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With another year of remote work nearly behind us, showing appreciation for your talented team is now more important than ever – and what better time than the holiday season to really make it count.

While your holiday party may only happen once a year, it remains a vital marker in the makings of your company culture. But with social distancing measures still in effect, how do you create a virtual holiday office party that delivers the warmth and fun of an in-person gathering?

From timing to themes, entertainment, and more, the Saul Good Gift Co. team has gathered important tips for a virtual office party that makes your team feel valued and engaged. Save your event from the gloom of Zoom fatigue by following these five simple tips below!

 

Tip #1: Creativity & Meaning Are Key

Injecting meaning and creativity into your event is the key to making it stand out from a year's worth of back-to-back virtual meetings. By choosing to ground your gathering with a clever theme, a captivating host, or meaningful gifts, you’ll easily make your guests forget that they’re tuning in from afar. Try these tips:

  • Hire a host: enlisting an engaging moderator or hiring a master of ceremonies is essential for maintaining your virtual party’s momentum. Hosts or entertainers you might consider hiring include musicians, comedians, mixologists, and the list goes on. Here, your goal is to captivate your team, keep them engaged and bring them new and unexpected experiences.
  • Pick a theme: choosing a theme facilitates party planning and brings a cohesive element that injects early buzz into your upcoming event. From wacky themes like 'Jingle Bell Bingo' or something more refined like ‘Christmas in Paris,’ your theme will set the tone for the entire event, so choose wisely!
  • Support Local Businesses: with local businesses suffering the most during COVID-19, featuring your company’s favourite local partners is another way to add meaning to your event. Consider gifting a locally sourced gift basket or enlisting a local theatre group for entertainment. We might be biased but our 'The Torontonian' and 'Bay Street Bites' gift baskets full of local treats always bring smiles after a challenging year at the office.

 

Tip #2: Make It Interactive With Virtual Party Games, Tours, And Classes

We’re sure your year has seen countless virtual happy hours! To help set your event apart from the rest, we highly suggest incorporating interactive activities that will get your team thinking and participating. Here are some virtual holiday party ideas that have earned rave reviews from the Saul Good Gift Co team:

  • Wine or snack tasting: help your team recreate the holiday party experience at home by hiring a virtual cocktail experience, wine, or chocolate tasting.
  • Take a virtual tour together: Woyago holds virtual tours of Paris, complete with a Parisian tour guide – mais oui!
  • Cook-along: put your team's cooking skills to the test. Hire a chef to guide you through a delicious recipe and enjoy the fruits of your labour together with a glass of wine.
  • Game night: online board games host Tabletopia allows teams to bond over classic board games like Monopoly, Cluedo, and Risk.

It's essential to include an interactive component where everyone has a chance to contribute. Some team members are shy, while others are more outspoken, but interactive activities allow everyone a chance to find common ground.

 

Tip #3: Create Some Buzz With A Pre-Party Package

There's nothing like receiving a pre-party care package to build excitement leading up to the big day.

With Zoom parties typically much shorter than in-person gatherings, sending out gifts ahead of time extends the lifespan of the event, and adds an element of surprise that team members will enjoy. Choosing a gift that aligns with the theme of the night and prompts attendees beforehand, encourages them to arrive prepared to participate during the event.

Whether you're looking to brand an existing gift basket or create a completely unique offering, the Saul Good Gift Co. team is happy to work with you to create a branded box of locally sourced artisanal goodies that fit the theme of your party, company values, and gifting goals. Explore our custom corporate gifting options or get inspired from our previous partnerships with leaders like Deloitte.

 

Tip #4: Timing And Size Are Everything At Virtual Parties

With Zoom fatigue at an all-time high, setting a time limit is sure to be appreciated. This also prevents your party from becoming riddled with awkward moments and allows busier attendees to carve out the required time and leave if the event runs longer. Giving attendees the option to exit the event guilt-free removes much of the awkwardness involved in online gatherings. We suggest limiting the event to an hour and a half at most.

And whether you're a team of 6, 16, 60, or more, thinking small during virtual events always makes for a better party. Consider breaking bigger teams into smaller groups to increase engagement and avoid the chaos of people talking over each other.

 

Tip #5: Take a Pre-Party Poll

More than anything, make sure to deliver what your team actually wants, and the best way to find out is to ask!

Getting everyone involved early by voting on a theme, time, virtual activity, or all three, creates additional interest and demonstrates your commitment to creating unique bonding experiences for your employees. We suggest including a link to your poll via your Save-the-Date invitation.

Virtual holiday parties don't have to be boring! Just like in-person events, they can provide your team members with opportunities to make new memories and uplift spirits as they continue to navigate the new normal.

As an organizer, this is your chance to thank your employees for navigating unprecedented circumstances with professionalism and reward them for outstanding performance. Show your team how important they are by implementing some of our tips and tricks.

Cheers!