With all the ups and downs that we have experienced this year, it is nice to know that we can still count on each other. A virtual holiday party for your remote team is one way to show them that we are all in this together and to remind people of the goodness and warm feelings that the holidays can bring.
If your team is new to the remote workforce life, then you and your virtual team may have by now adjusted to remote work.
So while it is not altogether enticing to have an office holiday party over the internet, it will surely get your remote team in the holiday spirit and bring together your remote staff in a way that is more enjoyable than a typical virtual meeting or work event.
Things to Consider When Hosting a Virtual Holiday Party
We have all been through a lot this year! Therefore, it’s important that you think about giving back to your team somehow. There are several things to consider when hosting a remote holiday party, such as what your remote employees can do, how much time they could give, the cost, and specific holiday observances.
If you have any budget, consider sending some small treats to your employees that are earmarked for the holiday event. That way they will be prepared for the event and the onus is not on them to prepare.
Try to find a time that works for everyone to maximize attendance. Consider hosting the event early in December so that it is out of the way and your employees are free to enjoy other holiday-related events like shopping and spending time with their families.
Depending on the size of your team and what the holiday party will consist of, it might be best to go with a professional virtual event software so that the event runs smoothly. Virtual event software has networking capabilities, which allows for more interaction and streamlining compared to a video conferencing app.
Virtual Holiday Party Ideas to Engage Remote Employees
A virtual holiday party is a great way to celebrate all the hard work that your remote team has done for the company. To give you some help, we’ve come up with a few virtual holiday party ideas to engage your remote employees.
1. Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Since you will be connecting with your team through a virtual interface, you might as well use it! In addition to dressing up and decorating your screen for the holidays, consider hosting a virtual scavenger hunt. Ask your remote employees to search the web for fun items like:
- A quote from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
- All of Santa’s reindeer’s names
- An image of a Hanukkah menorah
- The ugliest holiday sweater
- Your company’s holiday hours
- And much more!
Consider gifting the winning remote employees with something like a gift card or an extra day or half-day of time off!
2. Virtual Secret Santa
One great virtual party idea is, of course, the virtual Secret Santa gift exchange!
You can name this anything you want, but the idea is that your remote employees put some thought into getting another employee a gift for the holidays! You’ll have to start the Secret Santa a few weeks before your actual event so that your employees have enough time to get the gift situated.
If your team is really remote and in different parts of the world, ask that each remote employee provide suggestions that will be easy for anyone in the world to find. Remote employees could also give the recipient a placeholder gift and then coordinate with them after the fact (like a printout of a scarf). However, be sure that the recipient has something to “open” during the virtual event.
Be sure to put a cap on the price. Anything over $20 will be considered excessive.
3. Virtual Gingerbread Making
Virtual gingerbread making will require that your employees have gingerbread supplies on hand. However, this is a great holiday event for your remote employees to do with each other and with their families!
Recommend that your team gets the supplies about a week ahead of time. If you can, offer to give them a $5 or $10 gift card to cover the costs. Or, consider gathering the necessary items yourself and shipping them to each member of the team.
You can give a reward for the best gingerbread house and cap it at 30 minutes to make it!
4. Ski Chalet Theme
Ski Chalet is a ‘hybrid’ holiday party, which asks for your remote employees to keep busy on their end. You can either send them items or send them a gift card for items so that they can follow along. Guests should wear an ugly holiday sweater or their best chalet gear, have hot cocoa and marshmallows, and bring candy canes.
Don’t be afraid to ask your staff to tune in with their family, while at a holiday vacation home, or doing something fun, like being in the winter chalet hot tub! This theme is designed for your remote employees to be doing something fun while also staying connected to the team.
While video conferencing, ask your remote employees to play games like holiday trivia, holiday bingo, or you can watch clips from classic holiday movies together!
5. Winter Cocktails or Mocktails
Winter cocktails or mocktails are the perfect addition to any of these virtual holiday party ideas. A mocktail is a fun way to really get in the festive mood, so let your remote team know that they should plan for a company virtual happy hour so that they come prepared with mixers.
Don’t hesitate to provide recipes that use ingredients like cinnamon, peppermint, and schnapps. Winter cocktails or mocktails will go great with a festive outfit and holiday decorations. In addition to whipping up those drinks, ask your remote employees to decorate their home office. Tinsel, wreaths, and lights can be strung up around their desk. Give treats to those who do the best job!
6. Virtual Holiday Bingo
If your team loves bingo or other board games, then you can set up a virtual game session. Bingo is easy as templates can be printed out online. Create your own holiday-themed bingo that asks guests to list a Mariah Carey song reference or indulge those who still believe in Santa. Or, download a holiday bingo template off Pinterest.
Try to mix in some fun bingo ideas that also involve your company so that you get people thinking! Virtual holiday bingo is also a great team building exercise, which can be used as company icebreakers and getting to know your team better!
7. Virtual Murder Mystery
Murder mysteries are extremely popular and are a great way of engaging with your friends, family, and coworkers. They work through a remote environment, too, so don’t be afraid to set up your own virtual murder mystery!
If you are the creative type, then you can consider setting up your own storyline. Allow your remote employees the opportunities to get into a character, whether they develop their character themselves or you provide them with character options.
You can download a murder mystery online or order a board game and run the event virtually. There are plenty of downloadable murder mystery themes to choose from! Go wild!
8. Movie Watch Party
Streaming services like Netflix have a party feature, so you could consider hosting a virtual movie watch party. Ask your remote employees to coordinate a Netflix movie on their TV.
Be sure to give them a warning in case they don’t have a Netflix account (they can get the free 7-day trial!). While you’re watching the same movie you can engage with the “party” through the Netflix app or on a video conference software, which often allows video streaming and chat features.
If you don’t want to deal with Netflix, ask your remote employees to get the same festive movie, and then you can all start it together, separately!
9. Real Goodie Boxes
If you can splurge, a real goodie box sent to your remote employees’ homes will be a welcome treat. Not only will they know that you are thinking about them, but they will also be able to use the treats engaging with the team.
Try to send the goodie boxes early so that you know they will arrive on time! If there are perishables in the boxes, don’t send them too early! Or ask remote employees to refrigerate the box. You can have everyone open up the box at the same time while on a video call!
10. Full-on holiday party
Of course, you can use any or all of these ideas to host an all-out holiday party. While your remote employees may be tired of being on the computer all day, you can consider setting up these events and asking remote employees to do them over the course of a week.
Ask them to send pictures over. Everyone can vote on gingerbread houses, the best (or worst) holiday sweaters, or the best mocktail online via live chat or poll!
2020 has required a lot of creativity and innovation. The upcoming holiday season will be no different. We have all been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in one way or another so taking an opportunity to celebrate, be grateful and joyful, and enjoy the holiday traditions with your remote employees. This can go a long way to boosting morale and hopefully setting up a brighter 2021.