The holidays are upon us; however, I think we can all agree that they may look just a tad different from last year. With this whirlwind of a year, many of us have gone remote and been forced to transfer most, if not all, interactions, both personal and professional, to a virtual setting.
Although most of us seem to live on virtual calls and may be Zoom’d out by now, this doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun and bring this traditionally in-person holiday energy to our now-digital workplace. Here are a few ideas on how to sprinkle extra holiday cheer into your virtual meetings this season.
Zoom Background Roulette
By now, you may have either figured out or seen from colleagues that Zoom allows you to virtually teleport and take meetings from wherever you want when you change your Zoom background. While the coffee shops, Blues Clues house, and the more 2020-appropriate flames from the “This is fine” dog meme are amusing on the daily, to make this more fun for the whole team, you can turn it into a holiday game. Have everyone change their background to some sort of holiday scenery at the beginning of your next meeting, and then pull out a holiday-related word from a cup. Those that have the word represented in their background, win a small prize.
Calling All Cooks to the Kitchen
Whoever first stated that “food is the way to the heart” was onto something because the best part about the holidays, at least in my opinion, is the food. While we can’t necessarily meet at the office to discuss our upcoming plans or brag about our “famous” green bean casserole that we plan on making this year (as we do every year), what we can do is swap recipes virtually.
Plan to spend the first 10-15 minutes of your next meeting having a few teammates, or even the entire team depending on its size, share their favorite holiday recipe and a quick memory about their dish with the team. For larger teams, you may want to space this out over the course of a few meetings. Ultimately, once everyone presents, create a shared document that everyone can contribute their recipe to. And BOOM, you now have a shared “cookbook” full of all of your team’s favorite holiday dishes that you may want to try out at your next family gathering. Take that, Chrissy Teigan!
Holiday Buzzword Bingo
I’d like to give a quick nod to my past life as an SDR and how we brought some holiday fun to our cold calls with buzzword bingo. Essentially, we were given a bingo sheet with festive words and phrases on each square, and as we would make our calls, attempting to incorporate these words into each conversation, we would cross off the sheet until someone reached bingo. But let’s take this up a notch. Imagine a holiday-themed bingo sheet at your next team meeting and challenging your colleagues to discuss their “jolly” upcoming client initiatives that even the “Grinch” would love. Depending on the difficulty of your buzzwords, it may add a few extra minutes to your meeting, but it’ll be sure to keep your teammates on their toes and using their creativity. Perhaps the first to finish can even win a small gift card, swag item, or even simple bragging rights.
Flannel Friday? More like Festive Friday!
Forget Flannel Friday, and say hello to Festive Friday, or Winter Wednesday, or whatever variation you want to make of it. Bring out the ugly sweaters, the antler headbands, the jingle bells, and as a team, choose either a day of the week or a specific meeting during that day to show off the best wardrobe your holiday storage bin has to offer. Get creative, hold contests, maybe even get a matching holiday sweater for your entire team to wear during your weekly team meetings. Regardless of what you do, bring some of that festive holiday cheer that’s likely adorning your home right now into the Zoom room…even if it means taking your next video call with a giant inflatable snowman in the background.
Rockin’ Round Robin
Aside from the food and festivities, the holidays are meant for celebrating and spending time with friends, family, and coworkers alike. We all come from unique backgrounds and traditions, and this season in particular gives us all a great opportunity to learn about one another. Consider holding a quick Round Robin session for the first 10-15 minutes of your next team meeting to better get to know your teammates and their backgrounds. Have a few individuals or the whole team (again, depending on size) share their favorite memories, childhood traditions, new traditions they’ve created, what the holidays mean for them, etc. Not only will this allow individuals to share a personal story, but it will also kick off your meeting on a positive note and even shed some holiday inspiration onto others.
This year has been hard enough on us all, and while we’re working to finish strong, we need to remember that we’re also entering the time of year where employees mentally begin to check out of work and focus on personal time. With that being said, it’s important for leaders to balance bringing fun into the workday while also maintaining a positive employee experience in this primarily virtual workplace. A few festive additions here and there, even something as simple as having employees share a personal holiday story, can go a long way with holding onto their engagement and amplifying the holiday spirit during such a busy time of year.