We all look forward to our office holiday party. Whether it has been held in the office or at an outside venue, these gatherings give us the opportunity to spend time together outside of our usual workday and celebrate the season. This year, these gatherings will be more important for our employees than ever.
As we approach the holiday season and the close of a year that will certainly go down in history, companies of all types, shapes and sizes need to think about how to celebrate their employees, the close of 2020 and the start of the new year ahead. With many employees still working remotely, travel restrictions in place and size limitations on gatherings, a traditional company holiday party or team building event may not be possible. However, with some ingenuity and planning, there are still ways to connect your teams, foster company culture, build employee morale, generate excitement for the year ahead and deliver some seasonal cheer!
Here are a few ideas for hosting socially distanced or virtual corporate gatherings:
- Themed Virtual Events or Classes – Host your holiday gathering as a virtual event with engaging, structured elements to it. Kickoff with a message from leadership and a fun holiday trivia game. Then, offer employees a selection of interactive breakout sessions such as a celebrity chef-led cooking experience, wreath making, holiday cocktail mixology, candle making, or a paint & sip activity. Families at home may be encouraged to join the fun too!
- Virtual Reality Venues – This is not just another Zoom call. A virtual reality venue is a digital world where employees can create their own personal avatar and use it to explore the digital environment, interact with colleagues and be a part of a unique bonding experience. Gatherings like live music festivals or performances, group soccer games, interactive gifting experiences, and organic networking can all happen in a virtual reality world.
- Drive-In or Picnic Parties – A fun way to safely bring employees together for a socially distant live event is to host a drive-in or picnic party. Think live musical performances, holiday movie screenings or celebrity guest speakers. Provide unique touches like heated domes per couple/family, individual picnic setups, themed snack kits, or a charitable give-back like a toy drive.
- Recipe Contest – During this period of extended stay at home, home cooking and baking has been on the upswing and is always in full gear during the holiday season. Ask employees to submit their favorite holiday recipes for their peers to vote on. Winning entries receive a prize at the end of the contest period and, as a gift to employees, have the recipes bound into a custom “Quarantine Cookbook.”
- Fun Run/Walk – What better time of year than the holiday season to get out for some fresh air and a little friendly competition? Host a virtual 5K or fun run/walk. Create hype leading up to the race by sending employees an engagement package with a fitness tracker, a branded tee shirt or race number and energizing snacks. Have a virtual leaderboard where everyone can feel connected and encourage employees to post on social media during the race. Your company can even run on behalf of a charity (or several) and provide a donation based on race results.
- Virtual Performances – Your organization is filled with hidden talent. Create an event to showcase it with a virtual talent show or virtual karaoke. Or wow employees with a unique live performance by a professional artist. Could be music, magic, painting, comedy – the possibilities and realm of talent are endless.
- Seasonal Deliveries – Not exactly a group gathering but a great way to make employees feel appreciated and boost morale are seasonal deliveries. Beautifully packaged, curated gift boxes are all the rage right now and are so fun to receive. For the holiday season, think branded winter hats or pullovers, hot cocoa mixes or s’mores kits. Unique products from small local and diverse businesses and gifts that give back are perfect for spreading holiday cheer.
- Holiday Wellness – The holidays can be a fun and exciting, yet also stressful time of year. Give employees a moment of stress release with a virtual yoga or mediation session.
However you choose to alter your corporate holiday celebrations or gifting this year, remember how important this time together is. Even in this time of working-from-home and social distancing, there are still many ways to bring employees together and show appreciation for the effort and commitment they have shown this year.