This year has taken everyone through a whirlwind of change, from business owners who have had to adjust their practices to prioritize safety, to workers who have been laid off or have begun working remotely in light of the global pandemic.
Despite the vast changes experienced in 2020, one thing is clear for organizations everywhere: It is important to keep your head up and keep your culture strong, even though employees may not be physically together as they were in the past.
This year especially, it is important to do everything you can to make your team feel appreciated and cared for. As we approach the holiday season, here are a few tips for hosting a virtual office party while keeping your employees’ safety and well-being a priority.
1. Get creative when you host a virtual office party.
While things may look a bit different this year, leaders should try their best to keep the culture positive, upbeat, and strong among their teams. Although a gathering may not seem possible in the middle of a pandemic, there are many virtual party ideas you can consider when planning your team’s holiday get-together. All it takes is a little extra creativity.
Once your team is together on a Zoom call, the opportunities for a fun virtual holiday party are endless. From virtual trivia contests and karaoke to wine tastings and cooking demos, there are countless ways to show your employees you care about giving them positive vibes during this holiday season.
If you’re having trouble channeling your inner creativity or you just have a lot on your plate at the moment, you may try to partner with party planners to deliver an exceptional year-end celebration for your employees. What better way is there than to end the year on a high note, surrounded (virtually) by your team?
2. Take your virtual holiday party to the next level.
If your company does choose to enlist the help of a party planner, this gives you an opportunity to take your virtual holiday party to the next level. While in the past years, organizations may have been tight on budgets from gatherings or events that may have taken place earlier in the year. This time it’s different since there were likely little to no events throughout the year. As a result, a company’s budget for office parties and other miscellaneous events may be higher, giving you a buffer to get the service of expert party planners.
As expenses may have been different than usual, planners and hosts should keep this in mind when planning their office party via Zoom. So, don’t be afraid to spend a little extra on this year’s holiday office party. This will make a big difference in throwing a fun and engaging virtual office party and having a remote festive environment. It will help you show appreciation for employees, which is especially important at the end of this rough year.
3. Hire a performer or master of ceremonies to host the office party via Zoom.
Another way to get creative with this year’s holiday party is to consider hiring talent to entertain guests. Hiring a performer or master of ceremonies may be the way to go this year to make sure employees are entertained and engaged, even on Zoom.
Virtual entertainment talent options are endless, from musicians, comedians, magicians, and the list goes on. Your goal here is to captivate people and appeal to a wide-scale audience.
4. Have a game plan full of your virtual party ideas.
While activities are a good way to keep everyone engaged, this is something you should really plan ahead of time to avoid any technical difficulties. Be sure to make your virtual office party as structured as you can by sticking to a game plan from the moment you begin planning the celebration.
Brainstorm a few fun activities that will allow your team to collaborate and bring their best to the table. This will help keep everyone energized and excited instead of feeling like they are at another work meeting.
Additionally, having someone facilitate your plans will be a big help in keeping your holiday party via Zoom as organized as possible. They will ensure that everything goes as planned and that everything runs smoothly.
5. Send your team care packages or goodie bags ahead of the virtual holiday party.
To get everyone excited, it can be a great idea to deliver party bags ahead of the celebration. You can opt for cocktail (or mocktail) kits for a virtual happy hour or even a goodie bag with treats and gifts as a token of appreciation for employees. These items will also serve the purpose of getting everyone pumped for the virtual holiday party.
6. Don’t forget to take time into consideration for your virtual office party.
While it may be tempting to keep your virtual holiday party going, you should be sure to limit it to an hour or an hour and a half max. It is very likely that employees already have video conferencing fatigue after a long day of work. Keep your party short, sweet, and to the point.
Encourage everyone to stay for as long as they feel comfortable with. Now that employees are working from home, it’s important to remember that they may have families or other responsibilities to attend to. To maintain a healthy balance and keep their screen time minimal, you should remember that employees should not feel obliged to be online all night.
Staying online for too long after the workday is over may just feel like they are working overtime. Limiting your celebration to a reasonable timeframe will help you avoid this at all costs.
7. Be sure to bond with your team.
When you host a virtual office party, it is important to remember that interactivity is key to keeping employees engaged and ensuring that they are having a good time. Planners can do everything from online games to a simple chat to keep the party interactive and engaging.
Another great idea to have everyone mingle is to use breakout rooms in Zoom and pair people from different departments together, so they can get to know each other as they enjoy the festivities.
No matter what you decide to do, remember to keep it fun and make a strong effort to use this time to bond with your team. This is vital, especially in a year where many people have lost the physical interaction aspect of an office environment.
Be there with your team to look back on this roller-coaster year and look forward to a better future.
At Infinity Consulting Solutions (ICS), we understand how important it is to bond with your team, especially when everyone is working from home. Staying connected with them can help you strengthen that bond and ensure that everyone feels engaged even in a remote work environment.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to improve your workplace culture, please know that we are here to help. Feel free to check out our ICS blog for more useful ideas, tips, and guides. Contact us today if you have inquiries about us and our services.