Zoom Christmas party: a how to

Zoom Christmas party: a how to

In his recent blog, David wrote about what employees are really looking for right now as we enter the festive season. We’re all still navigating our way through the pandemic, lockdowns and social distancing rules, with many businesses keeping their offices closed so that millions of us around world are still working from home. It would, therefore, be tempting to simply write off any sort of team day and cancel the annual Christmas party.

But as numerous studies and statistics show, 75 percent of employees in the United States and close to a third in the Asia-Pacific region report having symptoms of burnout. Furthermore, European nations are reporting increasing levels of pandemic fatigue in their populations and many people have experienced sustained anxiety about jobs, health, family and friends. So in my mind, abandoning the opportunity to come together as a team to connect and have some fun is not an option. As David wrote, it is essential that we show our teams just how grateful we are for their hard work and for navigating through these tough times with us.

So how to pull off a Christmas team day and party, entirely via Zoom, that still hits the mark? Here’s what we learnt when arranging NKD’s team day and Christmas party:

1. Stay true to your brand and its values

A big part of our culture at NKD is giving back. We support several charities throughout the year and one of our main activities during our annual Christmas team day is working in the community and supporting those in need, so that had to remain as part of our day.

We are a group of people that genuinely care about one another and enjoy chatting and spending time together, so it was vital that we remained connected.

2. Recognise the things you might need to do a little differently 

We realised that helping out at homeless shelters or shaking donation buckets for charity outside stations wasn’t an option this year, and actually when we got in touch with them the charities told us that what they really needed this year was money. So as much as we usually enjoy getting stuck in, we realised that a simple donation is what was really going to help the most.

We’re really not advocates for long presentations and ‘death-by-powerpoint’ at the best of times and with many of us spending eight hours or more in front of our laptops at the moment, the last thing anyone wants to do is to sit through presentations during a virtual team day, no matter how great and positive the message. So instead of our usual celebratory look back of what we have achieved this year, we designed a more interactive team-based activity that helped us to do that instead.

We also obviously couldn’t rent a bar or hire a restaurant for our party, so we had to think about what other Christmas entertainment we could put on virtually for the team. Oh no we didn’t! Oh yes we did! We decided on a well-loved British Christmas tradition and arranged for a bespoke NKD panto which the team could watch and take part in from home – complete with villains, heroes and of course a dame!

3. Find a way to do the things you would have done in person

This might sound easier said than done, but with some creative thinking, it really is possible. We love working together and getting creative, whether it is packing hampers for charities or creating artwork for the office (both things that we have done in the past). That might not have been possible this year, but there really were so many options to choose from online. We went with a private wreath-making session led by a professional florist. Everyone received their kit full of everything they needed to make their wreaths, meaning we could all share the experience from the comfort of our own homes and watch each other getting our hands messy over Zoom!  

Whilst we might not have been able to dine out, this did not stop us having food and drinks together. To kick off the day, breakfast and lunch was delivered by a small independent London-based caterer, who was incredible at arranging couriers to each of our team’s homes. Cleverly packaged cocktails were sent in the post, and dinner was courtesy of a caterer who donated one meal to a homeless charity for every meal that we ordered. During dinner we split off into smaller ‘tables’, (a.k.a. Zoom breakout rooms) so that we could chat in smaller groups, switching rooms for each course so we could all mingle together.

Was this all a little more complex to arrange than usual? Admittedly, yes. Did it cost more than our usual Christmas team day and party? Surprisingly, no. Was it worth it? Absolutely! For one day and evening we downed tools and turned off our emails. We shed a tear at the charity’s stories, we celebrated everything we have achieved this year, we got creative, we chatted and connected, and most of all we had fun, together. 

Find out more about our day with Derek’s blog here and if you want help arranging your next team event then do get in touch – we’d love to chat to you about it.