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Most employees working from home consider it to be a gift. They avoid traffic and having to get dressed up and can skip the office small talk. But depending on where they sit on the “introvert-extrovert spectrum,” the lack of human interaction can be tough at times. That’s why employee bonding activities—even if they’re virtual—are critical.

This is not the year to skimp on holiday parties just because your force is not in the office. In fact, it’s the year to go all out with a virtual corporate party. Whether your force is geographically separated—or simply working from home due to the pandemic—here are some ideas to help employees connect this holiday season and beyond.

1. Host a Virtual Happy Hour

Chances are, your employees miss getting their work done early on a Friday to make it to happy hour with their co-workers. Give them a virtual option. Choose a theme, pick a time when everyone can attend (accommodate different time zones) and consider buying everyone’s drinks and snacks. You can let the conversation flow freely or structure a fun activity like show-and-tell to encourage interaction and get the laughs rolling.

2. Make it Special with Deliveries

Want to host a virtual party for your team and do something special for them? Deliver lunch, treats, matching leis or something to help unify your team in a fun and creative way. This can help set the tone for your virtual party and bring your team together.

3. Create a Virtual Escape Room

Are you committed to planning an amazing and unique virtual office party? Consider creating a virtual escape room for your remote team. This will be a fun way to work together, get to know each other’s strengths better and get a little competitive in the process. You can “hide” clues using platforms like PowerPoint or Google Sheets. Cue the tech department.

4. Plan a Virtual Baking Contest

Keep the competition flowing with a virtual baking contest. The good news is, your dessert doesn’t even have to taste good, it just has to look good. Set a time limit and a theme. You can purchase decorating kits for each employee in advance so that they have the same tools to work with. Vote on the finished product and send the winner a gift card or gift basket.

5. Make it a Costume Contest

Who says you can’t have an ugly sweater party over Zoom? Virtual costume parties are a hit among remote teams. Employees can “model” their costume on their own version of a catwalk. Make sure to provide a prize for the most impressive costume.

6. Plan Some Virtual Games

Games are great because they are easy to execute virtually. Might we suggest igniting some nostalgia with some old classics? Pictionary and Charades can work well virtually. A scavenger hunt is always a hit. See who can retrieve a tube of lipstick, soap dispenser or Y2K penny and show it on their screen first. You can also go with games designed for virtual settings like Kahoot or Jackbox. Or maybe turn up the competition with a trivia night. Would your team enjoy a selfie contest? If all else fails, everybody loves bingo. We’ve seen some pretty stellar virtual karaoke; might we suggest having happy hour before the singing to limber everyone up? You can even use the Zoom breakout feature to break up into teams for your games.

7. Raffle

Encourage your workers to come to the virtual party by having a raffle. Since digital parties are cheaper, you can splurge on a really enticing raffle gift. Make sure the winner is announced at the end so people have extra incentive to stay until the party has finished.

The options are endless when it comes to throwing a virtual office party. Plan a time and send a digital invitation with a link to your employees. It’s also a good idea to note the theme on the invitation and send reminders leading up to your fabulous virtual event.

Create an agenda for the party so it’s well-organized. Virtual parties can be a little awkward if there’s not a clear plan in place. It’s also important not to drag the party out. If it’s too long then nobody will come to the next one. We recommend virtual parties don’t run over an hour and a half.

As corporate party planners, we can help steer you in the right direction for your upcoming virtual or hybrid holiday party. Contact us for help in connecting your employees on line.