Pre-pandemic, working from home offered a welcome break from many office workers’ routines. Today, remote work is routine for a large percentage of employees. Gallup research from September 2021 showed 45% of full-time U.S. employees working from home all or part of the time. That means almost half the workforce socializes with colleagues less than before.

Some of us miss the camaraderie of impromptu hallway meetings, casual watercooler chit chat and relaxing lunches with the gang. The past two years have been hardest on the parts of work we enjoy the most. How can we reconnect? Throw an epic virtual company holiday party!

Planning a Virtual Party

For your party to be considered epic, all you need to do is throw a party that’s more fun than expected–one that party-pooh-poohers will be sorry they skipped. Since the virtual-party bar is low, this shouldn’t be too hard.

Start with a simple but solid plan. Determine when to send invitations (now), the party date, start and end times, and what will happen during the event. By the way, if you’ve read this far, then you’re the party planner.

Here are our recommendations.

  • Your virtual party should be short and sweet. Think 30 minutes to one hour, max–preferably towards the end of a workday. (One professional event planner suggests a 30-minute maximum. That must be the standard for non-epic parties.)
  • Establish firm start and end times, and spread the word. Strong attendance and energy from the beginning will lead to less awkwardness and more awesomeness.
  • Email invitations now. Remember to include any links. And don’t forget that we celebrate several end-of-year holidays. Celebrate them all!

If you’re concerned about invitations getting lost in coworkers’ inboxes, SaneBox can help. SaneBox’s artificial intelligence learns from a user’s past inbox behavior then applies that logic to sort new emails into convenient folders. Urgent emails are kept separate from less-urgent ones. Messages you’d never open? Consider them banished forever.

Virtual Party Activities

  • Leading up to the party, tout a raffle to generate excitement. Encourage invitees to dress up or wear those ugly holiday sweaters one more time. Your coworkers can decorate cookies or gingerbread houses in advance and attendees can vote for winners at the party.
  • Employee shout-outs, awards, funny anecdotes and photos recapping the year are guaranteed crowd-pleasers.
  • A few words from senior leadership could put an official bow on this year and describe what the new year holds.
  • For a quick, action-packed party, forgo time-intensive games like scavenger hunts and bingo. Instead, a few fun facts about coworkers could make for rapid-fire prize giveaways. “Which western region sales rep won the National Spelling Bee in 2002?”
  • Holiday music can work if kept at a low volume. If many people are logged in and unmuted, music could make it hard to hear.

Get the Party Started

A virtual party isn’t the same as gathering in person, but much of life isn’t the same as before the pandemic. Until in-person parties are the norm again, your coworkers will appreciate a well-crafted alternative. 

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