It’s pretty clear now that there will be no office parties this year (unless your team is very small!). That’s a blow as we all put up with the pandemic at a time when we’d usually be out having a great time with our colleagues.
Let’s face it – nothing you can do under Covid-19 restrictions is going to be as good as the traditional office bash, and we’re not pretending it will be. But there is still the opportunity to do something to thank your teams for their hard work in this horrible year, and technology can help. Here are some ideas.
Pick a platform
Before you plan any celebrations, you’ll need to decide where you will host your teams. Aside from Teams, Zoom and Skype, which a lot of us have spent many hours on this year, you can also use Google Hangouts, Houseparty, or FaceTime. All have their advantages and drawbacks. Use Christmas-themed backgrounds to give it all a festive feel – there are lots of free ones to download here.
Send an invitation just like you would for an office party. Give everyone a meeting room link in a digital invitation that’s colorful and festive. Tools like Canva are useful for making quick and simple e-invites to send to your staff.
Find a fun format
We suspect there might be a bit of fatigue around online quizzes, so unless you have a fantastic set of personalised questions we’d probably skip that for the Christmas bash. There are lots of other creative and often immersive online experiences out there. Why not try a murder mystery party, or an escape room? We love this one from Macmillan – and while you’re having fun you’ll be supporting a very good cause. There are some other great ones out there like Hogwarts Digital Escape, The Panic Room and Deadlocked Escape Rooms.
Or for a less brain-bending experience you could also arrange online cocktail-mixing workshops, or hire a chef for a virtual cooking lesson.
If you’re used to someone else planning the festivities for you, there are companies that can create bespoke Christmas parties with all the tools you need to recreate a top-notch virtual event – including live entertainment, champagne and party novelties delivered to your employees’ doors.
You don’t have to worry about missing out on the Secret Santa this year – why not deliver a mystery present to a colleague in the post? After all, everyone has become an expert in online shopping! In fact, there are plenty of apps to make sure you won’t miss anyone on your team and choose the right gifts. Use an online organiser to randomly match gift givers to receivers. After receiving an email, staff can add their own present wish list, which will be delivered by their Secret Santa.
Let the games begin!
Multiplayer online games might be one to try out after the cocktail making, and you can even make your own game board using a site like Google Drawing. Jackbox games has plenty of games for 100+ guests, and you can set these up through Zoom or Google Hangout.
Virtual Christmas crackers are something we’ve never seen before but will definitely be trying out! You’ve got to “pull” them on your own, but you still get a bad joke and a prize. Each one also includes a personal message customised by the sender. Send one to each team member, ask them to share their terrible jokes. Just like being there, right…?
Whether you’re one to embrace the Christmas jumper-wearing festivities or dread this time of year, technology means you can have as normal celebration as possible with your team, without the queue for the loo or the taxi ride home!