September is traditionally when we celebrate workers in the United States and it’s a great time to think about welcoming your employees and colleagues back as we return to a more typical work life. I’m avoiding using the phrase “new normal,” but it does describe what many businesses are facing. Many want to continue working remotely, while others have looked forward to getting back to the office. Either way, we should celebrate that we are on our way back.

No time for a party? Celebrate with specialty branded swag… something different from the ordinary

You’ve got employees stretched across the country… maybe even the globe and one of the easiest and fastest ways to welcome them all back is with a curated box of swag and treats.

If you have a small enough team, some of the items can be personalized, but this is also an easy way to delight everyone on your team when you hire someone to curate the boxes for you or hire a service.

While it might be impossible to have these delivered on the same day for remote workers, imagine having lovely welcome back packages waiting at the work station of each employee to signify that we’re all moving forward.

Tips for a successful celebration:

  • Make it special by focusing on the unboxing experience. Many services or professional curators not only select items your employees want, but they package them in a way that adds to the delight of getting the package
  • Don’t assume everyone has a mug, sweatshirt, water tumbler or protective laptop sleeve. These items wear out, so new swag is always appreciated
  • Keep safety and self care top of mind. Yes to branded masks, hand sanitizer, scented candles, massage gift certificates… items that help your employees and colleagues cope with the stresses of the day

Stream a live celebration to your remote team

Whether you have a fully or partially remote team, you can offer a live-streamed event to celebrate a “return to work” or maybe to celebrate the future of work.

There are quite a few platforms that can not only host meetings, but that offer ways for remote workers to network among themselves outside of Slack and Zoom.

You can download my review of the top 30 remote event hosting platforms here. I also cover these in a video on my Youtube channel here.

Tips for choosing a platform: So, what do you look for in a platform?
  • Capacity – yes, believe it or not, these virtual venues also have capacity and you want to make sure the platform you select will accommodate everyone on your guest list
  • Integrations – integrations with third party apps and Zapier are key to hosting virtual events, especially for small teams. Look for a platform that integrates with the email and other work platforms you use. At the very least, make sure there are Zapier integrations
  • Engagement Features – being able to interact with each other and with any special guests is important, even if this doesn’t replace actual in-person networking. Look for a platform with a native comment system and if you can find a platform that allows integrations of other chat platforms, that’s an added bonus.
  • Platform Design – If you’re using an all-in-one platform, make sure all of your stakeholders can easily navigate your platform – from vendors, special guests to your employees. You also want your team to be able to easily find what they need so they can execute on their event duties.
  • Automated Transactional Emails – During any online event, there are a variety of transactional and reminder emails that need to go out. Working with a platform that helps automate these emails and even provides templates will save you and your team a lot of time and your employees and guests will appreciate the reminders
  • Consider creating a branded virtual background or go all in with an interactive virtual background… and don’t forget the screenshot selfies!

In-Person Celebration

The beauty of in-person events is the variety of event types you can host. Indoor parties, outdoor festivals, concerts, speeches, retreats, formal dinners, informal lunches served by favorite food truck vendors.

There truly is an event to fit every company size and every budget.

Informal Events

Include workers and their families in a festival atmosphere with picnic-style dining and activities that can range from inflatable play structures to a full-on carnival with rides and games of chance.

Even informal events require a lot of planning and effort to find, organize, and manage a venue, caterer, and entertainment.

Formal Events

A formal dinner, cocktail party, or gala are wonderful ideas for celebrating your employees and colleagues.

Regardless of the format of your event, give yourself plenty of lead time. I’ve stressed this frequently in my emails, but this is so important now with the number of vendors and venues that are no longer serving the events industry.

Corporate Retreat

As businesses try to regroup after, what for some, are severe workforce disruptions, a company retreat will work to rebuild employee bonds and help focus attention on the future.

While there should be elements of fun included, a retreat is about employee interaction, planning, setting goals, and forming bonds. That doesn’t mean you won’t be in the market for talent – speakers, DJs, bands, and other entertainment.

Aurice Guyton

Author Aurice Guyton

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