Fun at work

Fun at work – virtual team building and Christmas party ideas

The pandemic has left many teams struggling to cope with virtual working and the idea of being able to have a Christmas party together may feel like a distant dream. Don’t worry though! The list below is crammed full with innovative and fun activities to try out for virtual team building events, or throwing a virtual Christmas party.

Whilst nothing can beat the atmosphere of an in-person celebration, the traditional Christmas party scene isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and many people shiver with dread at the idea of taking part in typical in-person team building activities. This is where being virtual may provide an opportunity to be more inclusive and fun, with your colleagues able to attend from the comfort of their own homes.

There are a few things to consider when deciding on the type of party you want to throw.  Do you want it to be a completely organised event with an external facilitator?  Or would an informal setup suit the team better? – perhaps a charismatic team leader would be happy to be Master of Ceremonies for the evening?!  Size of the party needs to be thought about – very large gatherings are sometimes difficult in the online arena, so several smaller parties may work better.  Do you wish to introduce a competitive element or promote a feel-good bonding experience? Would you like to link it to a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative?

With businesses this year struggling to maintain their traditional ways of operating, many have turned to providing services virtually, and this means that there is now an incredible choice of virtual team building and Christmas party activities available

Whether you’re part of the HR team and have been tasked with helping boost morale and team bonding, or you’re a manager or senior leader looking for ideas for virtual team building or Christmas party ideas, take a look through the list below and choose the one that’s best for your team or business. If you decide to try one out, I’d love to know how it goes.

Team Games / Interactive Fun

Design an Animal Enrichment Experience

Team Building with Bite is run by animal experts Mark Kingston Jones and Chris Hales. The company specialises in running team building activities to create amazing devices that enrich animals’ lives. Work in a small team to design your idea to improve a certain species experience of living in their sanctuary or rescue centre.

Each team then pitches its design idea to the wider group. The winning team gets to see their design created in real life, bringing joy to the animals’ lives. This is the perfect option for teams that are drawn to the idea of doing something meaningful that is also fun.

Prices start at £370 for a team of 20 (£18.50 per person)

Picture of Zebra with special feeder

Quiz Night

Professional actor Jez Worsnip set up The Quiz Team in 2007. It’s gone on to have huge success, with many organisations booking his team to run regular quizzes for them. Arrange to have your own fun virtual quiz hosted online by your very own Quizmaster, or buy a quiz pack and run your own one. Choose your theme – pub quiz, music or trivia.

Prices start from £6.59 (for your own quiz pack)

Strategy Game

Hosted live-action, strategy and role-playing game with the aim to dominate the world. Players are divided into teams, each representing a different country. Choose to invest in the environment, cities, shields or nuclear weapons. As the game plays out over two hours, you will need to create alliances with countries, boost your economy and the living standards of your cities. The hosts of your game from Tulleys Escape Rooms & Games act as representatives from the UN. They’ll facilitate your discussions and oversee the decisions you make.

Prices start from £12.80 per player (depending on number of players)

Pose Party / Interactive Photo Booth

When I emailed Pose Party founder, Adam Kemeney to ask him more about the game, he kindly gave me a trial run himself. You can watch me laughing my head off as I tried it out in the video, ‘A Quick Look At Pose Party’.

Groups of players compete to pull the best poses over a series of rounds, scoring each other and improvising with props before the ultimate winner is revealed. At the end of the game, you can access and keep the gallery of photos from the game.

Pricing starts at £300 + VAT for up to 30 people (the price then increases according to the size of the group).

Pose Party

Murder Mystery

Enjoy the suspense and hilarity of an interactive murder mystery party hosted by Two Kings Events. Choose from a selection of murder mystery stories including ‘Murder at the Manor’ and ‘Murder on the Hollywood Line’, or have a bespoke event created for you if you have something special in mind. Enjoy hearing each character’s background and alibi as professional actors in full period costumes try to convince you that they aren’t the murderer. Group together with your colleagues in teams, using your best detective skills to solve the murder mystery.

Prices start from £220 for a one-actor event.

Escape Room

Everyone must work together to find the clues and solve the puzzles to make it out in time before the room is locked. Choose from Escape Team Events’ huge range of games, including ‘Moriarty – the last stand’, ‘Peaky Blinders – the raid’ and ‘Shakespeare’s Script’ for smaller team sizes, or opt to play the games on a larger scale, opening up different game options.

Enquire for prices

Live Entertainment

Magician

Laughter, fun and amazement with an interactive online magic show via Zoom.  See things disappear from one house and appear in another! Theo has a Zooming Magic way of bringing your team or department together. It doesn’t matter where you are in the country or the world. His Zoom Show will enable you all to have fun together, lifting spirits and even teaching you a trick or two.

Theo The Magician is a local legend in my area, renowned for his incredible tricks, engaging manner and extensive charity work.

Prices start from £150 per group

Theo the magician

Comedian

Nothing brings people together like a good joke. Speakers Corner has a host of comedians on their books, all looking forward to the opportunity of entertaining you and your colleagues with their online routines. Beam one of them into your homes via video calling. Ask one of their comedians to provide an interactive, personalised and funny show for you all.

Contact them for pricing

Karaoke

As well as their in-person venues in London and Brighton, Lucky Voice has launched a karaoke app; allowing you to sing your heart out with your colleagues. All you need to do is download the app and sing to each other over Zoom (or whichever video calling software you prefer).

