Let’s be clear, in an ideal world you wouldn’t be holding a staff Christmas party on Zoom. Literally nobody would choose this. We all want to be in a nice bar somewhere, sipping something cold and fizzy and embracing a general feeling of festive conviviality at somebody else’s expense. But this is 2020, and normal rules do not apply.

That doesn’t mean there are NO rules, however, because that way chaos and anarchy lies. Here’s the BrandPointZero guide to hosting a virtual office Christmas party that won’t leave everyone feeling like that’s two hours of their life they’re never getting back.

  1. Consider not doing it at all. If you’d usually spend £50 or £100 a head on a festive bash, think about whether your team would actually prefer delivery of a lovely gift or a voucher instead, in lieu of an online party. Don’t take it personally. It’s not you, it’s Zoom.
  2. If you do decide to host a party online, do it in teams. That’s teams, not Teams. Any more than 15-20 people on a video call is more Zoo than Zoom, so break it down into groups who actually know each other and want to hang out.
  3. Focus on the bits of the Christmas party that people actually like. SPOILER ALERT: it’s not the inane small talk or the boss’s motivational end-of year speech, so keep those bits short and sweet. What people want is free food and drink and the opportunity to get together and do something fun. This isn’t easy with a remote team, but it’s also not impossible.
  4. Have some delivered to your employees homes (including something classy for the non-drinkers, there are loads of great options around), then organise an activity that gets everyone involved.
  5. Hire a band or a DJ, then invite your staff to plug in their headphones and have a silent disco in their kitchen/living room/bedroom. Or someone crafty to run a workshop to make something festive. Hire a professional quizmaster to host a quiz that has something for everyone. Or a comedian to host an awards ceremony with lots of quirky categories. There are loads of people who do all these things, and most of them have very little work right now. Give them your money and let them help you deliver a Christmas party to remember.
  6. Embrace the madness of it all. If you’ve made it to December and you still have a team to attend an online staff Christmas party, you’re doing OK. However you decide to celebrate, make sure it’s packed with ‘thank yous’ and feels like a huge, HR-approved hug.

What are your plans and tips for this year? We’d love to hear them!