Getting Creative for the 2020 Office Holiday Party

The Product Analyst, a tech review site in Memphis, was going to scrap its holiday event but the staff requested one so they found a compromise: a P.P.E.-themed soiree. “With safety as the theme, we can assure a low-risk party, with double the amount of fun,” said the company’s corporate wellness expert, Alicia Hough, 31. She’s challenging her colleagues to turn masks, gloves and gowns into costumes like Avengers characters or spacesuits.

Digital Air Strike, a consumer engagement technology company in Scottsdale, Ariz., is, according to the C.E.O. Alexi Venneri, saying “Giddy-up to 2020” with a party at MacDonald’s Ranch. Seventy staff members in Western attire will “choose their own adventure: explore the desert on horseback, relax on a hayride or ride in their very own stagecoach,” she said.

In the past, the company has had holiday boat rides around the San Francisco Bay with Vanilla Ice performing and partied with Wayne Newton at his estate in Las Vegas. This year, the company is requiring employees to stay outdoors, wear custom face coverings and is prohibiting spouses or dates. “We will feel very safe, especially since we are spreading out all the activities,” Ms. Venneri, 49, said.

Less relaxingly, AllTrails, an outdoor fitness app in San Francisco, is organizing its 50 employees into small groups to hike, mountain bike and trail run on paths with the least amount of foot traffic — located with the company technology, naturally. “Dogs and festive attire will be welcomed,” said Meaghan Praznik, 32, the head of communications.

At Test Prep Insight, in Sacramento, Calif., “Given the constraints put on us by Covid, both physically and financially, we’re doing something a little off the wall for our holiday party this year,” said John Ross, 33, the president and C.E.O. His team is meeting at a mountain for sledding, snowshoeing and a snowman-building competition. “I am bringing supplies — carrots, old scarves, etc. — and the first place team will win $200 in Amazon gift cards,” Mr. Ross said.

When it was time to host an annual office holiday gathering, Daniel Penzing, 34, the general manager of Maze of Our Lives, a marketing company in Schaumburg, Ill., was at a loss. But Jan Neubau, 37, the technical director and head of the party planning committee, drew from his German background and decided to turn the company’s parking lot into a market with bratwurst, fried doughnuts and hot wine. Mr. Neubau said he is hoping people remember that their co-workers “are not just Slack or Zoom robots.”

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