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6 ways to bring festive cheer to your remote team

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With social-distancing restrictions still in place, it looks like Christmas parties will be going the same way as most other socialising has this year: virtually.

And after a tough year all round, December can be a chance to show your appreciation to hard-working employees (and get in an extra bit of team bonding, too).

So here’s how to spread some Christmas cheer from afar with a remote work celebration - whether you book a fully-hosted virtual party or arrange it all yourself.

1. Send a goodie bag first

One way to get that feeling of togetherness? Organise for a goodie bag to be delivered to every team member’s doorstep before the day of the party - with instructions not to open it until the team is together online.

You could build from scratch, personalise or send a premade goodie bag including treats like:

  • Reindeer headbands, Santa hats or festive sunglasses
  • Fuzzy socks
  • Hot chocolate mix and a Christmas mug
  • Cardboard props for a photo booth shoot
  • Recovery kit for the next morning
  • Gift voucher

The box can also include instructions on an activity you’ll be doing together (for more ideas about this, see below.)

2. Set up a social-distanced Secret Santa

That moment you get to study your colleague’s reaction when they open the Secret Santa gift you got them? It can still happen - albeit over a live video screen. 

Choosing who buys a gift for who, and setting a budget, is done the same way as before. The only difference is that the wrapped presents need to be mailed to the person they’re going to.

The only thing you can’t control? Whether your assigned colleague will genuinely like their gift or not.

3. Sing with speed karaoke

Thanks to online apps like Lucky Voice Karaoke, video karaoke is thriving in a pandemic world.

But if you insist your party goers sit politely through full-length covers of timeless classics, you may have mutiny on your hands.

Far better to stick to short and snappy versions of favourite festive songs - 30 seconds is a perfect length. Or use software with a shuffle effect so no one knows when they’ll be called upon to blast out the first bars of a party hit.

The best bit? If someone’s rendition of “All I want for Christmas is you” doesn’t hit the spot (or the note), there’s always the option to mute…

4. Escape from it all for a bit

After a year that turned the world on its head, everyone deserves some escapism. And an immersive experience - like a virtual escape room employees have to get out of to reach their Christmas party - might do the trick.

Whether it’s a Harry Potter themed experience, a Christmas murder mystery or navigating through the Pyramids in Ancient Egypt… there are plenty of fun options to choose from. And they also call for teamwork, imagination and logical thinking - with added team rivalry for some extra competition.

5. Tempt the team tastebuds

Many in-person events companies have switched to hosting remote parties and there are more virtual classes available than ever to turn a Christmas bash into a tastebud treat.

It’s easy to include the ingredients in goodie boxes sent to the team ahead of time, whether it’s festive chocolate making with a chocolatier, mixing Christmas cocktails with a master mixologist or beer and cheese tasting with an expert beer guide.

6. Dish out the awards

Does your company already hold an award ceremony as part of your end-of-year celebrations? If not, it’s one to add to the line up for 2020. As we know through our work at HR GO, recognising staff for their hard work is even more important this year - many remote employees feel their efforts aren’t noticed as much as they would be in the physical workplace.

As well as the usual ‘serious’ categories, roll out the red carpet for some more light-hearted virtual-working awards like:

  • ‘Forgets to unmute most often’
  • ‘Most barky dog in the background’
  • ‘Best virtual backdrop’
  • ‘Best interruption’
  • ‘Dodgiest internet connection’
  • ‘Heaviest snacker during Zoom meetings’

Covid-safe Christmas party

This year’s work Christmas bash might go bigger on tech than on tinsel, but hopefully there are still plenty lots of ways to get your team laughing, making memories and forming even stronger bonds for all that lies ahead in 2021.

Best of all? Everyone’s morning after feeling should be far easier to navigate over a screen than in person...

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