Creating a feeling of community and connection among your remote staff is critical to creating a pleasant employee experience of the holidays.
While keeping in touch with your remote staff is a year-round goal, the holidays are an excellent opportunity to step up your efforts. It brightens up a hectic time of year and sets a good tone for the year ahead.
With so many ways to communicate online, corporations may host virtual Christmas parties. Your CEO needs to be a part of this. Always.
It might even be a good time to announce promotions.
1. Appoint virtual holiday party hosts.
Employees look forward to glamorous business holiday parties with complimentary food, champagne, and the chance to dress up and mingle with coworkers.
But just because you can’t have an in-person party now doesn’t mean you can’t have one later! Any video conferencing tool — such as Houseparty or Google Hangouts — may throw a virtual Christmas party, but Zoom provides several unique capabilities.
For example, you may use Zoom Breakout Rooms to create multiple “party rooms” where guests can communicate with employees. To keep employees involved, give each space a theme with a team-building activity or contest.
For in-person gatherings, give employees DoorDash or Grubhub gift cards to bring their own snacks and beverages and let them eat while managers deliver awards or organize a holiday quiz session.
Your staff will undoubtedly choose a fun dress code — think ugly Christmas sweaters or crazy seasonal ties — over something stuffy.
2. Plan a holiday gift swap.
Being a small firm doesn’t mean you can’t support inter-office gift exchanges — do it remotely!
A virtual “Secret Santa” gift exchange allows employees to purchase online for coworkers while getting to know them better. Rather than draw names from a hat, try using Elfster, a free online gift exchange service.
The site chooses names from participants’ wish lists and presents suggestions. A virtual “regift” exchange may be a fun way to get into the spirit of giving without having to buy a bunch of goods for your remote staff.
Important: Mandatory gift exchanges might cause stress rather than joy, so make them voluntary. That way no one feels obligated to buy or mail presents for employees.
3. Set up a remote cookie swap.
Your new remote staff may be missing the customary workplace Christmas treats. Remote snacking doesn’t compare to stepping into the break room to a table stacked high with delectable treats!
An optional cookie or dessert swap might be the ideal way to fulfill your Christmas sweet craving. Staff may sign up to bake and receive a dozen Christmas cookies. This enjoyable tradition starts with a basic spreadsheet including names, addresses, and allergies.
Delivery of delicious baked cookies this holiday season will not only cheer up the staff but may also build a connection that extends beyond the office.
4. Create holiday contests and games.
This isn’t a one-time activity like a virtual holiday party. You can run various holiday-themed competitions and activities like this all season long to keep everyone happy.
Home Office Gingerbread
Instead of a gingerbread house contest, how about a gingerbread home office? A small team might mail supplies to all competitors… graham crackers, frosting, candies for decorating. If your company’s size prevents you from distributing goods to everyone, try sending a $10 electronic gift card instead. Send in images of your creations and offer prizes for the most creative, colorful, and realistic gingerbread creations. Gift cards are usually appreciated, but so is extra PTO or corporate gear.
Home Office Décor
It can be hard for your remote staff to feel festive without a common office area. However, you can organize a Christmas decoration contest to boost holiday cheer. If you want to surprise your team so that they all have a fun time with the contest, you could send them decorations and ornaments as gifts beforehand. If your team is big, you can bulk buy all the gifts.
Employees may personalize their home offices and send in photos of their new quarters. Vote for the best photos on your company’s social media page or in a holiday-themed instant messaging channel. The winner gets an Amazon gift card to buy office supplies. Organize an online “unveiling” featuring mini-tours from each contender.
Weekly Game Hour
This holiday season, give your staff a break from holiday stress by organizing a weekly paid holiday gaming hour. A weekly holiday game via video conferencing can bring everyone together and take the attention off work for a few precious moments. This scheduled “on the clock” time to interact with coworkers for non-work-related enjoyment is guaranteed to linger far beyond the holidays.
5. Set up a virtual holiday show.
It’s easy to forget that remote workers have lives and families outside of their professions when working remotely.
In the end, the holidays are about spending time with and appreciating those we love, thus recognizing non-work activities might help make remote work more “human.”
Create a Christmas channel on Slack or whichever messaging tool your organization uses. Encourage staff to exchange Christmas photos, stories, recipes, music playlists, and activity ideas. Surprisingly, many people want to tell their coworkers about their most fantastic vacation memories.