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Festive fun | Are these the WEIRDEST office Christmas party ideas?

3 minutes

It’s December once again, and whilst employees across the globe would usually be preparing t...

It’s December once again, and whilst employees across the globe would usually be preparing to attend an office Christmas party, meal or experience, this year any festive get-together is going to look quite different. Gone are the office knees-ups, corporate dinners and company discos. Instead, workers will likely be ending a hard year by chatting to colleagues digitally.

However, whilst quizzes and Zoom drinks have become a go-to mainstay for companies looking to maintain corporate culture this year, it’s safe to say that the frequency with which such social times have been pushed has led to a certain level of apathy.

And with this in mind, many companies have opted to take a slightly stranger route in presenting a memorable experience for employees this festive season – albeit still through the digital medium that has defined 2020.

Some have even gone as far as to recreate the office party experience as authentically as possible; using an interface called ‘BIG TOP’, which was used to host the digital edition of the famous American Burning Man festival, employees are able to take a ‘taxi’ to the party, replete with actor taxi drivers, interact with a doorman, again, an actor in character, and then choose between various different ‘rooms’ with a comedy club, a disco and yes, even a toilet available to visit.

“It has that agency you get at a party,” Will Swannell, CEO and Co-Founder of Hire Space (who created the tech) told Wired, with guests exploring until they find the room with the right vibe and friends.

“When they get into the taxi, they’re reminded to put their virtual seatbelts on and that they can drink and smoke — if their housemates will allow,” added Swannell.

Others have taken a more physical route. Many companies, such as Zing Events, have used the current circumstances to build new offerings specifically designed to get employees to interact with digital events. Employers are able to send workers hampers containing alcohol for wine tastings, fresh food such as cheeses for guided lessons in tasting or simply a selection of goodies to munch on whilst workers all chat. Others have sent out the ingredients for cakes and other meals for a guided cook-along.

Zing Events’ own options vary from light-hearted interactive experiences to full-on immersive ‘CSI crime’ role-plays that get workers searching for clues in murder cases.

Others have opted to put some level of physical prowess back into the parties; one company approached concert organiser MGN to hire out a famous venue to live-stream a private performance from a symphony orchestra. “It wasn’t the Royal Albert Hall they had in mind, but it was something of that calibre,” Mike Walker, Managing Director of MGN, told Wired. “I don’t know if they’ve got the budget for it,” he added.

Source: Executive Grapevine