Many of us look forward to the quality time we’ll spend with our friends, family, and coworkers over the holidays. However, when our workmates live on the other side of the world, it can be hard to stay engaged with winter festivities. Employers should do their part to connect their staff.

How to Make Remote Teams Feel Included Over the Holidays

While some employers may feel that holiday parties are important, it’s a mistake not to have one

To bring your remote teams together over the holidays, be sure to do the following.

virtual holiday party

Photo by Surface on Unsplash

Host a Virtual Holiday Party

In-person holiday parties are often the highlight of the season for employees and an essential part of a company’s culture. While you won’t be able to see everyone in person, you can host a virtual holiday party on a room-based video conferencing platform, like Zoom Breakout Rooms.

To make your party extra special, encourage people to dress up, send workers a DoorDash gift card for food, and host a trivia night or present a few awards. If you’ve hired many international workers, make sure everyone’s holiday is represented via a special cultural meal or present.

Run a Fun Holiday Contest

Contests and game nights never have to be a one-and-done deal, but it’s fun to theme them throughout the season. For example, you can use employee recognition software, like Mo, to create custom rewards, such as a “free Christmas tree” for the top product seller of the day.

Scavenger hunts are another great idea during the holidays, as there are so many creative ways to find holiday-related items in most countries. You could make a list of things that your employees can cross off if they send a picture of said item, such as a “string of holiday lights.”

Participate in a Gift Exchange

Gift exchanges are an essential part of any holiday party. Fortunately, gift exchanges are easy to do remotely, especially when you use online gift exchange services like Elfster. This service allows you to make wish lists, share gift ideas, and pair off coworkers for remote Secret Santa. 

Keep in mind that gift exchanges can stress employees out, so it’s in your best interest to make them optional. You can also reduce FOMO by setting a low dollar amount cap for the gifts that can be exchanged. For example, a $20 gift cap is more manageable than a $50 or $100 cap.

Create a Cookie Swap

If you have a big international team and you want to create a tradition that everyone can enjoy, consider starting a cookie swap. A cookie swap is exactly what it sounds like. Workers will bake a batch of cookies and send it to their cookie swap partner in exchange for their own batch.

To get the ball rolling, collect everyone’s name, address, and allergy or dietary concerns and send the list to everyone who wants to participate. Or, cookie swap participants could deliver a batch of cookies from their partner’s local bakery, which ensures their cookies are really fresh.

Make a Holiday Channel

Remote employees miss out on the face-to-face interaction that they otherwise would have had in the office. If you’ve already created a casual discussion channel for your employees on Slack, then you’re investing in a more human remote working experience, but you can always do more. 

Create a separate holiday channel that encourages employees to share holiday pictures, family traditions, activity ideas, recipes, and playlists. You’ll be surprised how many people are eager to share their lives and connect with their coworkers. After all, the holidays bring us together!