Not surprisingly, most companies are not having their regular in-person holiday parties this month.

A new survey by the business and executive coaching firm Challenger Grey & Christmas finds only 23% of companies are planning a year-end celebration, and 74% of those will be virtual events.

The survey of 189 human resources representatives at companies of various sizes across the country also finds 1.3% will hold a party in person without any precautions at all, something that would be forbidden in New Jersey.

Despite the limitations imposed by the health emergency, Michele Siekerka, the president and CEO of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, said companies still want to find a way to reward their workforce so many are looking at different ways to get creative and innovative.

“Some things they may be doing, for example, are gift cards that can be used in local eateries so that people can have a lunch delivered or have a bottle of wine delivered and they’re getting together for a virtual cocktail, all together with a toast for the season.”

She noted another holiday gift option for employers is to allow their employees to get off the grid for some extra R&R.

“For any company that has the ability maybe to take a couple of extra days off and allow their workforce to catch an extra break before the new year, I think that can be very well received,” said Siekerka.

Some companies, instead of having a holiday party, are looking for other ways to involve employees in a different kind of way.

“Many companies get philanthropic, even more so, and they do team-building events around the holidays in order to help their communities. A lot of these opportunities are online now,” she said.

She noted NJBIA is supporting Fulfill, the food bank of Monmouth and Ocean counties, with a website where donors can purchase food to be donated.

Siekerka said if companies have a culture where they value their employees, it’s important for them to express that appreciation.

“It’s a little more difficult to do that in these remote-work times but it can still be done," she said.

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