Let’s face it — it’s been decades since the world has seen a more disruptive year than 2020. Which is even more reason why many organisations are planning to end it on a high.
While traditional festive season gatherings might be off the cards, don’t despair because there are plenty of fun virtual options that your whole team can indulge in — wherever they might be — without breaking the bank.
Here are a few ideas to help you make the most of the festive season.
1. End-of-year update
In what has been a tumultuous year for many businesses, it’s going to be more important than ever for the leadership team to touch base virtually with staff for a traditional end-of-year wrap-up.
While a traditional video conference can be a great way to engage a remote audience – especially for smaller groups, if you’re hosting a large number of people, planning to share lots of information or featuring a number of presenters, then broadcasting from a studio may be a more effective option.
For instance, you could hold a one-on-one fireside chat-style interview with the CEO to invoke a more relaxed atmosphere, or feature a panel of c-suite executives or team leaders at a desk, on stools or on a lounge or two, discussing the year that was.
Studios offer the advantage of broadcast-quality cameras, professional lighting and audio, and producers who can easily facilitate switching between live and pre-recorded video and remote guests.
Virtual whiteboards, public and private chat rooms where participants can post questions, polls, surveys, Q&A sessions and document-sharing can help make it an interactive experience.
2. End-of-year lunch
While the annual end-of-year team lunch at a fancy restaurant might be out this year, that’s no reason why you can’t all get together virtually and chow down on some yummy food, sip a few beverages, or both.
3. Virtual games event
Not surprisingly, this year has seen the number of online games that can be played by teams over video conferencing platforms explode.
Options like Tabletop Simulator let you play digital versions of games you’re already likely to know, while others include puzzles, code breaking, drawing, trivia-based challenges, talent shows, and improv-style comedy competitions, just to name a few.
A few weeks before your event, send out a message to the team with some options, and ask them to vote on their favorite virtual group games.
4. Virtual staff awards or presentation night
Sharing the love at your end-of-year staff awards or gala employee appreciation night doesn’t have to be put on hold just because you can’t all get together in the same room. Indeed, if the Emmys can do it, why can’t you?
The best way to run an awards night is to host it from a studio with a professional MC (comedians are always a popular choice) who can keep your virtual team’s attention throughout the event.
Or you might want to use two hosts to keep things flowing and keep the audience engaged — just make sure they have a strong rapport and can bounce ideas off each other.
Winners can pre-record speeches or you can cross to them live in their own living room to add a bit of extra fun.
You could also hold a virtual poll during the event for a People’s Choice-style award and have the winner’s prizes delivered to them through an online service during the night.
Pre-recording a band, or featuring them live in a studio or their own lounge room, can be just as entertaining and engaging to a virtual audience as seeing them across a large event space.
Using a video conferencing service that includes a producer to manage the event in real time is the best way to avoid any technical hiccups when you’re including elements such as pre-recorded videos and live crosses to award winners.
5. Virtual Kris Kringle
A virtual seasonal gift-giving event, otherwise known as a Kris Kringle, is a great way to spread the festive cheer, and you don’t have to be in the office to do it.
Just set a price limit, draw everyone’s name from a giver’s hat and a receiver’s hat, let everyone know who they’re buying for, set a date for delivery and voila — you have your Kris Kringle sorted.
All you have to do then is get everyone to join a video conference and have them unwrap their gift in front of everyone else.
If the boss wants to cover the cost, simply send everyone a voucher from an online store where they can choose a gift.
Many online stores will now let someone purchase a gift and the receiver will be sent a link where they can fill out their own address in private.
The options for virtual end-of-year events that build team engagement and enable you to close the book on 2020 with a fun experience are only limited by your creativity!