The holidays are just around the corner, and you know what that means - the office holiday party is just around the corner too. Hooray!
The office holiday party can be one of the best times of the year for everyone involved.
They help bring everyone together and boost team morale, especially after such a tough two years. It is a time for everyone to let loose and have a little fun at the real or home office!
It’s also an opportunity for management to show they really care
It’s also an opportunity for management to show they really care about the overall culture and wellbeing of staff.
Largely as a result of the pandemic, many companies have adopted a hybrid approach to working, where not all members of staff are working at the office at the same time. Instead, some (or all) staff have some set flexibility around working at the office.
In hybrid workplaces, staff in-person days are scattered throughout the year, and colleagues have fewer chances to meet face-to-face, in person.
Given the particular nature of how colleague interactions usually occur in hybrid workplaces, the need for an unforgettable holiday party is arguably even greater. The boost in team morale and team bonding that the holiday party can bring is particularly important this year.
The boost in team morale and team bonding that the holiday party can bring is particularly important this year.
But it is also a little tricky.
While the worst of the pandemic is “over” in a sense, in some parts of the world, it is also very much raging in others.
When it comes to planning your holiday bash this year, you will have to get creative and think outside the box as there may be unique restrictions and challenges with execution.
Some things you will have to consider are:
- Will the party be in person, virtual, or some mix of in-person and virtual?
- Whether venues will have the same capacity that they used to and whether this will allow all of your staff to party together.
- Whether all party guests will be required to show proof of vaccination before they enter a event space.
- Will all staff be comfortable meeting a larger group in person? There may be pushback just as there was pushback against coming back to the office.
- Will it be mandatory to attend?
- If you take a hybrid approach to your party, will the people going remotely be sufficiently included in the happenings?
- Could it be awkward? Could people feel uncomfortable being together for the first time in so long?
In this post, let’s look at three options for all-virtual office holiday parties and three options for in-person & hybrid parties to give every kind of office an option that will suit them and help counteract any of these potential issues.
All-Virtual Party Ideas
We’ll look at virtual options first. These can be implemented as an option in hybrid companies where in-person events may not be possible due to capacity or safety issues, or because they may exclude remote workers that live far from the work hub.
A virtual event can be great to keep everyone on equal footing.
Online Trivia and Quizzes
Online quizzes are great for hybrid holiday parties as they strongly focus on shared experiences and opportunities for interaction.
You can have someone be the quizmaster and set rounds of questions and then put staff members into teams. You can use quiz templates easily found online, or you can task some creative staff members to create the quiz for you.
Having people interact in teams can be a great way to break the ice and dispel any discomfort.
Online quizzes are great for having a lot of fun as well as team collaboration. Having people interact in teams can be a great way to break the ice and dispel any discomfort, especially if staff members don’t know each other very well or haven’t seen each other in a long time due to the pandemic.
Online Cocktail Making Class
An online cocktail-making class is a fun and quirky idea for a virtual holiday party. There are many online cocktail-making class options, or if you have a cocktail-savvy colleague, you could save your budget and have them conduct the class instead.
Either way, cocktail making is a fun way for your colleagues to enjoy a party from the comfort of their own homes.
The most important thing to remember with this one is to include interaction, lots of it. When it comes to virtual events, having interaction in the group will allow everyone to feel included and important.
Maybe consider having some mocktails on the menu so as to include those who abstain from alcohol for health or religio-cultural reasons.
Online Cooking Class
Another fun idea is an online cooking class.
This would be better suited to smaller groups, so larger teams will have to split up.
Online cooking classes make for interesting and wholesome holiday parties. It helps take the attention off your attendees and put the attention on to a focused task. This is important if you feel that some colleagues might feel awkward.
The best thing you can do to make a successful holiday party is to understand and really empathize with your attendees. Take the time to understand how each person might feel and then take the necessary steps to counteract any negative feelings.
Hybrid Party Ideas
The next three ideas are for in-person events with a possible online component. Hybrid companies may opt to have in-person holiday parties. This can be an excellent opportunity for people at the company to finally meet those who they’ve never met before in person due to their hybrid schedule. With a little bit of work, these can be hugely memorable events and improve company-wide morale.
Escape rooms are a super fun way for your colleagues to come together and bond as a team. The problem-solving nature helps break any awkwardness between people who haven’t seen each other since before the pandemic.
Coming together to work as a group will help everyone ease into the party, and they will soon be so focused on the tasks at hand that they will forget about awkward small talk altogether.
Remember that escape rooms will usually only cater to small groups and that some people might not be comfortable yet in such a small space for a prolonged time.
Try to be as inclusive as possible by providing an alternative online option. There are plenty of online escape rooms available. You could have those who are comfortable in real-life escape rooms and those who aren’t in online ones. All you would have to do is take some employee surveys and see how people feel.
Have you ever watched the episode of the Office where they play office Olympics? If not, you really should.
Office Olympics could look different for all kinds of offices, and it depends on what numbers and space you have.
But in summary, it is an event where you play lots of games in teams or individually to win prizes. They are a whole lot of fun, and people will surely lose themselves in the activities.
You could also do this event for remote workers if you made some of the activities accessible to those online.
The most important thing here will be to prepare appropriately and ensure everyone understands the party’s expectations. Hybrid parties are different, and that’s ok. All that matters is that everyone is on the same page before the party so that there can be a limit on any potential confusion or discomfort.
A comedy club is a place where you and your team can go and enjoy a comedian's standup show. This is a less interactive event but is nonetheless lots of fun. It will help your colleagues to loosen up and allow themselves to have a laugh. Just make sure, as this is a work event, that the company is safe for work.
You can absolutely make this a hybrid event by allowing staff to log in from home to watch too. The key will be to make sure that your at-home colleagues can hear everything as well as those in the audience. Those joining from home shouldn’t have a lesser experience because they are at home.
Remember that inclusivity is the theme of every party this year.
Everyone being included is our aim with a hybrid party, and couldn’t we all do with a laugh after the year we’ve had?
Some Final Words
The world of work has become more complex since the pandemic. Hybrid working models are coming up on top as the most popular option, which means that many aspects of office life have changed and continue to change. This includes holiday parties.
But, there are lots of positive and growth-promoting ways that we can tackle this issue.
This blog has covered some great options for holiday parties for hybrid workplaces, with examples of both fully virtual and hybrid events.
The key formula to throwing a great party for a hybrid office is inclusivity, accessibility, and interaction.
Take these things into account, and you should be on to a winner.
If you need a little extra help organizing your office and managing your staff in a new and hybrid way, consider using Zynq office management tools to give you a helping hand.
Hybrid is the future, and technology is the means.