Toasting, singing, having fun together: All this is also possible at the virtual Christmas party - and it is important for cohesion. It's only the smooching that's difficult 😉
The Christmas party with the workforce is more than just drinking with colleagues. Rather, the company's Christmas party is THE event to look back on the past year together. It is THE opportunity to say “thank you” to the workforce as management. A Christmas party is a ritual that gives employees the feeling of importance and belonging ", says Klaus Pilsl, CEO of Combeenation -" and after a year like this it is more important than ever ".
Using new situations for new approaches - virtual and yet connected
2020 was characterized by social distancing - also in everyday office life. Many of us have not seen our colleagues for months and long to be sociable. It was clear to us that the Christmas party together is more important than ever. Strengthen the WE feeling and get the workforce in the mood for the new year. Of course, a classic Christmas party with colleagues in the tavern would now come just as it was called - if the Corona crisis would allow it. But for CEO Klaus Pilsl it was clear from the start that "We would not consider the Christmas party due to CORONA".
The physical Christmas party location was canceled and the search for a Christmas party alternative began. Even if it wasn't physically possible, we wanted to bring all of our colleagues together and celebrate an unforgettable Christmas party together. The solution was found quickly. We move our celebration "online" to the virtual room, which means that it can also be carried out in home office mode.
Just think outside the box - it could be good
Many of us have spent almost more time in the home office than in the office this year. It goes without saying that we initially feared that the majority of our colleagues would be tired from video conferences. No personal contact - everyone in front of the screen, headphones on their ears: the digital version of this year's Christmas party didn't sound very attractive to us at first either. But as the saying goes, “planning is half the battle”. A digital Christmas party needs a clear structure, a defined process and a well-planned “special” entertainment program with a large portion of “creativity”. Otherwise she runs the risk of degenerating into another unpleasant appointment in front of the screen instead of a relaxed exchange after work. So for us, the appointment invitation was out and off we went with the planning.
And what about the christmas presents?
As a substitute for eating and drinking together, small packages were prepared in advance for all employees and of course sent by post. In addition to canned beer and nibbles, these packages also contained a small Christmas present in the form of a Combeenation laptop backpack or laptop bag.
In order to keep the tension up until the celebration, a clearly visible sticker "Please do not open" was attached to the package. Thus opening the parcels was officially prohibited until the Christmas party. In order to spare our employees lukewarm drinks at the party, the storage notice “Please store in a cool and dry place” was attached to the package. In order to really give the Christmas party a Christmassy flair, all employees were asked to make themselves or their workplaces Christmassy.
The games are the accessory to keep the conversation going
To be honest, our biggest fear was that the virtual party would become boring over time and that we would run out of things to talk about. So that there was no boredom in the first place, a small planning team came together to take care of the supporting program for the celebration.
Combeenation Bingo: As in every company, we also have keywords that appear repeatedly in presentations and lectures. These terms were packed into a bingo by the planning team and sent to the employees shortly before the start of the Christmas party. The prompt was to shout bingo loudly (regardless of who was speaking) as soon as a row was complete.
Special Christmas Tasks: 30 people means 30 tasks. The aim was that everyone at Combeenation was assigned a special task that they had to complete during the Christmas party. The great thing about it, no one knew about the task of the other. The tasks were very diverse. From “suddenly sitting in front of the monitor in a fine rib undershirt” to “we're all singing a Christmas carol together now” to a wonderful “toast to the Christ Child”, everything was really there. Of course the tasks were also resolved at a later hour. In retrospect, the resolution was actually even funnier than the task itself.
Online Game - Scribbl.io: This is an online game in which each round a different person has to draw a random word and the rest of the players try to guess the term as quickly as possible. The faster you are, the more points you get. Of course, some combeenation terms were also hidden here. But ATTENTION: Scribbl.io can unfortunately only be played with 12 players.
3 … 2 … 1 … Virtual Combeenation Christmas Party has started
The process is in place, all (really all!) Employees have agreed to invite the appointments, the drinks have been chilled, the tasks have been assigned, the bingo has been sent out - so we can start. After a brief greeting and address by CEO Klaus Pilsl, we went straight to a little “retro”. It is clear that 2020 was not a “normal” year for us either - and we can still look back on it with great pride. Our great development as a company and also of the individual teams was reviewed again through entertaining reviews of the year by our CEO and the individual team leaders.
Only after this official part did Klaus Pilsl give the go-ahead to open the Christmas parcels. And admittedly, when everyone is sitting together in front of the screen, unpacking their parcels at the same time and clinking glasses (albeit without clinking glasses), that creates closeness. A closeness that is anything but a matter of course among colleagues this year.
A little tip from our side: Under no circumstances should the digital Christmas party take place without a clearly named moderator or, as we call him, “master of ceremonies”. Because: "You need someone who keeps an eye on the process and makes sure that there is always entertainment. I can't just go to the bar and hang out with a few colleagues when it gets boring."
Long text in a nutshell ... our balance sheet for the virtual Christmas party
Our appeal to all companies - the situation at the moment is anything but ideal, but still no reason to stick your head in the sand and cancel all social events. New situations require new approaches 😉
In any case, we all agree - it was absolutely unique and was great fun (including the preparations 😉). Personally, I would not have thought it possible to have a virtual chat with my colleagues and have fun until 2 a.m. ... but it did. The next day felt like after a "real" Christmas party. Thus "Mission completed". And yet - we all hope that physical Christmas celebrations will be possible again in 2021.
So what works for meetings and coffee breaks can also be great for the Christmas party.