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Creative ideas for holiday parties in hybrid workplaces

Creative ideas for holiday parties in hybrid workplaces

hybrid holiday party with 2 people on iPad screen

If there’s ever been a year when teams need some morale boosting from a fun year-end event, it’s 2021. The pandemic has dragged on and, no matter where your company and employees are located, you likely faced some disappointments this year. A party to wrap up the year and spend time together (in-person or virtually!) is a must for keeping spirits up.

Keep in mind that any event should feel inclusive to all your employees – so rather than calling it your “hybrid Christmas party”, for example, keep it broad with “holiday party” or simply “year-end event”.

Ideas for your hybrid holiday party

If you have a fully remote or hybrid team – some mix of remote and in-person – then planning a holiday event can be tricky. Fear not – we’ve got you covered with some great ideas to kickstart your brainstorming.

1. Scavenger hunt

Last year, Back’s hybrid team took on a fun scavenger hunt to avoid a big gathering (for pandemic safety reasons). All Berlin team members who wanted to were paired up and met at different locations throughout the city, where they had to complete challenges like:

  • Find a passerby to recite a holiday poem and film it
  • Take a picture of your group including the following items: dog, mask, bus, Santa Claus, bicycle, döner kebab shop
  • Find the best mulled wines in your area

All of the remote team members, meanwhile, were in a virtual “jury room” on Zoom where they monitored and rated the progress of the scavenger hunt participants while making their own mulled wine (with ingredients provided by the company).

2. Team awards show

This can be done fully remote or with some team members in person. Ahead of the event, the organizer can come up with serious and not-so-serious award ideas (and source some from the team), then have everyone vote on the winners. For example:

  • The ultimate team player
  • Best Zoom background
  • Future CEO award
  • Best family/pet/roommate interruption during a video call
  • Slack master
  • The office helper award

Take it up a notch by having presenters for each award, providing some kind of “trophy” for the winners, wearing fancy clothes, or even giving out special prizes throughout the event. 

3. Wrap battles

Let the competition commence. Wrap battles are a fun hybrid holiday game that require only gift wrapping materials and fast hands. 

In-person team members can take turns naming random objects, which the virtual team members must run and grab then wrap in under one minute. In-person players then get to judge the wrappers on their presentation.

4. Talent show

Some teams may have no idea what kinds of talents are hiding in their midst. Give your team members – in-person and remote – the chance to show off their (legitimate or silly) gifts in a team talent show.

You might consider giving out some sort of reward for those who participate, as well as a grand prize for the winner with the most votes at the end.

5. Team speed dating

This is a great way to ensure remote employees feel just as involved in the year-end event as the in-person members of the team. To set it up, arrange some work laptops around the in-person party area and divide virtual participants to breakout rooms. Then, the in-person party goers can move between laptops when a timer rings to mingle with their remote teammates.

Feel free to provide fun prompts to get everyone talking, like their most embarrassing holiday memory, favorite tradition, etc.

6. Remote immersive experience

Of course, some hybrid teams may choose to host their holiday parties completely online – that’s totally fine, too. If you have a higher budget, maybe you can create an immersive party experience like PayPal did for their global team this year:

Employees this year will join an immersive virtual experience, where they can wander across a lobby and onto a dance floor, into a cooking or origami class or in front of a stage for a live musical performance or magic show. PayPal is also mailing all employees gifts sourced from local businesses, as well as a company yearbook.

– Genessa Nannini, PayPal’s director of employee engagement

We hope these ideas can help spark inspiration for your own company’s holiday event. However you choose to celebrate the end of this year with your team, keep it light and fun. We could all use a bit of morale boosting after the last two years. Happy holidays!

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