How to Throw a Remote Office Party
Do you have a remote team you want to celebrate with?
Wondering how to throw a remote office party?
When it comes to putting on a virtual office party for their remote / hybrid teams, many leaders are at a loss.
A remote office party won’t look and feel the same as an in-person office party, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.
As a leader, organizing a party for your remote workers can be an innovative way to increase employee morale, motivation, and engagement.
Here, we’ve gathered some Zoom Party ideas to show you how to throw a remote office party that won’t be just another Zoom meeting:
1. Find Your Reason to Celebrate
Your first step in throwing a remote work party should be to determine why you’re having the party. Whether your employees broke sales records last period or simply overcame a year full of changes, think about what needs to be celebrated.
Some examples of reasons to throw a virtual office party are to:
- Express gratitude to your team
- Praise a team member’s accomplishment
- Celebrate the team’s accomplishment(s)
- Welcome a new team member
- Celebrate the contributions of a departing team member
- Present an award
- Build relationships among team members (team building)
- Commemorate a holiday
- Have some fun
Knowing your “why” for the party will help you determine the time and date to throw it, what tone to set, the budget, and the activities.
2. Select an Appropriate Time
The purpose of the party will impact the time and day you select. It’s important to select an appropriate time for your party. If you’re presenting an award (a more formal event), then morning might be a good time to schedule your remote or hybrid work party.
Morning and mid-day parties don’t tend to be as jovial as parties thrown later in the day. When participants know that they don’t need to get back to work after the party, it’s more fun.
For less formal occasions, like celebrating a holiday or expressing gratitude for someone who pitched in during a difficult time, an afternoon or evening affair might be better.
BONUS TIP: Avoid throwing parties during a regularly scheduled meeting, which could dampen the celebratory tone.
3. Send a Gift for the Celebration
One great way to make a remote party festive is to send the participants a gift prior to the party and have them open it during the party. Giving gifts can create a shared experience, acknowledgment of the individualism of your team members, an opportunity for learning about each other, and some just plain fun.
Read our companion article, 7 Ways to Make Your Remote Office Party Fun for specific gift ideas (#5 in the blog).
People love to connect over food. It’s central to how we, as human beings, celebrate. So, at the very least, you need to make arrangements for a snack to be consumed at your Zoom Office Party.
The pleasure is increased when we eat foods together and talking about the food adds yet another dimension of enjoyment.
The logistics of setting up food for a remote worker office party can be trickier than an in-person party, but it can be done a number of ways.
Ways to Include Food in Your Video Conference Office Party
- Send food or drink item(s) to your employees’ homes prior to the party (via Amazon or food gift delivery service, e.g., tea, coffee, fruit, nuts, cookies, pastry, cake, donuts, candy, cheese, cured meat, crackers, jam or jelly, popcorn)
- Call ahead to arrange for meal delivery to each team member from the same or similar restaurants (e.g., Pizza [Domino’s], Mexican, or Chinese food)
- Email each team member a Starbucks’ card with instructions to bring their favorite drink to the party
- Provide a Door Dash or other food delivery credit and have team members order food to be delivered to them before the party
- Ask the participants to bring the same or a similar food to the party (e.g., a turkey sandwich, pasta dish, salad, or cupcake)
- Request participants to bring any snack or meal they’d like to the party (maybe their favorite food that they can then talk about with the group)
We have a great example of this for a virtual holiday team party we had a few years ago. We sent chocolate (or a tasty, preferred alternative) to each team member. They were instructed to wait to eat the chocolate until we were all together at the Zoom party.
At the party, we told our team members to close their eyes and take a bite of chocolate (at the same time). The “ooos” and “ahs,” punctuated by giggles, created a sense of community and unity. We then had each person describe the experience of eating the chocolate.
Another time, we sent each team member the same type of tea and we drank that together.
BONUS TIP: Be sure to check for food allergies and/or preferences beforehand and send alternatives as necessary!
5. Create a Virtual Party Structure
Remote events are harder to keep on track, so, even though it’s a party, be sure to create a structure for the event so you can keep it moving and no one falls asleep. Here’s a possible structure:
Sample Party Structure
- Describe the purpose of the party
- Each participant shares why they want to celebrate
- Fun activity 1
- Game in Breakout Rooms
- Closing Remarks
- Closing Music
6. Get Your Team Involved in the Party Planning
Consider designating a host or master of ceremony, someone from the team who is lively, engaging, and fun.
Get your team involved in the planning by asking for their ideas for activities, themes, decorations, or the menu. Ask for volunteers to take on tasks: ordering food, selecting music, decorating the home office, selecting the time and date.
Alternatively, give your team a task before the party like:
- Writing gratitude letters to each other
- Noting what they like about each team member
- Selecting a favorite work or team memory share
- Describing an interaction with their favorite customer
- Bringing a favorite childhood picture
Then, during the party, offer an opportunity for team members to read what they’ve written aloud (if they’re comfortable doing so).
7. Use Virtual Meeting Technology to Your Advantage
There are many features in Zoom (and most virtual conference platform applications) that can enhance your virtual party! Here are a few:
- – Breakout Rooms
- – Chat feature
- – Polls
- – Whiteboard feature
For specific tips on how to use Videoconference features for your Virtual Office Party, read our article: Leveraging Technology to Throw a Virtual Office Party.
Because of the challenges a remote office party creates in connecting attendees with each other and creating a festive atmosphere, you must take special care in fun planning a virtual office party.
That means doing some pre-planning, preparing in advance, and selecting some activities, entertainment, and/or a theme for your virtual office party.
We hope these 7 steps will help you plan amazing Video Conference Parties.
Check out the rest of our 3 part series on Remote Office Parties: