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  • Writer's pictureBradford Wynn

How to Plan a Hybrid Office Holiday Party

While the 2022 holiday season is on track to be the most normal season we’ve experienced in two years, many companies are still considering planning hybrid office holiday parties. There are positives and new ideas that emerged from the necessity of virtual events in 2020–and many organizations are continuing the trend.

The holidays are a time for office parties and celebrating with co-workers. But the reality is that life in a post-pandemic world looks slightly different.

Many teams are still partially remote, and other companies have hired staff all over the country, making in-person gatherings difficult.

The solution?

A hybrid holiday party, of course!

With help from event planning experts at The Wynning Experience, we will cover everything you need to know to make your hybrid office holiday party a resounding success.

What is a Hybrid Holiday Party?

Simply put, a hybrid event is any type of event that combines both in-person and online elements. When planning a hybrid event, you are not constrained by location–you have access to unique virtual entertainment options, and attendees can join from anywhere in the world.

As a positive effect of the pandemic, hybrid events have emerged as a popular option for businesses looking for an innovative way to engage a remote and versatile workforce.

How to Plan the Perfect Hybrid Christmas Party for Your Office

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to spread some holiday cheer than by throwing a festive party for your office? But with many people still working from home, you might be wondering how to plan a hybrid holiday party that will please everyone. We’re here to help. Here are some tips on planning the perfect hybrid Christmas party for your office.

1. Set a budget

Every event, large or small, virtual or in person, operates with a budget. That’s why setting your budget is the best place to start. Be sure to consider the costs for your in-person and virtual guests, and then stick to the budget you define.

2. Pick a date and time

Before you choose your venue, you need to know the date of your event. Consider sending out an online survey to find a date and time that works best for the greatest number of employees. Consider whether it makes more sense to do the party during work hours, after work, or on a weekend date. Sending out your save-the-dates early will allow guests to mark their calendars, book a babysitter if necessary, and plan to enjoy a fun night out.

3. Choose a venue and virtual platform

Time to find the location! For in-person guests, this means finding a venue with your available date and adequate space to accommodate your guest count. When considering venues, consider things like:

  • Max capacity

  • Vendor requirements

  • Local parking

  • Provided amenities

For online guests, it’s time to choose a virtual platform, set it up, and make sure there is an easy link to access to give to guests ahead of time. When selecting an online platform, consider the following:

  • Does the platform have capacity limits?

  • Will guests be able to join from a phone or tablet?

  • Do you want to see everyone’s faces (i.e., for games, mingling)?

  • Do you need access to breakout rooms?

4. Plan the menu

You may be wondering, how do I plan a menu when my guests are not all in one place? Great question! You will want to consider your in-person and online guests in your menu planning. For online guests, consider sending care packages, food delivery, organizing an online potluck, or providing them with a gift card instead.

For in-person guests, ensure you accurately factor in your guest count in determining food and drink quantities. Consult your caterer and have a plan for food delivery, food service, and keeping food warm.

Options are the name of the game when it comes to food. You may have guests with varying food preferences and diets, so it can be helpful to offer vegan and non-vegan options and savory and sweet options so everyone can find something to enjoy.

5. Send out invitations

Once you have your plan in place, it’s time to send the invitations! As with any event, send your invites early. Especially during the holiday season, calendars fill up fast, and people like to know what to plan for. Whether you are mailing physical invitations or emailing them, consider the details needed for in-person and virtual attendees. Include important details such as date, time, location, parking information, attire, and a virtual link for those attending online!

Tips to Make Your Hybrid Party a Success

With an event plan in place, it’s time to consider the details that will set your party apart. Holiday office parties are a unique opportunity to make your employees feel appreciated and welcomed after a grueling year of work. With the right activities and theme, you can achieve just that!

1. Plan activities everyone can enjoy – no matter where they’re attending. This could include Secret Santa, gingerbread house decorating, a raffle, or an ugly sweater contest.

2. Consider doing a virtual wine or beer tasting or an online team-building activity as part of your party. This is a great way to add some excitement for those attending virtually and forces in-person attendees to interact with those joining virtually.

3. Set a theme and encourage people to dress up! Whether in person or joining over a virtual platform, nothing adds more fun to a party than a great theme. Consider an ugly sweater party, a Great Gatsby theme, or Hollywood glam. A fun costume theme will put guests in the party spirit!

To promote participation with the party theme, consider having a contest for best-dressed–bonus points if virtual guests have a holiday theme Zoom background!

4. Have a backup plan – if in-person employees can’t attend, ensure they know how to join virtually! This will increase your chances of attendance and make for a better party experience.

The Wynning Experience: Your Hybrid Holiday Party Awaits

Virtual events began as a necessary solution to lockdowns and a shift to changing pandemic times. As we’ve emerged from the pandemic, hybrid events have taken the stage. What’s not to love? Hybrid events offer the perfect assimilation of the fun of in-person gatherings combined with virtual events' convenience and desired safety. For businesses, virtual events represent the ideal opportunity for office holiday party success.

At the Wynning Experience, WE know what it takes to bring events to life. Our expert event strategies and planners oversee some of the best virtual events in the world. With ROI-focused planning, expert event management, experiential design, and technical A/V (audio/video) support, WE ensure elite, equitable experiences that surpass expectations.

To start planning the perfect hybrid office holiday party, click this link to connect with the Wynning team today or call 312-800-3605.

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