The holiday office party is a mixed bag for sure. Suddenly shifting gears into party mode with a bunch of people you work with can be difficult and awkward. For some, an office party feels more like work than actual work. It’s like getting to know a group of people you already know for the first time, and that’s a recipe for social anxiety. We aren’t here to tell you that office parties are always fun. But even the most reluctant reveler has to admit that getting to see different sides of co-workers can humanize the workplace in ways that can make the rest of the year just a little more fulfilling.
Melissa Mazmanian, an associate professor or informatics at UC Irvine, explained in a 2016 Atlantic article that “forcing yourself in the context of a group to do something different, speak in a way that’s different...even though they might seem silly, might possibly be really generative.”
Office parties aren’t what they used to be, though. With so much of the workforce composed of remote employees, it’s not enough to just invite everyone to a catered soiree in some fancy restaurant’s back room. That might work for onsite employees, but their far-flung colleagues shouldn’t have to feel left out.
A modest gift exchange can be a great way to bring distant co-workers into the holiday fold. With a cloud-based video conferencing solution like Prime Call Cloud UC, everyone can get together in a video conference and open their gifts together.
When it comes time for the party proper, remote workers can attend via video, but you’ll have to make a special effort to create a party atmosphere that allows for video-enabled participation. You might want to bring competitions and contests into play here. A costume contest might be the way to go. Any number of classic party games could work too--guessing games, trivia and raffles can all be enjoyed by your virtual attendees.
Your remote employees, no matter how virtually connected to the holiday happenings, are bound to feel a little left out. Let them know how much they are appreciated by giving them a little party of their own. Whether it’s a gift card for dinner at a nice restaurant or passes to a local movie theater, subsidizing a bit of fun is a great way to deliver holiday cheer to the faraway people who bring so much to your company, even if they can’t show up to your parties.
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