Daney Parker, Editor, PRmoment.com
Christmas may not have been completely cancelled in 2020 for those in PR, but at best it was a virtual affair. This year, judging from the plans outlined below, many are looking forward to celebrating in a far more spectacular fashion. As Jamie Irwin, founder of agency Straight Up Search, explains: “Remember last year, when we were stuck inside for months on end? This is the redemption and an opportunity to get out there, practice our in-person social skills and not be a Grinch. Enjoy the festive season, ignore diets and just have fun.”
We plan to go wild
Jamie Irwin: “Whilst we don't have a big office and a big number of employees, we plan to indeed get wild and celebrate the season. And why not? We all deserve it for what has been an absolutely crazy year for digital PR and changing online trends.”
We are partying outside
Jane Austin, founder of agency Persuasion Communications: “Due to the then Covid-19 restrictions, like many companies, we held a virtual Christmas bash last December - all partygoers were sent a DIY fondue kit and entertainment included a Popbitch quiz, plus guest appearances from David Hasselhoff, Duncan from Blue and some random goats.
“This year, we’re having an actual party next month, but considering Coronavirus rates are still high, we’re keeping our staff and guests safe by having it outside in the courtyard of our new HQ in Bethnal Green. It’s going to be transformed into a Decemberfest German winter wonderland, complete with gluhwein, bier, genuine German wurst and an actual oompah band. Lederhosen and dirndls will be optional, but we’re going to pull out all the stops to give our do that special German Christmas market warm-and-fuzzy festive feel to celebrate the fact we can actually see everyone in person this year.”
We are eating out in style
Belinda Rastall, account director at agency Liz Lean PR: “We’re all still smarting from the memory of last year’s Christmas ‘festivities’, gamely conducted through Teams and with more than a sprinkle of we-must-be-jolly game face. Set against the backdrop of much bigger and more important problems, of course it wasn’t a huge deal, and our agency went absolutely all out to do whatever we could to give employees the best experience possible, albeit virtually.
“This year, we’re hoping that it will be very different. One thing we’ve come to realise over the past year is how hungry we’ve all been for in-person team time, particularly on a social level. We were mindful that our team members would have different comfort levels on social activity, so our Christmas festive activity was chosen through a democratic process. Therefore, our team is going out for a slap-up meal at a restaurant of their choice - the consensus being that a little luxury is exactly what everyone wants and needs.”
We are combining networking and partying
Tamika Martin, director and PR consultant at agency Ucreate PR & Events Management: “Christmas is going to be quite unique for SMEs, entrepreneurs, the self-employed and network marketers in Nottingham. As we are hosting an event with a slight difference.
“'Sleigh The Night Christmas Networking Party' is a niche event that has purposefully been tailored to accommodate professionals and delegates that don't have the opportunity to attend a traditional Christmas works party because they don't have a large team or premises to party. Remote workers should be given a chance to celebrate the festive season too, right?
“Our PR team consists of six members of staff, but we all work remotely so the team were thrilled to know that this year they can still celebrate Christmas, but with the advantage of being able to network too!”
Some goings on (and out) in Manchester
We are going out, out!
Gary Jenkins, co-founder and managing director of PR agency No Brainer Agency: “Taking time to celebrate our achievements over Christmas and New Year has been part of our culture since we started No Brainer.
“Last year, Covid restrictions meant any social activities were limited, but we still found creative ways to celebrate with each other - either through virtual events, or socially distanced awards, gift giving or get togethers.
“This year, we intend to make up for it! We’re all getting dressed up for a special night in Manchester - on the business - so we can spend some quality time together.
“Since Covid restrictions lifted, we’ve also created a social calendar for the next 12 months, with the whole team’s input, with team events and activities that bring us together. We’re very much a team - it’s core to who we are - so we love getting together to celebrate another amazing year at Christmas. It’s truly so great to be able to do that again.”
We are celebrating flexibly
Gareth Hoyle, managing director at SEO agency Marketing Signals: “This year, we wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate all together, as last year meant we all had to enjoy a festive drink around Zoom. We’ve planned an evening in Manchester for all staff to attend. However, as we are a fully remote workplace and have staff all over the world, those that can’t attend will receive a monetary based bonus to spend on whatever they would like. As a company we’ve learnt to be fully flexible with employees and want to make sure that we’re all able to celebrate, no matter where we are.
“It’s really important to celebrate the festive season, to take some time out and celebrate our achievements. I see the festivities as a ‘thank you’ to employees and a way to get to know each other properly. It may even be the first time some of us will be meeting which will be very enjoyable.”
All that remains for us to say is have fun this Christmas, but of course, always remember to party in a responsible manner!
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