Their blog has some great ideas for making the event as fun as possible. Why not give their Eurovision Song Contest idea a try, with each team representing a different country and knockout rounds involved?

Check the website for current prices

Food & Drink

Wine & Cheese Tasting

A fantastic opportunity to sample the wide array of cheeses available from Cheese at Leadenhall, a quaint independent speciality cheesemonger tucked away in London’s picturesque Leadenhall Market. Transport the experience of sampling their cheeses from their premises to your colleagues’ homes. Taster boxes will be sent out containing a range of artisan British and European cheeses, along with matched half bottles of wine.

The Director of Cheese at Leadenhall and World Cheese Award judge will guide you through the tasting via Zoom.

Prices start from £35 per person.

wine tasting

Wine Tasting

A lesson in how to swirl, sniff and taste via Zoom with Wine Unearthed.  Wines are sent out in advance through the post with instructions on chilling and how to open. Chose whether to have a 1 hour or 1.5/2 hour wine tasting session, hosted by a wine expert.

Prices start from £49 (per person) for a one-hour session with 3 wines, and from £78 (per person) for a 1.5-2-hour session with 6 wines.

Cheese Tasting

With over 200 years of heritage, two royal warrants and a commitment to supporting smaller British cheesemakers and producers to encourage a sustainable dairy industry, the team at Paxton and Whitfield can share the stories behind their cheeses with you, as well as guiding you through a range of delicious options. Online tutored tastings are conducted by a resident expert Cheesemonger. Events can be tailored around a theme and may be paired with other delights and a quiz.

Prices on application.

Cocktail Masterclass

Mixology Events have taken their award-winning cocktail making classes online. Guests receive a handcrafted box containing everything needed (including professional equipment) in advance of the class.

You will all get to take part in a fun and interactive masterclass. The entertaining and expert sessions are held on Zoom and broadcast live from their flagship venue on Kingsland Road in London.

Prices start from £70 per person.

cocktail

Cooking &  Sharing a Meal

A virtual cookalong, making a meal with pre-delivered ingredients, then enjoy the meal together.  The Corporate Cookaway offers a choice of world cuisines and is able to cater for all dietary requirements are catered for. This is the perfect option if you like the idea of having good and entertainment rolled into one.

Contact The Corporate Cookaway for prices.

Party In A Box

A three-course decadent dinner or grazing board consisting of cheese and charcuterie, accompanied by drinks and party novelties brought to you by Smart Parties.  Streamed entertainment and a live broadcast from the CEO or Host for the evening.

Priced at £79 + VAT per person.

Creative

Candle Making

I’ve personally attended one of Yougi Botanicals candle making workshops, run by the company’s founder, Emily Lynam. A friend discovered her virtual classes during the first lockdown period in the UK and convinced me and one of our other friends to give it a try. We all had a fantastic time, creating our own beautifully scented, eco-friendly and organic candles.

A 1-hour workshop will walk you and your colleagues through heating the wax, blending the oil, setting the wick, and finish by pouring the candle.  You also learn about the benefits and healing properties of essential oils.  Kits are sent out ahead of the workshop.

Prices start from £38 per person (depending on the number of people attending the online workshop).

Yougi Botanicals

Wreath Making

Get in the festive spirit with the virtual wreath making workshop run by Jar and Fern. Guests will receive a kit with everything they need to create a beautiful hanging wreath.  The workshop takes place via a 1-hour interactive Zoom session and consists of a live demonstration along with time for Q&As.

Prices are £50 per person + VAT, with discounts available for large groups.

Biscuit Icing

Biscuiteers run the brilliantly named ‘Virtual School of Icing’. Arrange an icing class for you and your colleagues, where a talented Biscuiteer will share tips and tricks used by the professionals via Zoom.  At the end of the class, you’ll all have your own personal collection of biscuits hand-iced by yourselves, in a beautifully illustrated Biscuiteers tin.

Contact the bespoke team directly for packages and prices.

Painting (& Bubbles)

A painting and prosecco experience from Brush and Bubbles.  Bespoke art kits are sent out, which include all the art equipment needed for the workshop, a bubbly drink and an artist’s beret.  Painters will join virtually and follow a pre-recorded step by step guide to creating a masterpiece.

Group your colleagues into their teams and get them to call each other via Zoom, so that they can paint along and chat together.

Enquire for prices.

Brush and Bubbles

Christmas Decoration Making

The Crafty Hen has a whole range of fabric, ceramic and felt decoration options to choose from.  Everything needed is sent out in advance of the online workshops which typically last around 2.5 hours. Your friendly workshop leader will host your interactive workshop online, guiding you through each step, showing examples and top tips along the way, whilst you all chat away and compare makes together.

Costs vary according to the number of people participating and the craft activity chosen.

Final Words

So, what do you think? Are you going to give any of the options above a try for your virtual team building event, or virtual Christmas party? If you do, or you find something else that you think should be included on the list, let me know. I’d love to hear how it goes.

About

Fay Wallis is a Career Coach and Executive Coach with a background in HR and Recruitment. She is the founder of Bright Sky Career Coaching, where she helps organisations with outplacement support and coaching.

Fay knows how tough working in HR can be when the organisation looks to you to take the lead on redundancies and restructures, or to grow and develop employees and support the senior leadership team. She’s created the HR Coffee Time newsletter, to share her free tips and resources on helping you navigate the challenges of your role and support the organisation you work for.  Sign up below to receive it every other week.