Reward & Recognition: 8 Ideas for a Company Year End in Corona Times

Sally Hetherington   5 November, 2020
Workplace Featured

With the end of the year approaching and another lockdown in place, we're sure team morale could do with a pick-me-up. 2020 has been quite a year, everyone wants to celebrate the end of it, however with the UK going back into a lock down it is unlikely that a physical event will be on the cards. Virtual meetings have become the norm as well as virtual office socials.

We recognise that they’re not the same as a real life event and not everyone has a big budget to spend this year, however we hope you can make your company year end a memorable and personal experience by planning something fun to reward your staff for a challenging year!

Tips for Planning

When planning your virtual holiday event there are a couple of things for you to consider:

Plan Ahead

Make sure that everyone is included by sending out an invite to your virtual event ahead of time so that people can mark it in their calendars. Choose your theme and if necessary book the relevant service providers.

Pre-purchase and schedule any personalised deliveries to your employees ahead of the event. Set a time limit, plan an agenda that you actually stick to on the day. Don’t forget to include some time to thank your employees for their efforts during this tough and unexpected year.

company christmas party corona

Consider Breakout Rooms

If you have more staff than you think one meeting will allow for, Zoom offers the option of breakout rooms to split people into smaller groups. This gives everyone the opportunity to participate in a more interactive experience. Everyone can come together at the end for final speeches and well wishes.

Reward and Recognition

It’s important to thank everyone for stepping up during a challenging year. Make sure you include everyone in some way and think about what will engage your employees best. Use some of your budget for small gifts or a care package that can be delivered ahead of time.

You could even go with a Secret Santa gift exchange, but make sure that everyone has enough time to order something online to send to their chosen colleague and stipulate that they must keep it wrapped until the virtual gathering. Staff Treats has plenty of gifts available that can easily be emailed - click here to shop online.

Now that you have set your event date, sent out your invites and organised any goodies to be delivered, it’s time to get down to choosing activities to keep everyone entertained.

Why not host a virtual games night? There are plenty of games that can be played through a VC, allowing you to engage with your colleagues in the safety of your home:

1. Trivia Quiz

Decide on your quizmaster and set up your teams for a night of trivial pursuit. Choose a number of different categories such as sport, science, history and music, and make it interactive by including pictures of celebrities and song clips

Make sure there is a prize for the winning team such as online vouchers that can be emailed at the end of the night. You can also make it more personal by asking everyone to submit their own tricky questions and answers.

2. Online Games

This works well for smaller groups. Get everyone to download a couple of game apps ahead of time, such as charades, bingo or a 30 seconds style quiz. The Washington Post has a couple of recommendations, including Heads Up!, a quick thinking charades-style game where players choose a category and guess as many answers as they can in one minute.

Quiplash is also a fun game to play for up to eight participants, where players need to answer with the funniest thing they can come up with based on a prompt. The group then votes for the best response. Better played on desktop as it’s available on Steam for Mac, Liunx and PC but only available on the iStore for mobile users.

Struggling with outdated mobile tech? Click here to find out why you should be offering WFH phones and accessories as part of your employee benefits.  

reward and recognition game

3. Board Games

Another idea is Outburst, which is similar to Family Feud. This will require a host who has a physical set of the game, and who will announce the list topic. Players in teams then try to shout out all ten matching answers as they can score points for each correct listed answer. The host will need to judge the answers and tally up the scores.

4. Liar Liar

This is a fun way to really let loose - my version of the popular ad lib TV series Would I Lie to You. Nominate someone ahead of time as quiz master and ask everyone to send a few fun sometimes unbelievable but true stories about themselves to the quiz master. The quiz master then adds a few unseen untruths to everyone’s list and the fun begins.

The quiz master reads out a truth or a lie about the person without revealing which of the two it is, then everyone else interrogates the person for more details, hoping to catch them out. At the end of the round everyone votes as to whether it was true or a lie and the person under fire reveals the answer.

5. Virtual Scavenger Hunt

You would be surprised at all the random objects you can find in your home! Get everyone to come up with some crazy ideas of weird and wonderful things to find in your home and then get started.

The ambassador marketing agency, Brandbassador got everyone to find a random object and tell a story about it, they found it an incredible way to connect with one another outside of their common work interests. By way of vote, the person with the best story wins.

If the game night idea doesn’t work for you, plan another activity. Have packages delivered to your employees ahead of time according to your chosen party theme.

corona year end cheese and wine

6. Cheese, Chocolate and Wine Tasting

Have a few different wines delivered with various cheeses and chocolates for everyone to try out at the same time. For more sophisticated or conservative teams, hire a sommelier to inform your menu and talk you through the tasting.

While more liberal teams might enjoy having a comedian as the host. This is a sure way to get the conversation flowing and have a relaxed informal evening with your colleagues in the safety of your own home.

7. Online Cooking Class

This is a great way to get interactive and demonstrate your cooking skills. Ask the foodie in the team to teach everyone their favourite recipe, have a package of ingredients delivered in advance to all participants and get started! Choose a theme related to the menu such as Mexican or Thai and ask everyone to dress up accordingly.

No foodies in your team? Choose a class that isn’t overly complicated or time-consuming and allow a bit of time at the end of the class to share the meal and chat, and make sure you check up on any dietary requirements ahead of time.

Need some more ideas? Click here to find out what's on offer through Airbnb.

8. Silly Awards Evening

With your own company culture in mind, consider a fun alternative to formal employee awards. Have a snack pack and silly wrapped prizes or certificates delivered to each employee’s lockdown address, making a note that they should keep the package concealed until the event.

Reward employees with titles such as snappiest dresser, most likely to win BGT, office DJ, stationary stealer, always hungry or walking wikipedia. Make sure you include a silly award for every team member and know your audience so that nobody will be offended!

Hosting a year end event during the Coronacoaster should be as fun as riding an actual roller coaster. Let your imagination run wild and ensure everyone ends the year on a happy, positive note. Most importantly, make sure you reward and recognise your team for their hard work and perseverance to keep the business running through the challenges that Covid sprung on all of us.

With a bit of research and imagination you can plan something fun, inclusive and memorable for your staff to end the year on a high note and set the tone for the new year ahead. For more exciting ways to engage with your employees, book a demo with us today!

Sally Hetherington

Full time teen wrangler, part time writer, passionate traveller and wannabe chef.

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