As more and more professionals seek better work-life balance and more companies adopt flexible policies to accommodate a shifting workplace, the work from home option is becoming increasingly popular. This means that you can work when you feel most productive. For some people that’s in the morning, others prefer to work late into the night. You get to work in your own rhythm.
Recently, I was talking with a friend and the conversation turned to their upcoming office holiday party. It made me think about how working from home feels much different during the holiday season versus traditional offices that are filled with seasonal cheer and conversation.
As I thought about all the advantages I enjoy by having the flexibility to work from home, I realized that I missed the fun of working in an office around the holidays.
As cheesy as these employees look I really do miss the office holiday camaraderie and fun .
Seventy percent of remote workers already feel left out of the workplace, and that feeling comes to a head during the holiday season.
Ideally, your company should bite the bullet and shell out the cash to fly remote workers to your headquarters to attend the holiday party with their coworkers. You can even keep expenses down by combining the event with all-company trainings, meetings, or retreats. But bringing in all remote employees sometimes just isn’t feasible, especially as the number of them continues to climb.
For this reason, I wanted to provide some ideas on how your company can include remote workers in your holiday celebrations.
1. Create a holiday-themed group chat
Upgrade your usual group chats with festive prompts to boost lighthearted engagement, bringing remote and in-office employees together. Better yet, create a space in your intranet and encourage employees to share childhood holiday photos or pictures of them in ugly holiday sweaters. The trick is to not set a stiff, formal agenda for the chat. Instead, sit back and let employees enjoy this time with each other as a fun break from their routines.
2. Allow employees to host a regional holiday party
If several remote employees live near each other, sponsor a regional holiday party. Organizers should do their best to make the party as similar to the main soirée as possible, so remote employees feel just as valued as their in-office counterparts.
If regional parties aren’t possible, then bring the festivities to each remote employee. Organize and ship a party package with themed decorations and treats that match what the in-office employees will enjoy.
3. Arrange no-business virtual hangouts
Our team loves Google Hangouts for brainstorming sessions and weekly meetings, but how about using the platform as the name suggests—for actual hangouts?
Convert one of your weekly meetings into a theme, like a Best Holiday Costume competition, 30-second Christmas carol karaoke, or even Pajama Day when the group needs a non-festive pick-me-up. To get a little more face time, send an email invite for a meaningful holiday celebration—even if you can’t cheers in person.
4. Host a Secret Santa online gift exchange
This virtual tool is the perfect solution for remote teams who want to host a traditional office gift exchange. Elfster, an online gift swap organizer, simplifies the entire name-swapping process and includes features like wish lists, personalized recommendations, and charitable giving options. And it’s free. Wham bam thank you ma’am.
5. Swap holiday memes
The most wonderful time of the year deserves more than just one evening of recognition. Instant messaging can also be perfect channels for week-long holiday themed contests.
This idea encourages participation with little effort (or on-camera requirements) as employees are more likely to participate in a celebration that doesn’t deviate too much from normal schedules.
When everyone signs on, have them send their best GIF or meme related to the occasion you’re celebrating. Crown a winner each day and reward the person with a gift card.
Try to get the whole team involved in the fun. Is it really a holiday if you don’t send an Elf GIF to your co-workers? Or something referencing Clark Griswald’s holiday madness? Absolutely not!
You're the best, Sparky!
Remote workers value their ability to work from home. In fact, 84% agree that the ability to work remotely makes them happier. Most understand that missing out on certain office perks is just a part of the deal, but when it comes to specific acts of employee appreciation, especially those that coincide with calendar holidays, remote employees expect inclusion. Forgetting them during the holidays could be a critical mistake. So go on an try one of my suggestions. I guarantee your remote workers will feel the fa la la la love.
Tony Giudici is a Director of Market Development for Excelerate America, the ultimate resource for modern entrepreneurs and small business owners. How are you including remote employees in your holiday celebrations? Share your ideas with Tony at firstname.lastname@example.org.