VR headsets & magic shows | Wildest plans for staff Xmas parties

Wildest plans for staff Xmas parties

While work Christmas parties may be looking a little different this year in light of the pandemic, many employers and HR departments are still thinking about how they can virtually spread some festive cheer.

In fact, recent research from Hire Space found that almost nine in ten (89%) UK employers are seeking out virtual merriment this year in the place of a traditional Xmas knees-up.

As such, employers are coming up with creative ways to spread festive cheer and allow employees to enjoy some form of work Christmas celebrations, even if they may be virtual.

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With the festive season now upon us, HR Grapevine has collated a list of five ways that employers are planning to celebrate virtually with their teams this year.

Read on to find out more.

Virtual-reality headsets

Since working from home amid the coronavirus crisis, research from Vodafone found that 41% of workers are missing the office banter and spending time with work colleagues (40%).

To help employees “see” one another while celebrating at work this Christmas, one tech firm is sending out virtual reality (VR) headsets to its staff members.

While IT consulting firm Velocity Smart would traditionally host a party for its 11-strong workforce, the Guardian reported that staff will be sent VR headsets so that they can participate in a paintballing session together this year.

VIP appearances

With a large portion of staff working remotely amid the COVID-19 crisis – and relying on technology to stay connected – it is possible for employees to communicate with virtually anyone.

In fact, some employees may even see an appearance from some star icons this year.

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For example, the Guardian reported that digital banking firm Monzo is organising two live-streamed magic shows with award-winning magician Fergus Flanagan.

Elsewhere, the banking giant HSBC is treating UK staff to a festive cook along with the Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw.

Crafting events

With most employees attending festive celebrations from the comfort of their own homes this year, some firms may look to host virtual crafting events for staff to attend.

Whether this is decorating gingerbread houses, making Christmas garlands, or creating any other tangible items that employees can keep, staff can be sent creative kits straight to their door.

This can be a good way to boost colleague relationships and increase engagement.

Company talent shows

Christmas is a time for celebrating with work colleagues, families and loved ones.

To bring staff members and their families together virtually, the Manchester-based events firm Clear is working on a talent show for one organisation.

The Guardian reported that staff will be able to put themselves forwards and showcase their talents while those watching remotely can vote for their favourite act via the app.

Festive virtual party

While the office Christmas party won’t be able to go ahead in its usual form this year, employers could host virtual festive jumper parties or themed events to get teams involved.

Whether this is a Christmas themed party or an 80s themed event, there are many different party themes that employers could look into and host over videoconferencing platforms.

HR expert weighs in

While the Christmas period is looking a little different this year in light of the pandemic, there are many ways that employers and HR departments can get the workforce together to celebrate at the end of the year.

This is supported by Morna Dason-Barber, HR Director for the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), who previously told HR Grapevine that there have been lots of “great examples” of end-of-year parties “which can still provide a mechanism for people to engage and connect with each other”.

She added: “Virtual events can also be enjoyed by a wider, global audience and are far more inclusive that way.”

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