Virtual teams have been on my mind for most of 2018. Between the launch of my book Virtual Teams for Dummies, guest blogging for Training Industry Magazine about virtual team mistakes,   virtual team media coverage and recent speaking engagements on virtual teams, I am enjoying getting the message out about best practices in supporting virtual teams.

But now it’s time to party.

For all you virtual team members out there, fear not – you can definitely enjoy some holiday social time with your colleagues. You just need to be creative.

A few notes — consider the timing of your virtual party. Depending on time zones, you may need to be creative. One live event could be a festive lunch, a fun breakfast or cocktail hour. Also, since you can’t rely on small talk, you need to create an event or have an unveiling of sorts that people will want to see. Think about announcing winners of a contest, bestowing awards or unveiling pictures or videos.

Here are a few great ideas to get you thinking.  

  • Creative gifting – there’s no reason you can’t have an online white elephant gift exchange. Just be sure to open them live online during party. Or team leaders can send each member a coffee mug with funny, inside jokes that they unwrap on camera live.

  • Share or demo the love – Host a “how to” holiday party where participants prepare holiday cocktails, decorate cookies, make a wreath or prepare a recipe. You can also have teammates do a virtual home tour to show off holiday decorations. This is a great option for international teams to share cultural or religious traditions.
  • Get competitive – Create categories and have the team vote; think “most creative-thinker” or “fastest IMer” or “biggest night owl.” Announce the winners during your virtual party.  Or post a fun holiday-themed online game (or link to a gaming site) or online karaoke site. Invite teammates to play or vote on best song, and announce winners at the party.
  • Full participation required – Make a team video. Ask your team to submit a snippet of video on a given topic (you could even recommend a theme or supply props for the effort in advance). Then pull the content together, set it to music and debut it at the party.
  • Make a space for holiday cheer – create a holiday space online for team members to engage with for weeks before the holiday. Have teammates curate a variety of holiday-themed things — recipes, holiday stories, holiday memes or videos, awkward family pictures, crying Santa pictures. Create a message board to debate the best holiday movie or song. Post about the worst holiday gift you ever received. Be sure to include a space to express appreciation or share traditions. This is a great option if you can’t hold a live event.

  • Holiday giving – Have your team choose a charity to support and post stories about how everyone gets involved. Or “adopt” a family in need and each team member is given money to support the wishes of a member of the family.

Clearly, the virtual party ideas are endless. The bottom line is that you know your team, and you know what will work. Take these ideas and make them your own.

Happy holidays everyone!

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