‘tis (almost) the season to be jolly and, let’s face it, we’ve never been more in need of a bit of festive cheer than we are right now.
Although this year’s office Christmas parties will undoubtedly look a bit different to usual, the vast majority of UK businesses are choosing to embrace change rather than postpone or cancel their celebrations.
In fact, a survey by London-based event management company Hire Space suggests 89 per cent of businesses are planning to hold some sort of virtual festivities over the next month.
Priya Parker, host of the New York Times podcast Together Apart, spoke to Reuters about the importance of spending quality time together as a team this Christmas:
“We may be apart, but we do have the technology to create the psychological and emotional experience of being together”, she said.
“People still need to party. We need release, we need connection, we need to let go of all this stress and step into a joyful space.”
So, if you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, take note of these brilliant virtual Christmas party ideas – and rejoice in the fact there’ll be no mad dash to catch the last train home at the end of the night…
Play a virtual game of Who Dares Wins
If your team are the competitive sort, let them battle it out for victory with an online game of Who Dares Wins. Corporate hospitality business, Team Tactics, have devised an excellent Winter Wonderland-themed version of the event, which is based on the Crystal Maze TV show.
Using Zoom, teams will be taken through four different festive zones: Elf Land, Gingerbread Land, Snow Kingdom and Candy Cane Kingdom. With everything from charades and brainteasers to festive dash-and-grabs and even a virtual snowball fight in store, even the biggest teambuilding scrooge is likely to have a good time.
Take on a bush tucker trial in I’m Working From Home Get Me Out Of Here!
I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here might be taking place in Wales this year, but you can bring a taste of the Australian jungle to your very own living room. This virtual team experience, hosted by Go To Events, sees you taking on tasks and challenges inspired by the infamous bush tucker trials. There’s even a critter crunch contest.
Everyone gets a pack of goodies in the post before the event, with everything that’s needed for the trials. Then the experience is held via a live virtual platform. Give it a go and see who’s crowned Queen or King of the office.
Indulge in an online karaoke session
As a wise elf once proclaimed, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. And while you won’t be able to take your team to an actual karaoke bar this year, you can recreate a similar experience online.
Use a tool like Sync Video to synchronise everyone’s video and audio, then get the Christmas tunes on. You can either pick a karaoke playlist from YouTube or sign up for some instant virtual karaoke with the experts at Lucky Voice.
After all, Christmas isn’t Christmas without treating your colleagues to an over-enthusiastic rendition of Fairytale of New York.
Host the ultimate Christmas quiz
2020 has been the year of Zoom quizzes, so why not round things off with a Christmas-themed trivia night.
While it’s pretty easy to DIY your own quiz questions, a tool like KwizzBit can provide a much slicker experience. This interactive software combines speed-based trivia with innovative question types, automatic scoring and leader board generation.
You can pick from more than 4,000 ready-made quizzes, including Christmas-themed ones that feature questions on festive films, music and TV shows. Each game can incorporate up to 5,000 players, so it’s a great company-wide activity.
Take part in a murder mystery with a twist
Virtual murder mystery parties have really taken off this year, but if you’re after something a little less morbid and a little more Christmassy, events company Orangeworks has you covered.
Its Who Stole Santa? game takes on the same format as your typical murder mystery, but the aim is to solve the clues and reveal who kidnapped Father Christmas.
The bespoke game lasts up to an hour and a half and can be themed around your business. The detective work is interspersed with seasonal comedy from classic Christmas characters, all via live video stream.
Recreate the proper office Christmas party experience
If you’ve got grand ideas – and a budget to match – this Christmas, go all out with a remote office party that’s as close to the real thing as you’re going to get.
Events technology company Hire Space hosts virtual parties through a game-style user interface that’s been built with the same software used to hold this year’s virtual Burning Man festival.
Party goers can flit between up to 30 virtual rooms, including a blackjack hall, a comedy club, a jazz café and a cabaret show. There’s even a toilet, a smokers’ area and a taxi room, for added authenticity. Packages can be fully customized, so let your imagination run wild. After all, there’s never been a better time for a bit of escapism.
tsoHost has been supporting both small businesses and, more specifically, ambitious web design and creative agencies for close to 20 years.
Words by Samantha Shillabeer