Gone are the days of the crazy office Christmas party. Now are the days for hybrid office celebrations.
Everything about how we work has changed, so it’s only natural that end-of-year parties change – from the name and reasons we celebrate to how we connect and what we do.
Nearly 50% of employees work a hybrid schedule – some days in the office, some remote – according to research from Gallup. And most organizations are set to host holiday parties again.
So for many organizations, that means hybrid office celebrations. While we haven’t worked out all the kinks to hybrid work, most organizations want to get hybrid holiday celebrations right.
To that, here are six ideas for your hybrid office celebrations.
Expand hybrid office celebrations
If you haven’t already, take steps to make your celebration more inclusive. Instead of a Christmas party, change it to a holiday celebration, end-of-year party or employee appreciation event.
If you include all the holidays, put up decorations for each in the office, and send information to everyone explaining the origins and traditions of each holiday (Kwanza, Hanukkah, Bodhi Day, Solstice, Christmas, New Year’s). Or maybe you can just focus on employees and your gratitude for their efforts throughout the year.
Regardless of where, when or how you celebrate together, make plans for employees to give back together. Of course, make the opportunities to volunteer optional, as you don’t want to force any employees into doing something they aren’t interested in.
You might encourage and reward random acts of kindness within the workplace. Ask employees to share acts-of-kindness stories, then give small rewards. Some companies adopt families through local philanthropic organizations, and employees pool money or food and gifts to help others in need. Or maybe you can give employees time and pay to help their favorite charity. VolunteerMatch can help you identify local and national remote volunteering opportunities.
Give and receive
Invite employees to join in a gift exchange – again, voluntarily – with colleagues.
You might do a mail gift exchange. Set a dollar limit and deadline to send gifts. Share a few suggestions on gift ideas. You can make the exchange public, doing a virtual reveal event. Or you might have one organizer send names and addresses to everyone who wants to participate, setting them up for a gift exchange that adds a surprise element.
Or try a virtual White Elephant Party, which allows employees from around the corner or around the world to participate in the gift-swap game.
Throw a wellness party
The unintended and underlying theme of most holiday celebrations is over-indulgence. Try a wellness party as an alternative.
You might host virtual, hybrid or in-person yoga or meditation sessions. Send nutrient-rich food baskets to employees’ homes. Or give employees a budget to spend on something they feel is important to their overall well-being – for instance, gym memberships, gardening supplies, nutrition counseling, services to ease their demands such as cleaning, etc.
Host an awards show
Try an awards show fully remote or with those who choose to be on-site. Keep this one light-hearted. Ask everyone to vote on the winners ahead of time. Some award ideas:
- Best Zoom Background
- Best family/pet/roommate interruption during a video call
- The Slack Master
- The Hybrid Champ
- The Never Ending Emailer
- The Tech Wizard, and/or
- The Office Helper Award.
Get the games on
Whether you plan to physically bring people together or host virtual events, add games to hybrid office celebrations.
“While game play can be fun, it has a real impact in how people treat each other in the office by keeping the focus on a shared goal,” says Matt Hendricks, principal at Hanabi Holdings.
He recommends in-person games, which are:
- Accessible. For most games, everyone is a novice and playing on the same level. Try: Werewords by Bezier Games.
- Simple. Most board games don’t have complicated rules or require awkward role playing. Try: The Mind from Pandasaurus Games.
- Welcoming. You can create teams from different groups or work functions to build camaraderie. Try: Reverse Charades from USAopoly.
And if you’re sticking with a remote celebration, you might try holiday trivia in smaller group virtual get-togethers or company-wide events. You can find a host of trivia and other game ideas here.