Tis’ the season to wrap up year-end projects and get ready for a fresh new year’s start! After 12 months of hard work, your team wants and deserves to celebrate their success.
With companies increasingly accommodating hybrid teams (i.e. employees work both in-office and from home) it can make hosting a traditional, in-person holiday event challenging. So, we need to be creative in accommodating the entire team.
Here are suggestions as to how you can creatively pull off an inclusive year-end or holiday event for your hybrid team.
TLDR: This holiday season, find ways to include your entire team–remote or in-person–in a year-end celebration. Read on for tips on how to host a smooth hybrid holiday event for everyone.
Effectively Communicate Event Details ☎️
- To make the best experience for your team, send out a pre-event questionnaire to gather information from employees. Ask who’s going to attend in person and who will attend virtually. Consider details like food and drink preferences, plus-ones or family attendees, and favorite songs for the event playlist. Some great tools for creating, distributing, and analyzing questionnaires are Google Forms and Epoch’s survey feature.
- Invite your entire team. An invitation sent with enough notice might prompt those who don’t come into the office to make a special trip to the event.
- If you’re hosting an in-person event, make sure to include your remote team at some point through video chat. Good moments to schedule a video call would be for special announcements from leadership, like shout-outs, gifts and bonuses, new business, and plans for the new year. Send calendar invites to the entire team with a link for the call including instructions.
Be Inclusive to Everyone 🧑🏿🤝🧑🏽
- Avoid a religious-specific event, like a Christmas party. It’s important to be inclusive of all people’s cultures and beliefs, so consider a neutral theme like year-end, winter wonderland, or Happy New Year.
- With COVID-19 present in the world, some people don’t feel safe attending in-person events. Find ways to engage with these colleagues, whether it be a virtual visit or a gift sent to their homes.
- Plus-ones are always fun! But not everyone is in a relationship and may feel uncomfortable attending an event alone. Welcome friends and siblings, rather than just significant others on the invitation.
Create an Equitable Experience 🎁📦
- Whether employees attend in-person or virtually, ensure everyone has a similar, positive experience.
- If you’re giving gifts and serving food at the event, send holiday party swag to your remote staff as well! Put packages together and ship them yourself or use an online service, like SnackMagic and GiftaGram to help.
- Share a festive party atmosphere. If you’re going to play music at the office party, send the playlist to your remote staff so they can experience the same festive vibe. You can make playlists on a variety of sites like Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube.
Have Event Facilitators for Both Experiences 🤹
- To ensure your hybrid event stays on track, have two people leading the event; one in-person the other virtual.
- The onsite leader is responsible for facilitating a smooth in-person event, by directing check-ins that abide by COVID-19 protocols. They can also guide people where to put their personal items and where to go to get the party started.
- The virtual event facilitator ensures the online experience is running smoothly assisting with any technical difficulties that may arise. They should also monitor virtual conversations and make sure the remote team feels connected. This person can be stationed at the in-person event to capture the festivities on the online video call. Consider using Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Microsoft Teams for your party room.
- Make sure both facilitators are communicating throughout the event and on schedule for any speeches or key moments during the event.
Share Hybrid Event Highlights with Everyone 📷
- Capture special moments of your event to commemorate the festivities. Take videos and photos of both the in-person and virtual events, to share with the team.
- For the in-person party encourage everyone to take pictures with their smartphone. Set up a festive photo station with an instant camera as an activity for guests.
- Take screenshots of the virtual partygoers! Send out creative backgrounds to add color and flair to the pictures from sites like Canva. Or customize through services like Fiverr.
Through effective communication, inclusivity, ensuring an equitable experience, strong leadership, and commemoration, you can make your hybrid year-end event a success. Take advantage of the many virtual resources for planning and executing online events, like the Epoch app. Now get the party started!