The virtual office party

Dec 14 2009 by Wayne Turmel Print This Article

We've all know about virtual meetings. And let's face it, they can be pretty effective as well as saving a ton of time and money. So why not take the idea a stage further? Given how tight money is at the moment, what about forgetting a physical office party this year and organizing a virtual get-together, instead...

To: All Employee Engagement Committee Members

From: Human Resources

Re: Our Virtual Holiday Party

As everyone knows, recent Year-End Celebration plans (previously known as the Holiday Party, Christmas Party, and Bacchanalia, depending on the year and location) have been a problem to arrange.

Attempts to make this a fun, non-offensive, morale boosting exercise have been complicated by the fact that we simply have no budget for anything this year. It's a moot point. Still, in a desire to make (sugar free, low-calorie) lemonade out of lemons, we have settled on a solution: a virtual holiday party.

When you think about it, there are a number of advantages over a traditional Year End Celebration:

  • No travel costs
  • Even those who work at home (or take every excuse to do so) can, and are expected to, take part.
  • Attire is business casual (for you work at homers, that's dress shirt AND pants) (Appropriate) Pictures can be posted to the shared drive on the Intranet
  • Each office or individual can plan their own menu. This is critical since creating an offense-free dining experience has relieved the committee off approximately 346 Person-hours of meetings and will prevent a repeat of the 2007 "tofurkey" incident at our West Coast office which you'll be glad to know has now come to trial and our lawyers are confident our HR reps will get sentenced to nothing worse than "time served".

On December 20th at 4 PM (home office time zone) we will all meet on line using the XXXX presentation platform. IT has kindly acquiesced on its normal policy and webcams have been provided for all office for this one-time use. Here are a list of approved activities your office may take part in:

Group singing of some description: Whether you call it caroling or karaoke, this is a great activity for group bonding and eliminating social barriers between co-workers. Your office is free to choose either traditional Christmas carols or Karaoke.

While they are similar in many ways (deluded people who think they can sing better than they really do, the same songs over and over, no one really knows anything past the first verse and chorus) caroling offers fewer chances that anyone will choose a Bob Seger song. Let your good sense prevail

Small gift exchanges: The key word here is SMALL. Company policy has always forbidden gifts to superiors so as not to influence relationships. Since we've gone to a 360 degree feedback system, all your peers now contribute to your performance review so technically you shouldn't give anything to anyone, but 'tis the season. Here's a suggestion: $5 Starbucks gift cards. Nobody really thinks they're worth anything, they require no thought so emotional ties are kept to a minimum, and those of you in Utah and other heavily LDS areas can just buy a scone or something.

Alcohol: is optional except in countries where it carries a death sentence. (See the attached legal waiver). Just bear in mind that 4 pm here at Home Office is 5 AM in Singapore. Let your conscience be your guide. Note that everyone is supposed to maintain normal office and customer service hours. Sales offices who have met their quota are free to do whatever they've been doing up til now.

Whether we are celebrating the Year End (which we know is not really the end of the year if you are Jewish, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Chinese or in the Tax Department) or a religious holiday we wish you the best and hope you have a wonderful time.

Please note that the use of webcams is for our personal and company use only. No recordings are to appear on Facebook, YouTube or without proper authorization from Marketing.

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About The Author

Wayne Turmel
Wayne Turmel

Wayne Turmel has been writing about how to communicate effectively in remote and virtual environments for more than 20 years. In 2016, he merged with The Kevin Eikenberry Group, to create The Remote Leadership Institute, and now serves as Master Trainer and Coach to the Kevin Eikenberry Group. Wayne is also is the author of more than 15 books, including The Long-Distance Teammate and The Long-Distance Team.

Older Comments

Intuitive, refreshing, articulate and engaging as always. More...much more of the same please.

Charles Helliwell Wimbledon, UK