Falguni Jain is a business development professional turned content marketer for Hubilo, a virtual event platform with notable global clients that include the UN, Siemens, GITEX, NYU, AWS and Tech In Asia.
Don’t Let the (Coronavirus) Grinch Steal Your Christmas – Shift Your Team Holiday Party Online
It has been a challenging year for everyone but your team needs their morale boosted now, more than ever. If you’ve bravely taken on the responsibility of planning the office holiday party this year but are struggling to come up with last-minute ideas, look no further!
Read on to find out some out-of-the-box ideas to host the best-ever party for your team.
Move your celebration to the virtual space
Vet for a virtual event platform that has a user-friendly interface and scope for in-depth customizations. Also consult with your event-tech partner whether they have features such as a Facebook-like event feed, interactive online agenda, live session streaming, online booths, breakout rooms, networking lounges and options to chat and answer polls. Why? Because you don’t want your virtual party to turn into a boring webinar!
Finalize the event theme.
Ensure you have a theme for your event and design each aspect of the virtual party keeping that in mind. Check with your virtual event software provider if they offer platform designs that go in-line with the holiday theme and give your event a complete seasonal makeover.
To augment the holiday vibe, don’t forget to incorporate green screens with elements like snowflakes, Christmas trees, Santa caricatures and candy canes.
Create an interactive agenda for your virtual party.
Although it’s a party you still need to plan your agenda. You don’t want your employees to get bored from the lack of engaging content nor do you want to give them virtual fatigue by hosting too many sessions. Hence, keeping a balance between both is the key.
Consider adding an introductory session, followed by a quick overview of how to use the platform. Fit in a message from the CEO and/or team lead and then dedicate the rest of the event to the fun sessions and activities you have planned (and even a holiday movie marathon for that matter).
A good way to streamline the agenda is by hosting multiple tracks for the sessions and labeling them with interesting holiday names. This will allow attendees to jump between different tracks and choose whichever sessions they want to attend.
Have a dress code.
What’s a Christmas party without a pre-decided costume? But since everyone is attending it virtually, add a twist and encourage them to dress from the waist up. Then bring up your team’s enthusiasm by hosting a “who wore the ugliest sweater with their pajamas’ competition.” Let your team send in their funny photos on the event feed and pick the winner based on who received the highest votes.
Don’t worry about catering.
Switch to pre-scheduling food delivery for your team by using services like Uber Eats and Grubhub. Similarly, send DIY mocktail and cocktail kits to their homes. Alternatively, you could email them dinner gift cards so they can order meals as per their convenience and preference.
Send out e-invites.
Email festive invitations to the team members. Include a holiday message, event timing, date, agenda, dress code and activities planned, along with pre-made event login details.
Include engaging virtual sessions.
Give your team a chance to be a part of interactive sessions while learning new skills in a fun and festive way.
Feature a virtual mixology or baking session on the agenda page by inviting industry experts to take a short class. Similarly, add a holiday craft-making workshop in the breakout rooms section and allot a virtual networking lounge to a tarot card reader so your employees can get a personalized reading (those are always a hit!).
Plan for Fun Team-Bonding Activities.
Don’t leave out Secret Santa just because your party is shifting to an online venue this year! But prior preparation is even more necessary this time to avoid confusion and ensure no one gets left out. Use an online name generator to pair up people and ask them to deliver their Secret Santa gifts in advance. Then segregate everyone into different networking lounges and give them a chance to open their presents live. And keep them guessing who their Secret Santa is.
Make sure you also include a slot for online caroling. Everyone can submit their song requests in the session’s chat window and you can play the Christmas carols live (or even invite professionals), while everyone sings along.
Using the virtual event platform’s gamification feature can really level up the holiday spirit in the room and leave your employees amazed. Considering setting up entry-based competitions and pick the winners based on the number of likes received on their entries. Have a funny Christmas jingles competition and a card making or Christmas tree decorating contest. Similarly, host a virtual cook-off or even a virtual scavenger hunt surrounding the event theme where the fastest one to find a certain list of items in their house, wins.
The pandemic may have forced you to switch the venue of your annual office holiday party, but you can still come up with creative ways to leverage event technology to create an engaging experience for your team.
Wishing you good luck in planning the event and Happy Holidays!