In 2020, we need new ways to celebrate holidays with remote employees. No one wants to miss out on the fun and excitement of a traditional Christmas party. But the present situation prevents us from doing so. Nevertheless, we can still celebrate this wonderful holiday through a virtual holiday party.
According to a TELUS International survey, more than half of employees feel less connected to their workplace culture. They miss their colleagues and routines, including fun stuff such as holiday celebrations and good times with co-workers. Just because you work remotely doesn’t mean you can’t build relationships with co-workers and get into the holiday spirit like other office teams. Whatever your work circumstances are, HR leaders and front-line managers will need to rethink and redo holiday celebrations this year. From one-time get-togethers to casual no-meeting-required celebrations, there are plenty of ways to stay connected and bring the festive cheer with remote team celebrations.
So, how can you bring a little holiday cheer to all your remote colleagues this season? Here are 8 memorable ideas to lift up your holiday spirit. And all of the ideas can work for any size or distanced workforce.
1. Host a virtual party
A virtual Christmas party is a holiday get-together for remote employees conducted online. You probably can’t have the crew together, so go ahead and continue what you’ve likely done many times this year. Online parties allow remote co-workers to gather together, connect, and develop sociability. Virtual Christmas party games motivate remote employees to collaborate and help team members feel more at ease with each other.
Invite remote employees to participate in office parties by video for a round of office bingo, Pictionary, charades, or other games. Video is also an easy way for remote employees to experience the party’s toasts and speeches. Also, the party will be more fun if everybody will participate in the dress code. It will also serve as their costume in your holiday costume contest.
Furthermore, you can make the party extra special whether you send your invites through the web or to the physical addresses of your remote coworkers.
Eat, drink, and be merry virtually!
2. Organize holiday contests
There are countless holiday contests you can organize to bring the holiday spirit into your remote workplace. Get everyone in the spirit by hosting competitions that remote employees can easily participate in through video calls and shared photos.
To get employees involved in virtual contests that almost make them feel like they’re in the workplace again, here are two ideas:
- Workspace decorations: Invite employees to decorate their home offices for their holiday of choice – much like they might decorate their work station, office, cubicle or locker. Then have them either submit a photo of their space or a video tour. Invite everyone to vote on the best and give a gift card prize to the winner.
- Ugly sweaters: Ask employees to don their ugliest or most creative holiday sweater at your next Zoom meeting. Then get everyone on the meeting to vote on the most obnoxious, creative, brightest, etc., and send prizes to the winners.
You can also host a theme-based contest, like a Best Holiday Costume competition, 30-second, or a Christmas carol karaoke. When you need a little more face time, just send an email invite for a meaningful holiday celebration—even if you can’t cheers in person.
3. Bring together the families
You can celebrate holidays with remote employees and their families. Ideas:
- Jingle Family Challenge: They invited employees to video themselves and their children, roommates, or anyone in between, singing a favorite holiday song. Everyone can watch the performances, and a panel judges the best, which is rewarded with a family photoshoot.
- Gingerbread House Decorating Contest: The company sent employees a kit to build and decorate a gingerbread house. Employees shared their creations – and they rewarded winners.
- Video call with Santa: The company gave employees’ children an opportunity to talk with Santa Claus and his elves via video. Then they sent a gift to all the kids who participated.
4. Make room for Christmas carols
You can ask your team members to create their versions of their favorite Christmas carols. Or, you can either assign certain songs to each of them as individuals or groups. Caroling over the holidays is a wonderful way to bond with remote colleagues and, if you love to sing, few things will make you feel more spirited. Send out an invite for anyone who wants to join in, email a list of songs to participants so they can prepare if they want to, set up a video call, and you’re ready to go!
5. Organize Secret Santa
A secret Santa gift exchange is a great way to spread joy and celebrate with your remote colleagues. It also forces your team members to learn about each other. The key to pulling this off is to give your employees plenty of time to plan, assemble, and mail their gifts. On the appointed day, you can bring together all the employees on a video conference call and perform a public unwrapping.
Everyone enjoys getting treats in the mail, whether it’s a small box that includes the same gifts other employees have received or an assortment of cards and treats that employees have exchanged with each other. It can also be fun to open these gifts during a video call!
Sending your remote employees even with a small gift box makes them feel special and appreciated.
6. Exchange eCards or virtual gifts
Instead of Secret Santa gift exchanges, give gifts that can be easily shared with remote employees. Electronic gift cards, concert/event tickets, travel packages, charitable donations, and time off are all easily given by email (and will probably be appreciated more than another paperweight or coffee mug).
You can direct your team to any of the many E-card sites and let them have at it. They can get creative and create their own, or use any of dozens of premade designs and messages.
With so many eCard companies to choose from, remote workers can pair up to send fun online holiday-themed cards to coworkers. Those who are so inclined can even design their own cards to show off their artistic skills!
7. Share videos and photos
Don’t let remote employees miss out on seeing office decorations, homemade treats, Santa hats and other holiday fun. Host a video tour, create a shared photo drive on dropbox or post pictures in your company’s chat or social media channels.
8. Compile a mixtape of the season
Consider sharing your holiday mixtape with your remote team members. Allow co-workers to play DJ by making a collaborative playlist on a music streaming site. Then shared the queue with your colleagues come celebration time. You and your co-workers can edit the playlist and add songs all season long. You could even create a playlist on Spotify or Soundcloud and share virtual playlists as a surprise for seasonal listening.
With a little creativity, remote celebrations can still be special team occasions. Conducting a few holiday-inspired team engagement activities can help your team members bond and spring into the new year stronger and more connected than ever. When team members connect, they feel greater loyalty to each other and a higher motivation to support the team. It’s a chance to take time out of work to unwind, relax, celebrate the year, mingle, and get to know your fellow work colleagues that little bit more.