5 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays With Remote Teams
The holiday season is fast approaching, and it’s the perfect time of year to show your appreciation for your virtual or hybrid teams. All it takes is some creativity and your collaboration tools to celebrate the holidays with remote teams. Whether you Zoom, Slack or use Teams, the same cloud platforms that keep your team productive can help you all stay connected and in the holiday spirit this season.
Why Are Virtual Celebrations Important?
Remote work isn’t going to leave anytime soon. For the past couple of years, employees have been working from home and have gotten used to avoiding the daily commute, spending more time with their immediate family, and being generally more productive during the day.
However, people who work from home miss out on in-person holiday celebrations that occur in office settings. The good news is that remote workers can gain as much of a sense of camaraderie with their other remote coworkers as those in-office, provided they are given frequent communication opportunities and enjoy activities that cultivate a shared sense of identity.
5 Reasons to Celebrate Holidays With Remote Teams
Celebrations have benefits for all workers, whether in-office, remote or hybrid:
- Build community among colleagues
- Increase team members’ engagement
- Help combat loneliness
- Provide an opportunity to recognize employees for work and non-work-related milestones
- Provide networking opportunities
As teams become more geographically dispersed, these opportunities to connect and build relationships and memories are even more important. Of course, you can’t just throw the traditional holiday party over Teams. You have to rethink your celebrations.
5 Virtual Celebration Ideas
1. Virtual Gift Exchange
Who doesn’t love opening gifts? You can send out an email inviting coworkers to sign up a couple of weeks before the holiday break and shuffle the names together. Coworkers can order gifts online and ship to each other’s home addresses, and host a meeting where everyone can unwrap their gifts together!
2. Holiday Cards
There’s something magical about the written word. When was the last time you received a written letter in the mail? How did it make you feel? Taking time to send greeting cards to your coworkers with a specialized message will make your team members feel valued and appreciated.
3. Ugly Sweater Contest
A great holiday tradition typically associated with in-office holiday parties can still be held virtually! Have a day when your team members wear their ugliest holiday sweaters in your virtual conferencing software of choice. Then, encourage participants to vote in the chat on which one is their favorite, and send the winner an e-gift card! Remember, everyone could use an extra coffee, and for those who are difficult to shop for, a gift card to your retailer of choice can go a long way.
4. Gingerbread House/Holiday Cookie Decorating Competition
While your virtual teams may not be able to enjoy cookies or build a gingerbread house together in person, they certainly can from the comfort of their own homes. Set up a meeting where participants can bake cookies or build a gingerbread house for an hour or so and have them show the results of their hard work! Invite them to have family members or their pets participate, too!
5. Holiday Happy Hour
Having a remote happy hour in the last hour before everyone logs out for the day allows virtual teams to blow off steam with their drink of choice. You can encourage them to discuss their drinks, ask them about upcoming holiday plans and connect with others by sharing holiday traditions.
5 Small Ways to Celebrate Holidays With Remote Teams
Not everything has to be a big idea. Sometimes the little things are the most fun. For each of your virtual meetings leading up and throughout to the holiday season, try one of these:
- Festive backgrounds: Challenge your team to get creative with their Teams background and express their holiday or seasonal traditions.
- Zoom or VoIP caroling: Plan a surprise for a team member (or boss) by scheduling them for 15 minutes and having the whole team belt out Deck the Halls (or another holiday fave). Then challenge them to pass it on and schedule their own caroling surprise.
- Holiday tradition quiz: Have each team member send you two real and once fake holiday traditions. Then have the team guess which are real, which are fake and whose was whose. A virtual whiteboard can help you keep score.
- Holiday playlist: Have soft holiday music playing in the background of team meetings. Or have a team member select a holiday song to play at the start or end of your meetings.
These are just a few ideas. Half the fun is coming up with your own. Talk to your teams to get ideas that work best for your business.
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