Liz Taylor of the Taylor Lynn Corporation

6 last-minute tips for organizing your virtual office holiday party, from professional event planners

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Use technology to its advantage

“I wouldn’t try to recreate everything about a live event — work with what virtual [events] can offer,” said Liz Taylor of events planner Taylor Lynn based in Manchester, UK, whose clients have included businesses such as Mercedes Benz and Thomas Cook Airlines. “It seems to be far more of a way of visually connecting, as opposed to emotionally connecting. So visual activities are the key.” These can include everything from games to panic rooms made virtual.

Additionally, Pabla said that if you’ve got big teams who don’t usually get to socialize, it’s worthwhile remembering that you can have people mingling across their work groups or cliques: “With Google meet, and Zoom, for instance,” said Pabla, “they have the functionality to have breakout rooms.”

Experiences work (and take the edge off)

Alternatively, experiences like a bake-off, a cook-along, or a gingerbread house-making competition (where you’ve already sent over the supplies beforehand) can take the pressure off.

“It’s important to have something that everybody [can] contribute to,” said Celia Brooks, a London-based American author and TV chef who pivoted her food tour business to online-only when the pandemic hit.