Holiday parties are a great way to round out the year and celebrate your team in a fun and unique way. However, with this year looking so different from most, we’ve heard many companies admit that they won’t be planning a holiday party this year at all. While the circumstances of our current work environment admittedly make it more challenging for these parties to take place, we believe they can be just as fun and meaningful as they have been in the past. Don’t believe us? Here are some simple tips to pull off a successful virtual holiday party.
Pick the purpose
Talk to the CEO or whoever is in charge and figure out what they want to get out of it. Without a clear purpose, it’s easy to go off the rails with your event. We like to encourage our own team and those we work with to start with the end in mind. Where do you want the event to go? How do you want people to feel at the end of the event? All these are great things to consider when starting the planning process.
Pick the date
Although it sounds straightforward, picking a date might not be as simple as you think. After all, you want to remember to pick a time that will be distraction-free for your team members. Are their spouses invited to join? What about their kids? All these are good things to keep in mind as you figure out the perfect time to get together virtually.
Pick your platform
One of the most important elements is the platform. Between Webex, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, InEvent, Airmeet and many others, there are plenty of platforms to choose from. And the right one will allow you to do exactly what you want. Do you want everyone on screen or just a few people? Do you want to use the same platform you conduct your regular meetings on? There are a lot of things to consider, but most important is ensuring that your team knows exactly what to do when it comes to logging on and taking part in the event. Make it as easy and convenient for them as possible.
Pick the team
Who will help out with planning the event? For the groups we work with, there are a few roles we consider most important for a virtual event. The producer should help with the flow of the event and making sure everything runs smoothly (and on schedule). The tech manager is in charge of the camera and different camera angles you might use, as well as any other interactive element on screen. And the audio technician is there to ensure everyone’s microphones work and that the sound is coming across clearly.
Pick the gift
If you aren’t physically together, getting a gift to each employee might take some extra effort. But it will be well worth it. Gifts have a way of making people feel connected, appreciated, and valued as part of the team. So whether it’s a bottle of wine or candy sent to their house or even a virtual gift card, these are all great ways to make your team feel celebrated this holiday season.
Make the plan
As you get into the logistics of planning your virtual holiday party, a clear plan is essential. What activity will happen when? What entertainment elements will be incorporated into the event? And most importantly, how will these stand out from any other call or meeting you might have had this year?
Test the tech
Technology is key. Without it, the entire event wouldn’t be happening. So it’s incredibly important that it runs smoothly and is properly tested. We encourage teams to have a full run-through of the event with the technology they’ll be using, making sure that everything is running properly. It’s never a bad idea to think ahead to determine your backup plan should something go wrong. In a year of frozen Zoom screens and poor Wifi connections, make sure that at least this event goes off without a hitch.
Encourage people to relax and have fun! After all, this is what the event is all about. People shouldn’t feel overwhelmed or stressed about it. And it definitely shouldn’t feel like “just another meeting.” With the stress and anxiety that this year has caused so many people, an event like this might be just what your team needs to finish out the year strong and center themselves leading into the new year.