COVID-19 is having a huge impact on all our lives. Remote working and limited contact with people in general has in most cases, hit morale hard.
One aspect that’s going to be much tougher to pull off this year is the company Christmas celebrations. Traditionally held at a venue with lots of drinks, food and music it doesn’t look like this will be possible this year and unlikely that social meetings will be allowed this winter at all.
So, what can you do to have fun and even have some form of Christmas party this year?
Here we share some of our own ideas, some of our clients plans and a few of the best from the internet. It’s important to keep morale as high as it can be, not forget your team’s mental and physical health and to say thank you for a year’s good work.
1. Group Chat Selfie Game
Here at SF, we’ve gone a bit bonkers. We have formed a WhatsApp group with every employee in and we send out selfie challenges with points scored for the quickest respondents to post a qualifying selfie.
Every Wednesday we send out a ‘WANTED’ item image to the group with no prior warning.
The first person to message back with a photo of themselves and the item gets maximum points for themselves, and also for their office.
There are then points awarded for the first five images sent in:
1st: 10 points (Individual league) & 10 points (Office team league)
2nd: 7 points (Individual league) & 7 points (Office team league)
3rd: 5 points (Individual league) & 5 points (Office team league)
4th: 3 points (Individual league) & 3 points (Office team league)
5th: 1 points (Individual league) & 1 points (Office team league)
There are also occasional bonus points awarded for effort and for random fun tasks.
On a Friday and to involve everyone, a task at the end of the day allows all the chance to score with an hour window to return the last selfie of the week..
All points are added to a team and individual league table and shared back with the group. The winners will be announced at a virtual Christmas drinks event. We’re still in the middle of playing this game but for more detail on how it works please get in touch with your SF consultant.
2. Count It App
One of our valued clients told us about how they keep everyone active and connected via
CountIt.com this Christmas (there is a free subscription available).
All employees contribute their steps to see how the business performs against others and how individuals are progressing internally too.
An element of competition but an overall focus on keeping active for positive mind and body when it’s all too easy to stay rooted to your desk.
A nice engaging app that is nicely summed up in a video on this cool ‘explainer’ web page:
3. COVID Christmas Party With Awards
This year, more than ever is the year for recognising great performance. Don’t let Covid stop you from the razzle dazzle. A remote Christmas presentation, show or awards ceremony can still be done on Zoom. The hosts can still dress up in black tie, set the playlist and then you can give your annual speech, awards and more.
Perhaps you can have some fun with some special Covid awards for resilience, team morale and any special efforts made.
Perhaps you could have awards related to our new virtual working life, such as ‘The Through the Keyhole Award’ for the person that always seems to have a different setting in their house for meetings.
Maybe this year is the year that you need acceptance speeches to keep people engaged.
Other ideas could include sending hampers or takeaway deliveries to the homes of your employees. Could a special guest be arranged to join the virtual event?
One of our clients here at SF plans to send prepared kits out to his team of around 25 employees. Then while reading out instructions, he will guide each of his team through a cocktail making class and judge a winner at the end. Lovely idea!
Can you play Christmas games such as Charades, Pictionary or even tell Christmas Cracker Jokes?
4. Online Games Day
Online gaming is now more popular than ever. There are numerous versions of classic games like Monopoly, Scrabble and Rummikub that you can get everyone to download in order to join in a small festive games day.
The staff could enter games to play against their colleagues for prizes at the end of the day and all the activities can be held at their desks or at home if still cannot return to work.
A games day is a good way to socialise as well, as most games have chat functionality or players video call each other.
Finally, a games day can be adapted to many different tastes. Perhaps your staff are more into real-time strategy, online poker, city building or even e-sports – these game days can be set up too. Pictionary or drawing games or even breaking your employees in to teams for a mass game of Family Fortunes perhaps?
You can send everyone a hamper full of snacks and drinks for the night. Or, order all your staff a takeaway and have it delivered to their house just before the virtual party is about to start.
Games that can be played virtually also include Bingo with game cards sent over via email that day for people to print and use. Perhaps some numbers that are called out can relate to certain facts about your business, the leadership team and performance during Covid for some extra entertainment.
There are plenty of options for you to create a perfect COVID Christmas games party.
5. Campfire Chats
When working remotely, gone are the water cooler moments. Gone also are the quick walks out to grab a bite to eat with a colleague or the fleeting catch ups in the car park or lift.
A nice idea for getting people to escape what is almost all ‘work-chat’ on virtual calls is to arrange events called ‘campfires’ that can take place once, twice a week or however many time you would like.
During this time, one team member has a set amount of time to talk about their favourite subject while others listen and ask questions. Topics should be as emphatic or as simple as people would like.
Favourite hobby, sports team, family, the country you’re most connected with, favourite food, favourite lockdown activity, your fantasy dinner guests etc.
Not only does it take your mind off the news that we’re surrounded with every day but it helps everyone learn more about one another.
Perhaps this is one to keep after the pandemic has gone!
6. Fancy Dress Fridays
Maybe every Friday on the run up to Christmas, you declare it ‘fancy dress Friday’. Challenge the team to put on ridiculous outfits to make each other laugh during virtual meetings. Recreate that ‘Friday feeling’ during lockdown but beware of those that need to do the school run and get back to get ready. Also worth watching out for what the Amazon delivery driver might think when you open the door to get your parcel!
Christmas accessories or crazy hats being an alternative! To provide an incentive, why not make it a competition for best effort and take a picture of everyone posing on Zoom for judging later.
7. Do You Really Know Your Team?
You’re bound to get everyone laughing and learning more about each other with this one!
Before your next meeting, ask all your teammates to answer three “about me” questions by email. For example…
If you could eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
What’s your favourite holiday spot?
If you were an animal, what would you be?
What’s your favourite movie?
At your virtual meeting, share the answers and have your teammates try to pair the answers with the right person (potentially done in teams).
Once everyone has guessed, reveal who gave what answer. If the results are interesting/surprising, have your teammates explain. Boom instant virtual team bonding!
8. Remote Talent Shows
Arrange a remote talent show for your team. Give everyone a week to practice and video their talents.
Perhaps give them a few guidelines such as a time limit to help keep the final summary of talents snappy. You’ll probably need someone who is capable of using the relatively easy-to-use video downloadable editing apps to pull it all together.
Then organise the virtual group meeting and get ready for some laughs! Anything from cake baking to musical performances or party tricks. Again, consider prizes to act as an incentive!
9. Donut Meetings
A great app for keeping all of your team talking! By all means you can eat a doughnut while you do but Donut is the name of the app!
It is an app that randomly pairs up co-workers together, encouraging them to set up a virtual coffee meeting in order to get to know each other better.
To encourage these meeting to take place, perhaps suggest an agenda to run through and/or ask for particular things to be fed back after each meeting so that you can keep track on who is actually carrying through with the idea.
For more information on how SF can support you, feel free to contact us.