The traditional office party may be firmly off the cards this year, but that shouldn’t stop businesses from properly celebrating the festive season and marking the end of a uniquely challenging year.
Indeed there are many creative ways in which business leaders can boost staff morale this Christmas and recreate that office party feeling. Below, Dorrie Dowling, Director at people consultancy firm Wondrous, talks through her top five suggestions.
1. Unearth the secret office starlets with a Christmas talent show
Every office has a multitude of people with talents, from hidden party tricks to singing voices honed in the shower every morning. A talent show to close the year is a great way for employees to show parts of their personality that may not come to life during the work day. It doesn’t need to be complex and participants will be encouraged to come up with an idea for a performance which works virtually. Where possible, get whole families involved, rather than having people sitting on their own away from the rest of their household.
2. Host a Christmas Olympics for some healthy competition
The pandemic may have postponed this year’s real Olympics, but that doesn’t mean your office can’t pick up the mantle by injecting some healthy competition into festive team-building. Traditional sports are off the cards with a virtual Olympics so you’ll need to get creative. As an example, you could create a list of household objects and ask colleagues to collect them as quickly as possible – the first person to return with all of the objects wins the round. Ahead of the event, you could also ask employees to make an anonymous suggestion for a Christmas playlist to play throughout the event, then during proceedings team members can guess who chose what song.
3. Get colleagues thinking about one another with a virtual Secret Santa
A workplace Christmas season wouldn’t be complete without a Secret Santa and restrictions on congregating should not prevent you from exchanging gifts. You can use an online Secret Santa tool to randomly match gift givers to receivers and if possible, set a small budget so it takes the pressure off people who are worried about finances. Then, set a day and congregate virtually where you can and watch in wonder as people take turns to unwrap their presents.
4. Toast a year of hard work with a festive wine tasting
Wine tasting is an activity that not only gets people talking but can also help to recreate that office party feeling that some will be sorely missing this year. You could partner with local restaurants or beverage vendors and have a sommelier hop on Zoom to talk through the wines, which can be delivered to colleagues at home. Include non-alcoholic wine options to ensure everyone can join in.
5. Lay down the red carpet with a virtual awards ceremony
After a uniquely challenging year, celebrating your employees’ achievements feels more important than ever this December. One way you can do this is by rolling out the virtual red carpet with an awards ceremony. Set a dress code to spice up the event and make sure you cover fun awards as well as the serious ones e.g. best dressed, most innovative Zoom background, most likely to travel internationally after lockdown, office star of 2020. You can also use this time to reflect on the company and what it’s achieved, allowing your employees to share their highlights and their goals for the new year.