This year, organising the Annual work Christmas party, or Office end-of-year Social, whilst adhering to COVID tiers and regulations can seem pretty daunting. You want your colleagues to have a good time, a well-earned celebration for all of their hard work during this challenging year. But necessity means our 2020 office socials are likely virtual events, making it all the more challenging to foster that festive feeling.
When online platforms are normally associated with morning stand up meetings, it can be a challenge to replicate a party atmosphere, so how can we make those corporate parties and team building activities memorable and engaging? The answer is simple - give that work event a clear theme!
So what benefits does theming bring?
Themed elements at your office party have a number of benefits. They give colleagues something to focus on, beyond the fact that they can’t see each other in person; they make room for creativity and self-expression; and they encourage fun office camaraderie.
Themes are also a great ice-breaker; it's hard for things to stay awkward when you’re all having a laugh at Sharon from HR’s light-up Christmas jumper, or the Intern’s over-the-top cowboy outfit!
Fancy dress to impress!
One of the easiest ways to bring in a themed element to your work social activities is with fancy dress. You could keep things festive and straightforward with a DIY ‘most festive outfit’ competition, or go a little more off-the-wall with non-Christmas themes for other times of the year. There are plenty of fun options that will make for good conversation:
Fashion from a specific decade
Favourite childhood book characters
Iconic music stars
If you want to make things more co-operative, you could split the office into small teams, with each team having a different, co-ordinated costume theme that the rest of the office try and guess as part of the party. This gives people a chance to show-off and get creative, and makes for a fun "awards ceremony", where you can give several colleagues a chance to shine. You could have a best dressed prize, a "most accurate depiction" prize, and a team "most correct guesses" award!
Themed activities keep the energy high
Going one step further, the festive social could be built around a themed team building activity. Something like a murder mystery or story based game can really take your work social to the next level.
The Agent Venture Game Series is an example of taking themed office activities to a more exciting place, without being any more difficult to organise than a regular Zoom party. Teams are split into small groups of 4-5, and led (over Zoom) through an immersive, spy-themed heist by a live actor
Participants are each given specific spy roles and fully immersed in the story, meaning they can lose themselves in the theme entirely. It's the perfect excuse for the office to go all out with fancy dress too - think tinselly trench coats and fairy light fedoras for that secret agent meets Christmas vibe! They even have packages that include team photo boards and awards (including best dressed group!)
With Christmas-social season fast approaching, bringing in a theme for your virtual party can really spruce up the occasion, help bring the energy up, and create a fun and warm atmosphere (in spite of Covid).
Whether your colleagues are dressed up as spies and competing in a live heist, or simply seeing who looks the best in antlers, your team is sure to feel that they’ve properly celebrated after a tough year at work.