As we move full steam ahead towards the festive season, a physical Christmas party in 2020 is currently looking unlikely. Businesses are therefore increasingly looking at virtual Christmas parties as alternatives, and with good reason.
Large gatherings are being restricted for the foreseeable future, whilst going virtual for work and play has become our new norm in recent months. So much so, that since lockdown began, the video-chat platform Zoom has grown from 10 million to over 200 million daily users. Instead of cancelling employees’ much-deserved Christmas celebrations after what’s been an incredibly difficult year (to say the least), its only logical that employers embrace the festivities in the same way we embraced team meetings, fitness classes and pub quizzes earlier this year: virtually.
In this article, we will present to you 7 virtual Christmas party alternatives for 2020’s fast approaching festivities.
1. Conference Call Drinks
Opening the doors of a virtual pub for lots of laughs and plenty of drinks is an easy but effective way for everyone to let their hair down. Simply fire up the video-calling software, round up your employees in their respective homes, and prepare yourself a drink or two. It’s a great way to get everyone chatting away, and if you’re concerned about your resident chatterboxes dominating the conversation, feel free to add in activities like popular drinking games, online board games and roundtable talking points. If you really want your workers to remember their virtual Christmas party, make fancy dress mandatory. There’s just one rule; no work talk!
2. Awards Ceremony
Are you bursting with pride at how your team has managed to crack on and work hard during the pandemic? Try rolling out the red carpet for a virtual awards ceremony. Recognition is a powerful tool in making employees feel valued for their contributions in the workplace. It’s an important feeling that will go a long, long way in keeping people motivated; something more important than ever in 2020.
Create a bunch of awards specific to your team and present them to your employees. Our favourites are ‘Work From Home Superstar’, ‘Moral Booster’ and ‘Creative Mastermind’. You can publish the categories beforehand to generate excitement, and even let your team vote for their own winners if you wish. Alternatively, you can take a stroll down comical street by creating more ludicrous awards like ‘Pen Stealer’, ‘Worst Brew Maker’ and ‘Most Easily Distracted’ to playfully poke fun with colleagues. Check out TalentLyft’s 20 funny awards ideas for more inspiration!
3. Online Secret Santa
After the year we’ve had, we all deserve at least one present at our work Christmas party 2020, wouldn’t you agree? Use an online Secret Santa tool like Draw Names to randomly match gift givers to receivers.
All you need to do is enter your employees’ names and send them invitations via email, WhatsApp or Messenger. Once they click the email, they’ll be assigned their person to buy for. Specify a strict deadline to allow plenty of time for everyone to buy, wrap, send and receive their presents. You should also set a reasonable budget that won’t break the bank for anyone. Then watch in wonder (or horror) as each person takes it in turn to unwrap their presents live on your video call. Just because things are a little different this year, doesn’t mean that tradition has to be broken!
4. Video Call Karaoke
Do you consider your team a rowdy bunch, unafraid of having an uncontrollably good time, even if it means suffering from mild embarrassment? If answered ‘yes’, you’ll love virtual karaoke.
There are two easy ways you can do this. Get onto YouTube and find a karaoke or lyrics version of your chosen song. Or, use online software like Lucky Voice, which will act as your very own karaoke machine. Beware, however, the novelty can quickly wear off when sat in front of a computer screen with all eyes on you. So keep it short, snappy and exciting by only singing the first verse and chorus. Then move onto the next performer. You might not discover the next Taylor Swift, but you’re guaranteed to have a few belly laughs!
5. Escape Rooms
If you think an immersive, puzzle-solving experience that requires teamwork, logical thinking and imagination sounds like something your team would enjoy, a virtual escape room might be the ideal activity for your virtual Christmas party celebrations.
After surging in popularity in recent years, there was the potential for escape rooms to be left behind during lockdown. Fortunately, this hasn’t been the case. They’ve gone virtual, and in doing so have become an exhilarating Christmas party alternative. They’re perfect for smaller teams seeking a thrilling challenge. From attending Hogwarts to entering the heart of a CSI-themed murder investigation, there are many types of escape rooms you can play. Check out The Independent’s best virtual escape rooms list to find the perfect experience for your team!
6. Cooking Masterclass
Is your business full of foodies, whose ideal end-of-year celebration would be sitting down to a mouth-watering feast? If so, a virtual Christmas party without stuffing your face just won’t cut it.
Instead, satisfy everyone’s tastebuds with a virtual cook-along. Hire a chef to join your video party and host their own cooking class. Your employees can then make their own (maybe restaurant quality) banquet without having to leave the house! Just remember to make sure that you pick a meal everyone will enjoy and is able to eat, as well as inform everyone in advance of the ingredients they need to source.
7. Smartphone Pub Quiz
You’re probably very familiar with virtual quizzes. Every man, woman and dog were hosting quizzes during the first few months of lockdown. After all, what else were we supposed to do? Actually speak to the people we live with?! What you should consider, however, is a smartphone quiz. Using your mobile phone to answer questions instead of old-fashioned pen and paper creates a wildly different quiz night.
Here at KwizzBit, we’ve created a speed-based quiz platform that rewards players with more points for faster answers. Not only does it create an exciting, fast-paced and very competitive experience, it also stops people from Googling the answers. KwizzBit is a simple login and play system, which connects the player’s devices to a host’s account via a unique pin code. It works in real-time alongside any video chat platform. Also, it calculates scores automatically and instantly generates leaderboards, so you don’t have to. It’s a 21st century take on a classic British pastime!
Hosting a Christmas party in 2020 isn’t going to be all about splashing the cash on a big venue or fancy meal. But with some creative planning and one or more of these virtual alternatives, you can still put together a party your employees will love!