The transition to remote working during 2020 has presented both challenges and opportunities in how we engage with our teams. With the festive season upon us, keeping our employees feeling connected, valued and included is crucial. Christmas parties and after-work drinks are almost certainly out of the question, but festive virtual experiences and events are a great alternative. Obviously, these kinds of parties are big business this year and there are plenty to choose from. Here are a few of our favourite ideas to treat your teams at the end of a very tough year.
1. Cocktail making class
You can organise these yourself or hire a company to run the event for you. With both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options, there's something for everyone. Typically, participants are sent a list of ingredients beforehand so they can stock up on what they need (with companies footing the bill via expenses) - alternatively, you could arrange for packs to be posted so your team don't have the added pressure of a dash to the shops before the event. If you're running the session with a professional host, they'll provide a virtual platform and a cocktail team to lead you through the mixing and flaring experience, giving you hints and tips as you all attempt to recreate a selection of cocktails. You could even add in a competitive element with the best looking or most impressively prepared cocktails earning points and prizes.
2. Virtual murder mystery party
You might be wondering how this would work online, but we've seen quite a few impressive murder mystery offerings on the market this year. These interactive, problem-solving events are designed to facilitate teamwork and collaboration. Usually, your teams will be given evidence, witness statements and suspect interviews using augmented reality to reveal clues along the way. Many have an interactive map of the crime scene and a list of tasks and challenges that unearth all the evidence you need to solve the mystery. Some of the virtual event organisers throw in trivia questions, photo challenges, video tasks and mini competitions along the way too.
3. Escape room
The event organisers will set the scene with a briefing, explaining the surroundings and why your team needs to escape! You'll need to use your laptops and phones to work your way through the clues and challenges to escape the room before the time runs out. This is great for companies with a small number of employees, or larger workplaces could split into smaller teams and throw in a competitive element too. If you're a team of puzzlers and riddle-lovers, this one might be for you.
4. Taskmaster challenge
Inspired by the popular TV show, there are quite a few Taskmaster-style Christmas party options out there this year. Most of them involve a party hosting company supplying the 'taskmaster' who will set you all a series of timed challenges (using common household items and your own ingenuity) - plus there are extra points for thinking outside the box! Tasks can either be a live challenge or a practice challenge. Live challenges take place straight away meaning your team have to think quickly on their feet. Practice challenges give you a set amount of time to plan your strategy. If you have Taskmaster fans in your team, this will be a popular choice. If you don't, you probably will by the end of the party!
5. Cooking class
If you're the kind of company that's all about the food, then this virtual party is the one for you. There are lots of options out there, but typically you'll decide as a team what you'd like to cook, ingredients will be sent out to everyone and then a professional chef will walk you through the preparation and serving of it as a group. You could add some extra special touches, like sending personalised or branded aprons to everyone, and maybe a bottle of wine to accompany the meal.
6. Scavenger hunt
Virtual scavenger hunts are fun and active ways to spend time on a Zoom call. The activity can last as long as you want and you can be as imaginative and creative as you dare. The best items to hunt for also have story or 'show and tell' opportunities. To play, you take turns to fire off prompts and whoever brings the item back first gets a point. You can award extra points if that person shares more about the object. Prompts might include things like your favourite thing in your house, item you have owned the longest, ugliest jumper, something you hate, smallest thing you can find, etc. It's a great way to have a focus for a company Christmas Zoom call and can be a great bonding experience. You could throw in some drinks too!
7. Crafting session
If you're a team of makers and do-ers, you could organise an online crafting session. It could be Christmas decorations, wreaths or baubles, or something completely different like clay modelling or mug painting. You can send out sets to your teams before the event (or work with an online party company to organise it all) and then come together online to create your masterpieces. You could throw in some drinks and snacks and have a fun, creative experience as a team.
Wishing you a happy Christmas!
Whatever you and your teams choose to do this year to celebrate and unite as a company, we hope you enjoy this most unusual festive season - from all of us at Amber, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! If you're currently recruiting or have plans to expand your team next year, we'd love to make your lives easier by bringing the best shortlist of candidates straight to your door - you can reach us on 01932 355000 or at email@example.com.