While we must forgo the office cubicle decorating, break room potluck, and the often anticipated (and often boozy) holiday party this year, many businesses are finding new, creative ways for their now remote staff to still ring in the holiday season together. Thanks to the countless video conferencing platforms out there, virtual “parties” for any celebration — birthdays, baby showers, weddings and now holiday festivities — are becoming part of our new normal while social-distancing and lockdown measures are still in place.
According to a poll conducted by Monster, nearly 60% of the 1,700 respondents indicated they would attend a virtual office party, if hosted by their employer. Almost half of those surveyed said it would be fine if it was just an informal video call or Zoom Room, giving them a chance to connect virtually with coworkers that they haven’t seen in months.
So for those of you still on the fence as to whether a) host a holiday party for your employees or b) attend one that your company is planning, here are a few ideas you can consider to make it more lively and enjoyable for all.
1. Make it a Trivia or Game Night
Instead of trying to recreate a traditional holiday party online, consider hosting a virtual trivia or game night. The trivia could be holiday-themed and based on favorite TV show episodes – like whose name did Jim Halpert from The Office draw in their secret Santa gift exchange and what did he give in the tenth episode of season 2? If leaning towards a game night, charades is always a fun option, especially if you like the idea of watching your boss dance around their living room as a chicken.
2. Organize a Group Baking Class or Mixology Class
Who doesn’t like holiday treats and a fun cocktail (or mocktail) to pair with it? Depending on the size of your company and confirmed interest, you could organize a group baking and/or mixology class. Simply share the recipes in advance, decide whether the company will cover the costs of the ingredients and then assign a top-chef and mixologist to lead the class, as employees learn how to make new festive treats and drinks.
3. Hold a White Elephant Gift Exchange
Holiday parties (virtual or not) are never complete without gifts. And one of the most popular ways to exchange quirky and sometimes impractical gifts is through a white elephant gift exchange. To do this virtually consider using a white elephant gifting platform. Through a simple registration of either a personal or professional account, players can invite attendees and create new games. Gameplay is free for up to 25 players and corporate packages are available for purchase. With so many customizable options, organizational tools, and resources, it’s never been easier to bring the age-old tradition of a white elephant gift exchange online. This is a great last-minute solution for companies needing a safe, entirely virtual holiday activity.
Whatever other festive ideas you come up with, remember the real purpose behind a holiday party is to showcase employee appreciation and acknowledge all the hard work they’ve put in, especially during a very stressful and unpredictable year.