Just as it's important to work through tough times together, it's important to celebrate together! As winter approaches, make sure your team feels appreciated and heard by creating space to pause and appreciate the holiday season.
It's doubly important to do this for distributed teams and remote or WFH employees. Maybe you're still all working from home to be safe, or maybe the team is totally remote in far-flung different locations. Even if you can't come together physically for the season, you can still build up your team and put a smile on everyone's face for the holidays!
Here are a few tried and true ideas for what to do with your remote team or office mates over a video call, zoom room, remote holiday party, or virtual office celebration.
Want to bring your team together for a team-building-oriented holiday hang out? Maybe a holiday happy hour? Get everyone together on a video call and play a game together! There are lots and lots of games out there to play. Here's a virtual holiday team building activity game we've built that's ready to play:
How to play: Get your group on a video call (like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Webex, etc). Launch the event, share your screen, and have everyone join in to the game on their phones! Then they can each send in answers, sounds, emoji, and game-specific responses directly. This type of game is great because it lets everyone in your group have a voice and participate — making everyone feel included.
If you want to warm up your team or just get the ball rolling during a winter remote work event, use holiday-themed icebreakers to get your team feeling warm & fuzzy & festive!
How to host a remote or virtual icebreaker: Come together over a video call and give prompts or icebreaker questions to the group. Then, either break into smaller groups (eg. Zoom breakout rooms), or give the whole team an opportunity to speak together with tools or instructions that enable large group interaction.
It's important to give people a way to interact and answer your questions that's not just unmuting and shouting out (which can be intimidating to the best of us). Best practice is to use enablers like the Zoom chat ("just send in your answer in the chat", then as the moderator read some aloud) or tools like SlidesWith to give everyone in your event a way to respond to you. This way you'll avoid crickets (my personal nightmare as a host) and you'll make everyone feel more comfortable — and heard!
10 Holiday icebreaker questions for work parties or virtual meetings
Or, you can play a SlidesWith game with your whole group that's ready-made (and that lets everyone send in answers using their phones). This is a great way to make sure, even if you're in a larger group, that everyone's voice is heard, not just the more gregarious talkers. So if you want to share your screen and give people a way to answer icebreaker questions together, here's a ready-to-play game that gives everyone a way to send in their answers, with no work from you.
How to play: Get your group on a video call (like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Webex, etc). Launch the event, share your screen, and have everyone join in to the game on their phones! Then they can each send in answers, sounds, emoji, and game-specific responses directly.
If you want to make sure your team has a good time and feels close to each other, but don't want to do the time-intensive and high-value work of putting something great together, then hire it out! There are so many fabulous hosts and services that do this online. One of our favorites is teambuilding.com, they'll put on a remote holiday party for your team that's guaranteed to be fun.
If you want to take things to the next level, host a Virtual Beer Tasting. There are so many fantastic breweries offering hosted events where you can sip, chat, and enjoy without any of the work. This is a great way to create an office celebration without needing to be together in the office.
If you want to make sure that people are moving and feeling excited and invigorated during a holiday get together (that's still remote), then help them move around! This is a great ready-to-play game deck that will have your event-goers up out of their chairs finding fun things in their house, and then coming back to join together with the larger group to share and talk about what they've found.
Scavenger hunts for adults are great, especially when they can bring a holiday cheer to everyone by having your team share photos of things they care about from their home office or remote work setup.
If you don't want to put together your own scavenger hunt, here's a ready-to-play game that lets folks take pictures and send them in to share, with all the prompts already written for you:
How to play: Get your group on a video call (like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Webex, etc). Launch the event, share your screen, and have everyone join in to the game on their phones! Then they can each send in their scavenged finds directly by photo.
Want to just bring everyone together to get to know each other? There are great tools to use for letting people have smaller group and one on one interactions, even remote. Gatheround.com is a great example of a tool that lets people feel like they're mingling at a holiday party. Fortunately there's no mistletoe risk when you're on a remote hangout!
In the lead up to your office's holiday office-closed or vacation days, build up to these days off by building in little holiday-themed moments before starting each regular meeting. Whether it's by asking special warm up icebreakers before meetings, playing a short game, or just wearing a festive hat on your video call — give some build up!
You can use pre-made holiday-themed meeting icebreaker slide decks to warm up before your meetings, or just ask some holiday questions (see our icebreakers above!)
These are some effective ways to build holiday cheer into your workaday interactions, or to host special festive events for your whole group together. Many workers find it important to share non-work time together, especially during these people-first times of winter holidays. So whether your team is celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or other winter festivities around the world, give them a way to come together.