You’ve gotta fight. For your right. To have a virtual Christmas parrrttaaaayy. 

No really, you do. Because this year, with colleagues remote, recuperating or redundant, even the very suggestion of a festive office celebration has been met with groans so audible you could hear them without the help of a microphone. If you’re having to host this party, then you’re going to have to do everything in your power to make it a success, rather than a source of great resentment among co-workers.

Personally, we think that this year’s Christmas party, even if it is occurring remotely, is more important than ever; a chance to let your hair down after a difficult year, rekindle your bond with distant colleagues and bid farewell to 2020 in style. With all that in mind, here are 5 tips for throwing the IDEAL virtual office party.

CONSIDER SOMEONE ELSE ORGANISING YOUR FUN

Yep, we know there’s an assumption that this thing will be conducted via Zoom, but do you really want to spend more time on a platform so associated with a year of buffering conference calls?

Instead of having to organise the whole event yourself, why not to defer to the experts? Events companies have adapted to deal with the demand for virtual parties, and just a few of our favourites for the festive season include:

  • Hire Space, which curates bespoke virtual events for companies and their teams, and has a range of themes within their Christmas Party Packages toolkit. These range from online cooking webinars to their Big Top package, which includes private performances from comedians and musicians.
  • The Together Works, who are specialists in organising virtual teambuilding exercises and challenges, all with a 90 minute time limit, ideal for giving your Christmas party focus. These include scavenger hunts and even virtual escape rooms.
  • The Events Company, and more specifically their Gameshow Mania event, which is a state-of-the-art, multi-media event several tiers above those hastily arranged quizzes you’ve been hosting on Zoom.

KEEP UP WITH TRADITION WHERE POSSIBLE

Although the structure provided by outsourcing the organised fun provides a useful timetable for the evening, doing so can be expensive. And let’s face it, doesn’t everyone just want to get together and have a drink and a gossip at the office Christmas party, virtual or otherwise? 

You never thought you’d miss Gavin from IT’s dad jokes, but the sense of normality which hearing his quips brings might feel strangely comforting this year. To keep up with some kind of theme or structure, do try to keep tradition alive where possible. If the annual office Christmas party always involves the opening of Secret Santa gifts, then make sure that occurs virtually. If it’s obligatory that the whole team hits the dancefloor with abandon each year, then prepare a playlist of all your favourite Christmas songs, share it with colleagues, and prepare an apology to your neighbours, too!

This is all about nurturing that connection with your colleagues from afar, so do make sure you keep office tradition alive where possible.

SCHEDULE UP

Whilst we’d love the event to be a complete free-for-all, a remote event can go south fast if it lacks a schedule and that aforementioned structure. It might be wise to set up a timetable for the event, and even send out minutes for the event, to ensure you don’t have people wandering off halfway through the evening to watch TV or worse, logging off entirely.

COORDINATE THE REFRESHMENTS

The food and, perhaps even more so, the drink, are what make the office Christmas party go off with a bang. As such, it’s what you should focus the budget and event on this year; well, there’s not much else to spend the company money on, hey? 

Consider ordering a top restaurant’s ‘make at home’ meal kits for the team; the preparation of the dishes over Zoom and then the sitting down to eat could form the basis of the evening. There are some cracking Christmas at home delivery boxes available this year, should you be feeling particularly festive.

Alternatively, you could organise a wine tasting event. Though there are companies who can host this for you, it’s significantly cheaper (and more fun!) if a member of your team hosts this type of event. All you need to do is order wine for you and your colleagues – simple search Alcohol Delivery Near Me and find a suitable service – and print off some tasting notes for each bottle. You could even turn the tasting event into a quiz. 

Now, who is getting hints of cardamom and melon on the palate?

DRESS UP NOT DOWN

We’ve spent such a long time in our loungewear that we’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to dress up. The office Christmas party, even if being done virtually, represents the perfect chance to get your glad rags on and make an effort. Though you won’t be sneaking in a snog under the mistletoe with your office crush this year, it’ll still be a refreshing change to get dressed up.

As the host, consider framing the event to encourage colleagues to go the extra mile with their outfits. It needn’t be as formal as black tie, but billing the event as ‘glitz and glamour’ or ‘cocktail party’ will at least set the overarching tone. And if you’re looking to go that extra mile, check out these tips on how to do glamorous Zoom party makeup properly.