into your PJs and slippers after a hard night’s partying!