One thing lost in the digital workplace is the traditional holiday party. But some companies are starting to host virtual parties.
The Atlantic looks into the phenomenon and finds it's more common than you might think.
Is a virtual holiday party awkward, though? Various videochat-holiday-party organizers I talked to insisted they weren’t. Instead, they said, they were seeing the parties help their teams cohere.
Virtual holiday parties have become something of a tradition at FlexJobs, a job-search website whose listings (and whose employees) are all remote. The company has, like Xerox, had a dress-up Halloween party, but in addition puts on virtual non-work gatherings with some regularity. For any employee who is game, there are virtual yoga sessions, virtual belly-dancing classes, virtual happy-hour trivia competitions, and virtual book-club meetings. Last month, a small group attended a virtual baby shower.
Another company that finds it completely natural to have virtual holiday parties is Toptal, which has hundreds of employees and no physical office.
Company founder Breandan Beneschott explains: "All of a sudden, half the people were dressed up as Santas and stuff, and the other people had Christmas lights around their desks, It ended up being a several-hour virtual Christmas party with everybody's videos turned on. You're talking and joking, and people are pouring champagne or eggnog, or whatever. It was awesome."
Now, Toptal’s holiday parties include drop-ins from employees’ spouses and even a Secret Santa gift exchange,
Life Meets Work offers some ideas for throwing virtual parties for your team.