This holiday season is different from the previous ones. Here's how to make good use of the tools and tactics that have been used to keep remote teams running over the past few months to create meaningful vacation activities that foster corporate culture.
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For many entrepreneurs, employees are often more like members of their own extended family. They celebrate important business and personal milestones together and support each other in difficult times. For many, 2020 was an example of “tough times,” which makes it even more important for working families to find a way to celebrate this Christmas season together.
Obviously, the traditional festive gatherings and social activities, including the annual office holiday celebration, will either be canceled or changed in some way this year. In a virtual world, it's a little harder to replicate the mingling and dropping conversations that take place in the physical world. Because employees who are more connected tend to be happier and more productive, it's critical that companies find creative ways to facilitate these interactions as part of a vacation celebration.
In the absence of the usual parties, there are virtual ways of celebrating that can feel both natural and festive while using the same tools we use for work. With a little creativity, it is possible to turn the same tools we work with into a memorable year event that many would rather forget. Consider one of these ideas or your own variation on them.
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Tip 1: take the opportunity to be inclusive
The classic office Christmas party can create a lot of pressure. This year there is an opportunity to reduce some of these pressures. Try having smaller video chats and other activities on specific topics rather than just hosting a single event. Consider a virtual holiday cookie baking class and as an added bonus, send the ingredients and some fun cooking accessories home to the staff. Take advantage of the "bowl season" and host party events for sporting events. Consider a vacation movie night with a dress-up theme and send some fun gifts from the company. And don't forget to involve the family – maybe host a virtual happy hour with coworkers and their significant other, or something that gets the kids involved, like virtual storytelling or a puppet show. The trick with these types of activities is to keep them on the smaller side so that it is easy to socialize and focus on all kinds of interests.
Tip 2: remember what we learned about working remotely
High quality video and voice is essential. If the quality of your meeting is poor, it will be difficult to have fun. We know how frustrating it is to keep saying, "Can you hear me now?" Encourage holiday celebrations with fun and novel events so that you don't just feel like another conference call or team check-in. Get familiar with the visual aspect by running an ugly sweater contest and asking staff to take a video tour of their home decorations or share family recipes and traditions. Try branching beyond the video to share family photos on a messaging channel separate from the usual workflow. Integrate multiple channels such as video and messaging to host larger events, e.g. B. Company-wide trivia competitions where you can still split up into smaller groups (or teams if you're playing a game) for a more natural conversation. To keep attendees busy, keep structured events short and interactive.
Related: Preparing E-Commerce for the "New" Holidays
Tip 3: realize it's still 2020
We've all been through a lot this year and it would be a rarity for the organizers to fail to see the challenges the teams have overcome while delivering a fun experience. Take some time or a specific event to highlight the great work of each employee. Think about the challenges of the past few months and how the organization plans to move forward to take advantage of the new year's opportunities. Create separate areas, whether messaging channels, calls, or any other type of event, where team members can have informal conversations. While we make extensive use of our team messaging feature at RingCentral for business purposes, we also offer multiple channels for employees to connect on a personal level, including one that focuses on recipes and another where employees are cute Exchange dog photos. These little moments of connection help us maintain our personal relationships even when we work apart.
Some employees may not be interested, or may not be able to attend virtual parties at all, and that's fine. Give each person the flexibility to participate in activities that really interest them. Use the budget usually reserved for catering or personal parties to give staff a scholarship for food, drinks, or other items they may need for an activity. It's a small gesture that helps make people feel connected.
The holidays are an opportunity to reflect on our journey, give something back to the employees and bring our work family closer together. This year is no different. Use technology as a tool for inclusivity and leverage your own experience of virtual events that have worked well in the past. Most importantly, give employees a chance to celebrate in a way that appeals to them and allow team members to learn a little more from each other. This can have a positive and lasting effect on the corporate culture in the new year.
Related: 4 Tips On How To Unplug And Charge Entrepreneurs During The Vacation