Party like 2020: British corporate Christmas is virtualized

At broker Aon’s Christmas party, staff met magicians, comedians, and improvised rappers doing close-up tricks on their home computers. The Virgin Media team has a virtual escape room Bake off Challenge with former show contestants.

Returning bankers from another online party were entertained from behind the screen by Judge Jules, giving house music a new twist.

“It’s not exactly the same,” said a DJ accustomed to playing a large audience at Ibiza. “There is no one like goggles in front of me, and there is no audience.”

Other companies offer staff online wine tasting, virtual bingo and leasing, and gingerbread housemaking. Often there is a must-have Christmas jumper and homemade mulled wine.

After nine months of working from home, British companies are keen to regain their corporate spirit in distant teams that haven’t met each other in person since spring.

Virgin Media Invites Staff to Virtual Christmas “Bake Off” with Former Show Participants © Virgin Media

However, traditional year-end celebrations have been replaced by coronavirus-friendly virtual events, and the distribution of wines, meal kits, and activities that can be run on Zoom has become a boom. The secret Santa is delivered to people’s doors, along with Christmas cakes and mince pies.

The staff at law firm Linklaters was motivated at the end of a very tough year with a variety of events, including online painting parties with art teachers, comedy quizzes, and chocolate tastings with Hotel Chocolat.

“We have no employees this year, but maintaining team ties is more important than ever in maintaining our corporate culture,” the company said.

Law firm Osborne Clarke hosts nearly two weeks of “festive fun,” including comedy, magic, quizzes, and virtual Christmas jumpers.

Mayfair wine seller Berry Brothers & Rudd hosts seven virtual wine tastings each night, and the slots until Christmas are almost full.

“The virtual tasting went through the rooftop,” said Katie Daniel, who helps party attendees run the event to receive wine, glasses, and corks before tasting up to three vintages. “More than that on weekday nights is pretty punchy.”

There are also high-tech options. Hire Space offers online parties for up to 2,000 people. There, people go through a virtual “Uber” (an actor-hosted Zoom chat room) through a “doorman” to the big top to participate in games, watch and listen to comedians. .. Live music at the jazz bar. Guests could even personally talk to friends in the smoking room.

“Companies feel it’s more important than ever to bring people together,” says one event for 1,500 people in multiple time zones and another for Magic Circle law firms. Edward Poland, co-founder of HireSpace, which hosts the event, said. “We offer a virtual luxury way beyond the same old tired zoom drink.”

HireSpace's interactive big top map

Hire Space offers an online party where participants can participate in games, watch comedians and listen to live music at the jazz bar © Hire Space

Emma Crocombe, the founder of PlayDead London, which creates online murder mysteries for businesses, is just as busy. [from] Kitchen with ring light. “

The Coca-Cola Helenic Bottling Company will carry out a week of virtual activities, including paintings and murder mysteries, ending with an international gathering for the entire group.

Group talent director Audrey Craig said the company wants to “celebrate some sort of thing, connect people comfortably and end the year, even if it’s unusual.”

Some employees are not convinced by the new online option. “Yes, my soul is just dead,” said one manager, who faced the possibility of forcing the company’s virtual enjoyment.

Philip Hancock, a professor of work and organization at Essex Business School, is in favor of employers who raise the spirit of workers, but warned that if it misfires, it could exacerbate quarantine. “There is nothing more sad than sitting in front of a computer screen wearing a paper hat with a glass of wine and nuts.”

Entertainers need to liven up the game to keep the attention of remote viewers. Comedian Lucy Porter said the virtual gigs were a lot of fun. “In reality, it can be much more personal and warmer than a large gig in Dochester.”

At this week’s Canadian Bank Zoom event, her fellow performers include an improvised hip-hop act Abandman who built his act around a lockdown victory and the tragedy of people on the phone. I did.

But she wanted her normality to recover next year. “Because year-end income makes up the majority of our income, virtual income is a heavenly blessing for the industry after a devastating year.”

For bars and restaurants, which usually make up a significant portion of annual sales during the liquor-filled preparation period until Christmas, continued restrictions on socialization have reduced festive trading.

“It doesn’t exist at all this year,” said Charlie Gilks, head of the Inception Group, which owns bars like Mayfair’s Fogg. “We usually had exclusive employment and hundreds of corporate groups overnight during this time. Many companies are discussing holding post-covid events in the spring or summer instead. I will. “

We can hold small festive dinners for up to six people, but as one senior financier said, “all large parties at Clarridges or Mandarin are canned.”

However, this is not necessarily considered bad for everyone. “They were declining anyway because it didn’t look good for brokers to get drunk and quarrel. Covid gave them the perfect excuse to get rid of them.”

Party like 2020: British corporate Christmas is virtualized

Source link Party like 2020: British corporate Christmas is virtualized

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