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5 Creative Ways to Kick Off New Year with a Hybrid Workforce

It is no secret that COVID-19 changed the way businesses work, expediting and prioritizing remote work options. As things begin to shift to the new normal, many employees want to retain flexible work arrangements.

Sixty-five percent of workers prefer to work remotely full-time and 32 percent would like a hybrid work environment. Additionally, 57 percent stated they would leave their employer if flexible work options were not available.

As many businesses adopt a hybrid approach, here are some creative ways to kick off the New Year with your blend of remote and in-office employees.

1. Host an Awards Show 

An awards show allows for both remote and onsite employees to participate. Create fun, light-hearted awards for your employees to win. If you have the budget, perhaps something that comes with the award like a gift card or an extra day of PTO. Have employees vote before the awards show.

Some award ideas might include:

  • Best Virtual Background
  • Best Pet Disrupter During Meetings
  • The Project Management Boss
  • Distinguished Hybrid Worker
  • The Serial Emailer
  • Designated Troubleshooter
  • The Jack of All Trades Award

For the office, your decorations and festivities might include a red carpet where you can have an employee interview other employees as they enter the building. They can ask questions like, “Who are you most excited to see today?” or “Which award do you hope to win today?”

For remote employees, you can broadcast the event and incorporate fun virtual elements like a red carpet Zoom background, or a countdown to their reveal. Ask them to come dressed in their best costume or strike a funny pose when revealed.

2. Let the Games Begin! 

Games are an entertaining way to inspire camaraderie regardless of where they’re played. From game sites like Kahoot and Jackbox, to Pictionary and “this or that,” you have plenty of options to choose from. 

Considerations for Game Selection:

  • Unrestricted. While you can’t control how well someone draws or how much random knowledge someone has, make sure you pick a game that is both accessible in-person and remotely and levels the playing field.
  • Straightforward. Try not to pick a game that has complex rules or requirements that might make for awkward moments that could embarrass participants or take too long to explain how to play.
  • Inviting. Regardless if you host a game day in the office or virtually, it is critical that you create a warm and inviting environment for all participants.

3. Pop the Champagne

A good ol’ happy hour and/or potluck is always an exceptional way to celebrate the year’s accomplishments with your team. Whether you pop real champagne or do a virtual BYOB from the comfort of your own home, kicking off the new year with good company and drinks is a lively way to get together.

4. Support Your Team's Ambitions    

One way to help inspire others is to share your resolutions. Whether you have your team share all or maybe just one or two resolutions, you can show you care about what’s important to your individual team members. 

To add, you could also host a gift exchange with gifts geared to assist in achieving goals. For example, if someone’s goal is to hike seven mountains, a great gift could be hiking gear to support them during their treks.

4. Ring in the New Year with a Playlist

Music is often referred to as the “universal language.” So what better way to ring in the new year than with a custom playlist compiled by your team? Have each team member pick a song to add to the playlist. You can throw the playlist together in a video to highlight special moments throughout the year to ensure your team feels valued.

Tips to Set Your Celebration Up for Success:

  1. Read the Room. The beginning of a new year can have different meanings for businesses, leaders, and individual employees. If your employees are overwhelmed or seemingly burnt out, try a theme-based celebration with messages encompassing positivity, gratitude, and motivation to comfort them. If your organization or team has reached a goal or completed an extensive project, throw a celebration with food, drinks, games, and fun to promote their win. 
  2. Consider Schedules. Like most businesses, you likely have remote employees across the nation, or maybe the globe. When you’re planning your end-of-year festivity, factor in schedules. Not just time zone differences, but also personal schedules, such as employees with families who might not want to stay after-hours for a work function.
  3. Inspire Inclusivity, Respect Personal Boundaries. Though it is important to foster inclusivity, sometimes good intentions can backfire. For example, try not to make any one person the center of your celebration. This can detract from celebrating your team as a whole and/or end up leaving someone out. Additionally, it’s integral to remember that not everyone likes to be the center of attention. If you plan to decorate, consider that someone might not like their space disorganized or disrupted.
  4. Create a Back-up Plan. Part of having a well-thought-out plan is having a backup plan. Sometimes things don’t go as planned – someone who was in charge of something doesn’t show up or falls ill, you run into technology issues, or you don’t have enough people to participate in a particular activity – you need to be able to adjust in real-time and the best way to set yourself up for a worst-case scenario is to have a back-up plan.

However, you choose to do it, celebrating holidays with creative perspectives can have positive impacts on employee morale and engagement. But planning long-term retention strategies can set you up for greater success in keeping your top talent. Discover how to strategize employee retention for the new year in our latest eBook.

Sources: HR Morning, Empuls

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