Diversity & Inclusion HR Essentials Culture

‘Tis the Season to Celebrate— Safely & Virtually

December 15, 2020

Eight ways to Spread Some Joy With Colleagues This Holiday Season

It’s that time of the year when you and your teams get ready for the holidays and all the celebrations that follow, but this year may look different due to the pandemic. In-person gatherings are restricted, and many companies are either completely virtual or limiting personal contact. You, like many around you, have had to reduce your social interactions dramatically and rely on video conferencing and virtual communications. So, what can you do to reward your employees, foster camaraderie, and celebrate them as the year comes to an end? Keep your plans and continue your festivities. It can just look a little different this year.

Consider some virtual interactions a bit outside of the normal Zoom/Microsoft Teams video meetings. Remember that not everyone celebrates a holiday at this time of year and take this opportunity to be inclusive.


Here are some ideas for potential party alternatives. First consider a few details:

  • Do you usually include family members, significant others, or do you usually just include your employees?
  • What has been your turnout for group events and holiday parties? If you haven’t always gotten most of your employees to attend, how can you make sure to engage employees who may be feeling burned out or disenfranchised?
  • What’s your budget?
  • What has been the way your employees have been interacting over the last 8 months? Has it been working?
  • How many time zones is your workforce spread over and if you have them within the U.S., do you want to have regional get-togethers, or one gathering for everyone?
  • Would you have the party during business hours or evening/weekend?


Virtual Celebration Ideas:

Here are some ideas that we think may work in lieu of the traditional “holiday party” this year:

  • Provide a charitable donation to a charity of your employees’ choice.
  • Virtual Secret Santa–– you could keep the tradition alive and hold a virtual Secret Santa.
  • Virtual Scavenger Hunt
  • Host a virtual happy hour encouraging your team to bring their significant other, kids and pets.
  • Awards ceremony- everyone gets a specialized award. Get your employees involved in voting, some examples of the awards could be “Morale Booster Superstar”, “Creative Mastermind”, “Team Builder Extraordinaire”, “Master of Fun”, etc.
  • Hold a video call karaoke
  • Send your employees ingredients and do a cooking master class, ship a box of craft materials and have someone (potentially a professional) lead the event
  • Virtual photo booth- Mail/ship funny accessories and use the Zoom/Teams photo capture feature to memorialize the fun
  • Nobody gets tired of “trivia.” Hold a company trivia and get your team pumped. “Trivia/Quiz” and other types of games.

Considering that your employees may be feeling “video call” burnout, it may make sense for your team to do a small gesture this December and plan another holiday party, maybe in summer 2021.

You could bring the year to an end with a short, hand-written note from the CEO mailed to your employees’ homes. It is a thoughtful and personal touch that your employees are bound to remember for years to come. 

This communication is for informational purposes only; it is not legal, tax or accounting advice; and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance.

This post may contain hyperlinks to websites operated by parties other than TriNet. Such hyperlinks are provided for reference only. TriNet does not control such websites and is not responsible for their content. Inclusion of such hyperlinks on TriNet.com does not necessarily imply any endorsement of the material on such websites or association with their operators.

By Lynne Vu

Principal Human Capital Business Partner, TriNet

By Kristin Russum

Director, Talent & Org Management - HR Strategy, TriNet

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