With the holiday season fast approaching, a virtual office party is on the cards for many employers of remote teams. Planning virtual activities is easier said than done, but it’s one of the most important ways to make your remote workforce feel valued and connected around this time of year.
That’s why we’ve put together these 10 sure-fire virtual holiday party ideas to help you and your team get in the holiday spirit. Let’s dive right in!
p.s. While some of these ideas are Christmas-oriented, with a few tweaks they can work for any holiday—be it Halloween, Thanksgiving or any other occasion!
Virtual holiday cookie baking
If hands-on engagement is what you’re aiming for, then a virtual holiday cookie baking session is one of the best ways to get your whole team involved. Let your team choose a popular holiday cookie or dessert recipe, get your aprons and chef’s hats ready and get baking!
Make sure everyone has their cameras turned on for maximum engagement and participation, but let them use the mute button freely when they’re clanging around their kitchen. To spice things up, you could even turn it into a friendly bake-off style competition where your employees vote on who made the best-looking cookies at the end.
Prizes can be company-branded swag like t-shirts, pens, hats, water bottles or even an extra day off work over the holiday season if you’re feeling particularly generous and you can get HR onboard!
The idea is to create an incentive for everybody to participate, despite being physically distant. Meanwhile, giving your employees a chance to be social will also decrease burnout and improve mental health.
Hire a virtual party host
You may be used to organizing virtual projects, but organizing a virtual party and team-building activity might be too much work for you around the busy holiday season. And it’s usually not a good idea to burden one of your employees with hosting the event, either. But don’t worry, you can still make a virtual Christmas party a reality!
Allocate some of your holiday budget to hiring a virtual party host. There are plenty of options to choose from online and tons of variety, too. Hire a comedian, improv instructor, trivia game host or other types of entertainers.
The good thing about hiring an entertainer for your virtual office party is that it takes some of the stress of video meetings off of you. You’ll be able to enjoy the celebrations along with everyone else instead of worrying about taking the lead and managing the tech along the way.
Organize a virtual workshop
If your team is curious about learning new skills and hobbies, then organizing a virtual workshop or class might be the perfect activity to bond. The workshop shouldn’t be work-related at all. In fact, the more dynamic and out-of-the-box the class is, the better! Learning something new and maybe whacky together is almost guaranteed to become a long-lasting, fond memory among your team.
A virtual coffee-tasting session, mixology class, knitting tutorial, or origami workshop are good places to start. Consider your team members’ personal interests and consult some of them to ensure you hit the nail on the head with a learning experience to remember!
Holiday gift boxes (and virtual unwrapping)
Rewarding your employees with a holiday gift shows them that you value and appreciate their hard work throughout the year. A small but thoughtful gift box is sure to put a smile on your team members’ faces, and it doesn’t have to break the bank either.
Here are some low-cost suggestions that you could include in a holiday-themed gift box:
- Personalized thank you card or letter
- Company-branded mug or t-shirt
- Holiday accessories
- Notepads, pencils, sticky notes and other stationery
- Cookies, chocolates, coffee or a bottle of wine
- Online gift cards (Amazon, Spotify, etc.)
Remote office party games
For low-budget and easy-to-plan activities, consider some classic holiday party games to get your team relaxed and enjoying themselves. Holiday-themed bingo, trivia games, a costume competition or an ugly sweater contest are some great simple options for your upcoming office celebrations.
These games are ideal for low-key holiday parties and small teams. Despite them being easy to organize and carry out, you’ll likely have a good laugh with your team while kicking off the holiday season in style!
Virtual secret santa
Secret santa may be a traditional holiday game, but it’s an easy and generally beloved one. In the workplace though, do make sure you set the gift budget low enough so that everybody feels comfortable participating.
Maintain an open-door policy so that anyone can speak to you about any concerns they have or if they don’t want to participate. If you want to avoid the possibility of creating a financial burden for someone, consider funding the event as the employer and giving everyone a set amount to spend on their secret santa.
Talk about the dynamic with your team so that everybody is on the same page regarding expectations and the amount of effort they should put into their gift. Gifts can either be physical and sent via mail or virtual only, with gift cards, online subscriptions or other digital gifts.
Holiday-themed virtual scavenger hunt
Virtual scavenger hunts are one of the best holiday games for remote teams as they’re so engaging. Chasing objects, following clues, and solving problems are powerful ways to help colleagues bond over a fun exercise. It’s the perfect way to hold a memorable virtual event!
A virtual scavenger hunt is based on the traditional game where teams or individual players must find objects or complete puzzles before time runs out. These remote team-building games are dynamic enough to get your employees moving, but a virtual adaptation of the activity means they won’t need to leave their home office space.
Jackbox games for remote teams
Jackbox is an online platform offering remote team-building games for companies. They provide games that can be carried out over a Zoom call or live stream for larger groups. From drawing games to trivia and hidden identity activities, Jackbox is a great option for your virtual holiday get-together!
The games are not free and require a purchase by a team leader or the company, but they can accommodate multiple players and are specifically designed for corporate teams. Your employees just need a laptop or smart device and an internet connection to join in on the fun!
Escape Room games for virtual teams
Virtual escape rooms are becoming more popular as remote team-building games. They involve solving puzzles, understanding riddles, and ultimately “escaping the room” in a fixed period of time. Escape room games are excellent for developing collaboration skills and can be customized to follow a holiday theme!
There are several online platforms that offer virtual escape room games for virtual teams. Escape Hunt is one option that has a variety of themes to choose from. While these escape room platforms are not free, they’re the perfect option if you have a budget to plan holiday activities for your remote team!
Watch a movie together
Not every virtual team activity needs to be highly stimulating and energetic. If your colleagues are more laid back, they might enjoy doing a relaxing activity together. Watching a holiday movie could be the perfect option!
By using an online platform like Teleparty, your whole team can watch The Grinch or Home Alone at the same time. You can even send messages in the on-screen chat while the movie runs! To make this activity complete, have your team socialize before the movie starts, and get together to discuss what you watched afterwards, too!
For more insights on how to improve the way your company works, check out our other blog posts