2020 was a tough year to create fun, engaging team events, so we wanted to share our recent holiday party in hopes that it gives your team a few helpful ideas for your future celebrations.
Though our Remotish team has always worked remotely, we previously liked to celebrate our accomplishments in person once a quarter, with a larger celebration at the holidays such as a team weekend retreat. This year, amid Zoom fatigue by December and COVID gathering restrictions, a longer remote-event did not seem like an option the team would enjoy, so we planned a two-hour virtual celebration on a Friday afternoon.
Making a treat to eat together
We started our event by creating a sweet treat together: brigadeiros!
These Brazilian truffles are a mainstay for our celebrations and gifts, from our agency's Brazilian connections and our CEO's support of the local small business, Obrigaderia. Our U.S. team received a candy-making kit in the mail, while our international team members were sent a gift card and recipe to gather the ingredients.
Erika from Obrigadeiro led us though the steps of making brigadeiros on Zoom, though no cooking was required for our versions of the candy! She also taught us about the origins of the treat.
For virtual celebrations, we recommend sending your team a recipe to make together, or to make the event less work for your team members, send a meal kit when possible.
Collaborating on a silly team project
Next, as we enjoyed eating the treats we made, we worked together on a team Rap Mads Lib project, led by Nicole. We won't reveal the rap it created, but we do suggest taking time to do something silly together and involve the whole team in creating laughs!
Creating remote team photos & videos
Events are a great time to snap some fun Zoom gallery photos of the team! Make sure to give the team a heads up about being on camera and taking photos and videos, a few days before the event.
We recommend sending everyone a branded background to use as well as instructions on installing it, and don't forget to have a team Zoom dance party! For bonus points, walk your team through installing Snap Camera the day before the event for super fun and/or creepy effects.
Maybe someone on your team wants to curate the playlist for the photos/dance party time?
Keep the photo and video time short, maybe 15 minutes of the event, or break it into a few sections of the event for transitioning between the other sections of the event.
(James's computer does not like Zoom backgrounds but we thought it was funny to leave it on)
Showing appreciation with custom gifts
We sent our team gifts of appreciation and asked them not to open the boxes until the event, generating more anticipation and excitement. We like to support small businesses with personal connections, and this year's gift was a custom, personalized scent luxury candle from our former team member and referral partner Tanya's candle business!
Though the logistics of sending your remote team gifts and asking them not to open them until the event can be tricky, you may find small business owners willing to help you with shipping timing and other concerns. Or you could try a tool such as Postal.io to simplify gifting.
Speaking of gifs...have a gif exchange!
A stroke of brilliance from our founder, this year we had a GIF exchange for our team during our remote holiday team event.
We all loves using gifs on Slack so this fit in well with our Remotish culture!
In November, we chose random team member names via drawnames.com, then each of us created a gif personalized for the other team member.
We revealed these gifs during the event using screen share in Zoom and uploading to our event channel in Slack.
Here are the gifs we made! We added a little bit of context where needed.
Gifs James made for Nick, with Nick's face on them:
Gif Mariana made for Chiara, who has a lot of ideas, as shown in this gif :)
Gif Chiara made for Jen, the "Emoji-cian" of the team in Slack
Gif jen made for Kevin, remote working with his 4 dogs
Gif Kevin made for Leo, our tech support and gaming master!
Gif Nicole made for James, from our Q3 virtual team event photo:
Gif Leo made for Mariana using her photo:
Gif Nick made for Nicole, using Nicole's face, of Nicole's reaction to finishing/winning the HubSpot Hackathon award for our website theme submission to the Marketplace:
Hiring thoughtful virtual entertainment
The surprise entertainment for the event was "The Sales Rapper," Ding Zheng, who created an amazing customized rap about our team and company!
As you may have guessed by having two rap-related sections of our event, we have some music creators & fans on the team. :)
Ding also free-style rapped based on words we entered into the Zoom chat, which was very impressive as well!
Check out Ding's amazing work here, we highly recommend hiring him!
Giving an award
We have an annual Star Award we give during the holiday event, awarded to the team member who has demonstrated our company values the most during the year:
- Being a valuable resource
- Being efficient troubleshooters
- Being workers with heart
This year's award winner was Chiara Burns, Digital Project Strategist!
Congrats, Chiara! Thank you for all your hard work this year!
Dancing it out
We mentioned a dance party before and will add it here again, a dance is a great way to end the event on a high note! Record the dance for your internal team's Slack enjoyment in the future.
Sharing all the photos, screenshots, and videos on your company Slack after the event is a great way to continue the momentum of fun and appreciation!
We hope you enjoyed reading about our remote team holiday event and that you've been inspired to create a fun event for your team next year!
Happy holidays from our team!