2020 Holiday Party Ideas for Your Remote Workforce

It’s that festive time of year again! Follow these tips for a great 2020 remote holiday celebration.

virtual holiday celebration
Gingerbread competitions, bingo, Secret Santa — here’s how to have virtual holiday fun with your staff

Like all things 2020, nothing is the same as it has been before and that includes your annual holiday office party. Even if you have essential workers doing their jobs in person on the holidays, we simply can’t eat, drink, and be merry around each other like before. Then there’s the whole remote work situation. For those who have fully remote teams, how can you transfer your usual holiday office traditions to a remote environment? Is that even possible?

You don’t just want to skip the holiday cheer altogether when your workers have shown up for you and your small business during a pandemic, especially when there are certainly ways to have an office holiday party remotely.

Since small business owners and HR leaders are busy with a million other things this year, at Zenefits we’ve taken the initiative of putting together this list of holiday party ideas for your remote workforce. That way you can skip all the hassle of research and get right into scheduling and partying — the fun part!

Hold a gingerbread competition

Especially if you have a remote workforce that consists of several people with kiddos at home, this can be a particularly fun remote holiday idea that can involve the whole family. Either buy or otherwise assemble gingerbread kits — they can be anything, houses, people, trees, whatever! — complete with icing options and candy for decorating and send them out to your employees.

Then you can either have people assemble them at the same time during your holiday party or just present what they’ve previously made out of the kit and talk about why they made what they made. Because everyone has various levels of creativity, it’s always a hoot to see which coworkers come up with what. And the best part is that your employees have yummy cookies to eat after.

Craft and host holiday bingo

Bingo has become a go-to virtual event these days thanks to platforms like Bingo Maker that let you craft and host your very own bingo games online. You can do regular bingo for holiday prizes or you can go all out and make holiday-themed bingo “cards” and host an extra festive competition.

Hosting bingo is a fun and easy way to get everyone playing the same game and a unique way to hand out holiday prizes — whether that’s gift cards, candy canes, or something in between.

Hosting bingo is a fun and easy way to get everyone playing the same game and a unique way to hand out holiday prizes — whether that’s gift cards, candy canes, or something in between.

Have a holiday movie watch party

Everyone loves a good holiday movie! You can select the movie by making an easy Google survey and picking out the most voted for holiday movie option. From classics like It’s A Wonderful Life to ‘90s favorite Home Alone and the various versions of The Grinch, there are so many great movies to choose from.

If sitting through a whole movie remotely seems like a lot, try a viewing of holiday episodes from TV shows that everybody loves. They’re just as festive, but much shorter and more flexibly able to accommodate unpredictable attention spans. Plus, who doesn’t love the White Elephant episode of The Office?

Do a virtual Secret Santa

A Secret Santa gift exchange can easily be carried out remotely. Let everyone know who they got, set the budget for gifts, and give everyone a few bucks to cover shipping.

With a little bit of extra prep and planning, a Secret Santa gift exchange can easily be carried out remotely. Let everyone know who they got, set the budget for gifts, and give everyone a few bucks to cover shipping. Each worker just has to buy a gift for the coworker they got and mail it to them so that it arrives before the remote office holiday party. Then everyone can go through the same gift opening and good times that come with an in-person office party.

Ugly sweater parties still rule, even remotely

The joy of an ugly sweater party is, well, the ugly sweaters! They’re just as enjoyable via video as they are in person, especially when everyone gets into the stories behind them and the places they found them.

Another idea for a remote ugly sweater party that doesn’t involve wearing them on camera is for everyone to send in a picture of their ugly sweater. Everyone can then try to guess which ugly sweater belongs to whom, which is sure to be a barrel full of laughs.

Send out cocktail kits for a holiday happy hour

Everyone has been having virtual happy hours, but that usually means bringing your own booze to the party. Even when shipping alcohol is a no-go, you can still send out cocktail kits that have all of the fixings for a fancy cocktail at home minus the booze. It’s an easy way to go the extra mile to make your holiday party special.

Another option is giving everyone a stipend to go out and buy a cocktail to-go from a local establishment. Then at the party everyone can talk about what they got and why. It can be nice to reminisce about the good old days of socializing in bars and restaurants!

Have someone else handle it for you

Maybe this whole holiday event planning just isn’t for you or finding the time to organize it simply isn’t in the cards this year. No worries, new companies have popped up that do all of the virtual event planning and hosting for you. Teambuilder is one that, as the name suggests, specializes in virtual team building events.

If figuring out what to do seems tough, just think about your team members and the year they’ve had. What’s a way that you can show them some appreciation during the holidays by adding a little fun to their calendar? Whether it’s on this list or not, you can’t go wrong by simply organizing something you know your workers will enjoy — no matter how big or small.

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