Last Christmas, the Method team celebrated the festive season with some baseball, street food and cocktails. This year promises to be a rather more remote, socially distanced affair.
Lockdown may have lifted by the time the festive season warms up, but the safety of your colleagues remains paramount.
But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself! Everyone can have fun at the office party this year after all the COVID-19 gloom. Bridge the distance between yourself and your work family by planning a virtual celebration to unite your team and inspire some fun.
Using Slack or whatever team chat app you use for work, establish a chain to discuss the team's likes, loathes and loves—Establish a theme to get ideas circulating, from games to fancy dress, music tastes and timing. Ensure everyone gets their suggestions heard and incorporated. Google Docs can be useful for sharing your itinerary and it has the added benefit of being open for everyone to annotate. The schedule is the perfect place to plan out the office Secret Santa. Just make sure whoever is in charge doesn't share the classified information it includes!
Launch a party playlist for everyone to listen to and enjoy pre, present and post-party. Add in tunes that up the tempo, feel festive and include favourites from everyone in the team. Spotify is a perfect place to host the playlist, offering shared log-ins and archive space for each year's mix. Music is a fun way to connect with colleagues and stimulate a sense of familiarity with the people you chat with daily. Be sure to arrange the tracks to run organically from one song to another.
Food and Drinks
Plan a shared menu you can all enjoy together! Organise a set menu and provide the list of ingredients, or the ingredients themselves, to create a homemade feast. Ensure you avoid all allergens and food sensitivities offering alternatives when necessary. Foods which are easy to eat with your fingers whilst chatting and playing games, including burgers, bruschetta and banana bread, all always winners! Organise mocktails and cocktails for drinks. Alternatively, why not start a wine club, share a favourite bottle and compare notes.
The Dress Code
Fancy dress gets everyone in the mood for fun! From Christmas Jumpers to favourite Disney character outfits, avoid feeling like a sore thumb whilst on the way to the party venue this year; Get creative with your outfit from the comfort of your own home. Inspire the festivities by offering a prize for the funniest fancy dress at the party! Give a little teaser for what's in store for your colleagues. Update your slack interface to show you in your full festive fancy dress.
Fun and Games
Why not design a personalised trivia game to help you find out more about each other outside of the office? Free online trivia site MyQuiz allows social groups to learn more personal information about one another in a fun and formatted way. The quiz host composes the questions, adds images or videos, and sets the parameters, such as the number of prize winners or the time limit for submitting the correct answer. Questions should give an insight into the interests and funny anecdotes of everyone at the party. Keep the trivia easy to engage with and full of innocent quips. Organise teams to build a sense of community. If you all enjoy the game, perhaps this is something to incorporate more regularly into team meetings allowing everyone to come together and feel more like friends than just remote workers.
Christmas just wouldn't be as exciting without the expectation of a gift or two. Once you've got your secret Santa organised, encourage everyone to wrap their Christmas presents in ten layers of wrapping, popping a joke and/or a trivia question under each layer of wrapping. This way you can all play a remote game of pass the parcel, but rather than passing the parcel, throughout the remote party, every time the games master stops the music every player must unwrap a layer and then read out a joke.
A good old knees-up oils the employee cogs, encouraging better communication and cohesion as a team. Never underestimate the value of investing time and fun in the people who make business happen for you. Last year's Method party allowed everyone to physically meet the person they've chatted to online for months, this is so important when working remotely. In-jokes are inspired, nuances are better understood, and a more general relaxed outlook is adopted by all to facilitate smoother operations and a more enjoyable time spent at work.