Uncertainty amongst UK businesses is ever growing when it comes to celebrating this year’s Christmas party. As we face ourselves at the halfway point of lockdown 2.0, many businesses are having to make decisions based on predictions and whispers about what things will look like post-lockdown.

According to recent research carried out by MoneyPenny, 30% of UK office workers will not have a Christmas party this year, with other businesses opting to run other traditional festive activities such as “Secret Santa” remotely. However, if you are one of many businesses across the UK still undecided about how to celebrate Christmas with your colleagues, Jonny Edser, Director at virtual events company Wildgoose, details why this is an important factor to consider to ensure your team morale stays high during the festive season.

“Employees across the UK are fed up of perching at kitchen tables or shutting themselves in the spare room, and are yearning for the office atmosphere and the company of co-workers”.

“Any business which has a truly unique working culture isn’t bound by the location of the office. Brilliant workplace cultures exist because people have had the chance to bond away from their desks, and these connections feed back into the work that they do as teams. This means that remote employee engagement isn’t just about checking in on a video call as many times as possible per day. It’s about recreating those unique experiences at home”.

For businesses looking to recreate a unique experience at home this Christmas for their employees, Jonny Edser highlights the 10 ways you can bond and have fun with your fellow employees this year.

Festive trivia

So many companies are offering virtual parties this year – it’s just about selecting the one that’s right for you and your business. If you’re looking for activities for a larger group of people with eclectic interests then choosing a quiz package that features different rounds could be worth exploring. This year, Wildgoose have created the virtual work Christmas social, which includes three different rounds, from festive trivia questions, to famous soundtracks and Christmas movies. This might be one occasion that the distance between players might be a good thing – we all know how heated Christmas quizzes can get! You and your team will work against the clock to secure extra bonus points. This is an option for larger companies as the package can accommodate up to 250 people.

Christmas cocktail making

Christmas parties will traditionally include work drinks with your colleagues. To continue this trend and add a festive element to your activities you could look to arrange a virtual festive cocktail making class with your team. This year there are an array of companies who are introducing christmas cocktail recipes you can make with your team, featuring concoctions such as ‘Festive Sours, Christmas Creams and Christmas Baubles’. You can even look to include extra features such as snacks and sweet bags which make a thoughtful finishing touch.

Dance workshops

Christmas parties wouldn’t be complete without dancing and this year should be no exception. Businesses across the country are getting creative and are offering people the chance to dance the night away in a Christmas themed, fully festive, virtual dance workshops. Packages range from an hour-long or 30-minute session so you can dance to Christmas hits with your colleagues in a very tongue-in-cheek activity. So, you think you can dance?

Wine tasting

If you’re looking for a more elegant and sophisticated way to spend your Christmas party this year, then virtual wine tastings could be the perfect option. Many companies are offering wine tastings that can be adapted for small, intimate and virtual get-togethers with your colleagues. If you like the idea of wine tasting for your Christmas party but need to accommodate a larger team, then purchasing a selection of wines individually from your local stockist to support local businesses could give you the flexibility to lead the wine tasting from guides already accessible online.

Craft events

Whether you’re decorating gingerbread houses, making your very own Christmas garland or Christmas cracker origami, craft making can be a memorable experience for both you and the team, who will be able to make a tangible item and keepsake for future Christmases. Receiving a kit directly to your home can be a fun way to interact with your team virtually so that you’re making mistakes and learning together. However, following a specialist or leader will help you learn new skills, and you will be able to structure the class so you’re all learning at the same time.

Dinner party

If you aren’t looking to stray too far from the norm then hosting a virtual dinner party can be the best way to engage with your teammates. Working from home or working remotely can mean that frequent office conversations have dwindled because of increased online communications that revolve only around work. Organising a Christmas dinner party can mean colleagues catch up with one another on a personal level. Businesses can explore a variety of options where everyone can eat together. Ordering food from local restaurants who are offering a takeaway service is a good way to support local businesses, or you can order employees a festive hamper from your local business or supermarket so that everyone receives the same festive treats and goods.

Baking classes

The festive period provides everyone with the opportunity to unwind, catch up with friends and family and actively pursue interests they enjoy the most. Baking and cooking are both popular activities people like to do in their spare time, and what better way to do this than learn from a professional with your colleagues before you break for your holidays? Whether you’re looking to make Christmas cookies or a full Christmas menu, filled with festive favourites such as mince pies, gingerbread men and mulled wine, participating in a virtual cookalong can be a great way to get into the festive spirit.

Christmas awards

A virtual awards ceremony is the perfect way to show appreciation and recognition to your employees. Creating an award for each individual and doing a mini presentation is a great way of bringing everyone together safely as well as celebrating individual achievements. Medals or trophies can be customised prior to your Christmas party and sent to your colleagues’ houses within a box labelled ‘Do Not Open’ before a certain date. Activities such as these are personal to your business and can bring a real sense of familiarity and solidarity to your team after what has been an unprecedented year.

Themed party

Whether you want to don your festive jumpers or hold anything from an Apres-Ski Party to a 90s themed party, doing this virtually avoids all of the embarrassment associated with wearing these clothes on your traditional pub crawl. Additionally, choosing activities to meet a theme can be easier to implement. A 90s theme could encompass a karaoke element whereas an Apres-Ski Party could include making indulgent cocktails, drinking games and a virtual roaring fireplace.

It’s safe to say that in years gone by we’ve taken traditional Christmas party organising for granted, but although it may seem trickier this year to plan your office Christmas party, there are plenty of ways you can get creative as a business and show your employees a good time.

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.