Tips for virtual company holiday parties
- Give your gathering a goal
- Take staff needs in mind
- Set a date early
- Bring the fun – virtually!
The Village of Merton takes an out of-the-box approach to its holiday gathering. Every year, it avoids the “usual” holiday season. Instead, the municipal office hosts a Valentine’s Day thank-you dinner for Fire department and EMS staff and their significant others. In 2021, they took the event virtual.
“First Responders’ jobs take them away from their family at any time,” said Julie Ofori-Mattmuller, deputy clerk/treasurer. “Birthday parties, Christmas, or any important event in their lives. So, when COVID-19 hit, we all asked, ‘What are we going to do?’”
Creative sparks started flying. Branded holiday gifts added fuel to the inspiration fires—and planning for the virtual company party was underway. Prepared food, including steak and potatoes, were tucked inside an XL Insulated Shopping Tote. Everything from salad to candles to wine were added to a Big Thunder Tote.
“People pulled up, called or texted in, and we had runners take out their order,” said Ofori-Mattmuller.
To give the virtual gathering a “together” feel, planners distributed a QR code linking to a music playlist. Participants sent in selfies and a staff member created an after-party picture show of their meal to distribute to everyone so they could watch what their colleagues’ Valentine’s dinner was like. “It was so nice to hear back from them that this event really meant a lot to them,” said Ofori-Mattmuller.
Get ready to promote with branded reusable totes!
With only 23% of organizations planning a holiday party in 2020, many organizations are looking for a fun way to create their own virtual company holiday party in 2021. We’ve got a few tips that will help you bring your team together (while apart) at your next holiday gathering.
Tip #1: Give your gathering a goal
Creating a new kind of event provides an opportunity to think about why you hold one—and build your new gathering around that theme. Your virtual event can:
- Thank staff for their hard work.
- Celebrate company achievements.
- Create networking opportunities.
- Give people a chance to have fun and relax.
- Knowing your “why” makes it easier to achieve your “how.”
Tip #2: Take staff needs into account
While eliminating travel time and letting people meet via monitor might seem simpler, it adds fresh challenges. Kids and pets may want to join the fun—whether or not a babysitter is available.
- Holding the virtual gathering during business hours to ensure max participation.
- Making it an all-family party so kids can participate in games or crafts instead of having to stay out of view of the cameras.
- Sending a gift or gift basket to all staff members and holding a short thank-you and opening ceremony online just before or after work hours.
The Chemol Company, Inc. in Greensboro, North Carolina chose to simplify gift-giving and gathering to ensure its staff members knew just how much they were appreciated, without holding a traditional holiday event.
“In past years we’ve held holiday gatherings for the staff,” said Rhonda Rice, an executive administrative assistant. They also handed out branded holiday gifts or gift boxes, with past presents including a Roll-Up Beach Blanket with Pillow.
Last year, instead of an in-person corporate holiday gathering, shift leaders handed out the gifts to their teams. Each one contained a letter written by the president of the company that shared the organization’s appreciation.
For organizations who decide to do something similar, holding a virtual countdown where everyone opens their cards or gifts simultaneously is a great way to “gather” for a celebratory moment.
Add fun to your holiday gifts.
Tip #3: Set a date early
Like any other holiday season, people appreciate the ability to plan ahead. Make
people aware of the date weeks—or even months—in advance so they’re able to manage any conflicts. You can also check local event calendars to avoid obvious conflicts with community events.
Tip #4: Bring the fun—virtually!
- While the idea of a virtual company holiday party might sound like just another screen meeting, there are a variety of ways to bring in-person fun to an in-home
gathering. Below are some ideas that offer holiday cheer regardless of location.
- Hold an ugly sweater contest: This classic holiday staple can be simple or elaborate, with participants showing off their sweaters live on camera or posting “fashion shoots” of their sweater. You could have live voting during the event. (Bonus idea: Have them dress up a family pet instead—or to match.)
- Run a cooking or craft class: Staff members can learn to create a holiday treat or craft project either in-person or from the comfort of their own homes with the help of colored pencils, paints or other art supplies sent in advance.
- Host a holiday reading: Have staff members take turns reading a holiday classic, like The Polar Express or How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Staff can just enjoy story time or have people vote for the best reader and offer an ornament as a prize.
Safe holiday gatherings show that you care
A virtual company holiday party can be just as fun as an in-person gathering—and comes with extra advantages. For the heroes of the Village of Merton, a virtual presentation means team members can view the event again and again. And, gift bags will remind them of the organization’s drive-thru holiday celebration every time they use them.
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