Remote work is continuing to grow as many companies have been forced to have the majority of their employees work from home during the past several months. In addition, many harried workers are eager to stay in the comfort of their own homes. No matter why your employees are currently working remotely, you may be stumped on how you can host your annual holiday party this year.
As a small business owner, you have most likely had to think outside the box many times over the years. Now you can take this skill and apply it to your next team celebration or business-wide party. With a bit of thoughtfulness, preparation, and creativity, you can host an incredible holiday-themed party this year that will have your team members raving about it for months. By trying to keep this part of your office schedule intact, you can help keep up the spirit of your remote workers, stick with your annual traditions as much as possible and excite employees for the year ahead.
Keeping Holiday Spirits High for Remote Workers
With all that is going on at this time of the year, you may think that your annual holiday party could be the first item on your list to be axed. However, you may be surprised at just how good a regular time of celebration and camaraderie can be for your employees. Many workers have most likely not been in the same room together in months, and some may not have even spoken with each other for the same length of time. Getting together, even for a virtual celebration, can be a huge team-building opportunity and will let your employees know that you have noticed all that they have done over the past year.
In addition, some of your employees may blossom in this type of atmosphere. By seeing that their employer is willing to throw a celebration for them, recognize their accomplishments and look beyond any differences there might be in company subcultures, employees will benefit from a huge morale boost that can last for months.
Celebrate Remote Workers with Virtual Parties
The great news is that you do not have to feel limited this year by in-person party ideas that may be impossible to carry out because of health and safety restrictions in your area. There are plenty of virtual office celebration ideas that can help you spread holiday joy to all of your employees no matter where they are working from these days. You can also send a thoughtful virtual corporate e-card to your staff inviting them to your virtual party.
Here are 10 fun options for virtual office parties to help you get started in planning your next celebration.
1. Celebrate With Virtual Happy Hours
Surprisingly, happy hour or a cocktail party does not have to be an in-person event. Instead, you can plan a time where all employees can gather on a video call and mix up their own drinks with what they have at home. For a more extravagant gesture, send each individual a package with all the ingredients they need. Then, during the video call, lead them through a drink-building tutorial, and play a safe drinking game. This can be a good way to help people lighten up and get ready for the joyful holiday season.
2. Send Thoughtful Care Packages
If getting together for a video conferencing party will not work for your team members, opt for a thoughtfully filled care package instead. An unexpected gift will bring a smile to all employees’ faces and remind them that you have not forgotten them. Consider crafting different care packages for each employee to reflect his unique style, personality, and hobbies. You could include craft kits, holiday food, and drinks, subscription boxes, Christmas decorations, candles, or something else altogether. This personal touch will override the otherwise lonesome feel of the remote work experience.
3. Create Secret Santa Gift Exchanges
A Secret Santa gift exchange can easily be done virtually by having team members mail gifts to each other or by recommending they opt for virtual gifts this year. Be sure to set a budget so that employees do not feel pressured to spend too much money. To keep the celebration very budget-friendly, create a virtual white elephant gift exchange instead. A Secret Santa cookie exchange might also be a nice idea if many of your team members love to bake.
4. Choose Virtual Gifts
Technology today makes it incredibly easy to give virtual gifts of all shapes and sizes. From gift cards to favorite stores and restaurants to magazine subscriptions, wine delivery subscriptions, book-of-the-month clubs, and streaming memberships, there is practically no limit to the items you can purchase from the comfort of your couch for all of your team members who currently work from home. Opt for something fun that your employees would never think to purchase for themselves, or choose a service that makes their daily lives easier or healthier instead.
5. Have a Contest
Most employees love contests that pit them against their coworkers. For a Christmas celebration, host a virtual ugly sweater contest via video chat. A costume party with everyone wearing themed costumes from a particular era, movie, or book can spark your employees’ creativity. For those working from virtual offices, a holiday-themed desk decorating contest may be easier and more affordable. You could even host a cookie decorating contest with winners receiving gift cards to restaurants offering delivery.
6. Invite Remote Employees to Virtual Escape Rooms
Escape rooms have taken the country by storm over the past several years, but you do not have to wait before participating in one as a group again. Escape room experiences can make incredible virtual team building activities as coworkers must work together to trace clues and find solutions before time runs out. Numerous companies are currently offering virtual escape rooms that are hosted via Zoom or other video conferencing apps.
7. Use Online Classes as Your Virtual Event
A holiday-themed cooking class, decorating class, painting class, or crafting class can be another great way to get the creative juices flowing for your team members. These classes are often quite affordable and may sometimes be purchased for a single charge no matter how many individuals attend. These classes can also get your employees primed for their own holiday celebrations and give them skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.
8. Host a Virtual Talent Show
You may be surprised by just how many hidden talents your employees have. Some may have played instruments in high school, been accomplished dancers, or learned incredible party tricks. Hosting a virtual talent show via video conferencing software can lead to plenty of laughs and perhaps some jaw-dropping performances.
9. Host a Virtual Awards Show
If you remember nominating classmates in high school for various silly prizes, you can apply these same concepts to your workplace. Use a video call to host a superlatives award show, letting coworkers nominate each other for such titles as most likely to complete tasks ahead of time or most likely to come to work with a thermos of coffee. Use virtual gifts or gift cards as prizes. Not only will remote workers find this party hilarious, but also they will feel supported by their coworkers and recognized for all that they do.
10. Play Virtual Charades
The classic game of charades can easily be modified for a virtual party. One person can be in charge of the game and can text words and phrases to contestants to act out. If charades are not your style, there are plenty of other games that can be modified, such as Pictionary, 20 questions, trivia, or bingo. You can even find plenty of online board games that are perfect if you have a very small number of employees.
The holiday season does not have to be a huge let-down for your employees this year if you use one or more of these imaginative virtual office celebration ideas. Instead, you can be the fun and motivational employer that everyone loves.
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