Just because you lead – or work on – a virtual team, it doesn’t mean you can’t have some social time with your colleagues. With the holidays coming, most teams who share office space are busy planning happy hours or dinner parties. Teams who connect virtually shouldn’t be excluded from the fun. As virtual teams grow, this is how more of us will connect with our teammates, so get creative. Here are a few great ideas to help connect in fun, non-work ways.
- Virtual Cookie Exchange – Each member of the team sends sample cookies to every team member and you can enjoy them together during a series of online meetings. For example, on Monday the team all enjoys Tom’s homemade peppermint bark and on Tuesday the team digs into Marissa’s famous Mexican Wedding Cakes. Bonus – it’s a great way to celebrate ethnic and cultural diversity on your team.
- Online Secret Santa – OK this one requires a little budget. Every team member gets $20 to spend on another team member. During the online shopping party, each member unveils the gift they’ve chosen for their Secret Santa. You can have team members shop in advance or you can shop during the party and have the whole team help choose the gift!
- Get traditional – Create a team holiday page and each team member posts an informal blog (with photos!) or vlog about their favorite holiday tradition. You can also share holiday recipes. This is another great way to celebrate cultural diversity on the team.
- Gratitude and achievement story time – Have each team member prepare a short blog or a few thoughts from the past year that includes both highs and lows. It’s a great way to celebrate accomplishments and express gratitude for the people who helped you along the way. Set a time to gather online and each person can share their story.
- Virtual happy hour – Perfect for craft beer lovers or fun holiday themed cocktails. Just gather after hours and open the bar! People can share recipes with the team and if you have any mixologists on the team, nominate them to do a cocktail demonstration on video chat. Bonus – no need for designated drivers!
- Ugly Christmas Sweater – This is a classic and it can work well for a video hang out. Everyone wears their sweater to the virtual team meeting and vote on the best. Winner gets a gift card!
Keep in mind that holiday parties are meant to relieve stress, not add to it. Get input from your team about what works. Enjoy!