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Events And COVID

How to organise effective social events during COVID

Perspectives / Organising An Event During COVID

Suggestions And Ideas For Organising An Event During COVID

Many of us today are impacted by COVID-19. The world looks different. Work is different.

  • Days merge into each other. We start early; we finish late.
  • Many of us work at home alone during the day.
  • Social interaction is limited, e.g. there is no social talk at the coffee machine.
  • People are hyper-productive, have little down-time and find it hard to switch-off.
  • People may be surrounded by their children and may be subjected to constant interruptions and requests for help.
  • People may not have the luxury of having a separate room.


”I even had to create a workplace in my walk-in closet, whilst working between baskets full of laundry that still need to be folded.”

We are no longer able to work as we did before.  People may feel disconnected and no longer part of a team. Keeping people motivated, engaged and happy has become a major challenge for the leaders of today.

Now more than ever, it is important to show your teams how much you appreciate them and how grateful you are for the work they continue to the deliver in these challenging circumstances.

One of the major impacts of COVID-19 has been the loss of social and team events, meeting with your colleagues in a non-work environment, learning about each other, and taking part in fun activities.

Such events represented an opportunity to thank everyone for the great work that they were delivering. A team event helped regulate the team and promote an inclusive atmosphere,  helping people to feel connected, valued and engaged.

Today we all have a shared responsibility to prevent the spread of COVID 19. Mass gatherings are not currently allowed, and this could continue well into 2021.

Various restrictions, such minimising the number of people at indoor seated venues, or restricting the way people circulate now prevent us from organising a typical social event.   

The need to continue to show gratitude and appreciation however remains.

“How do you organise an effective social event during a pandemic?”

Organise a virtual event that creates a sense of belonging.

A virtual event should be run in the same way as you would organise a physical event, with an agenda, a host and various speakers.

The most effective approach is to do this “live”, led by the management and closed with a speech from the senior leadership, combined with gifts, interactive and fun elements.

As interaction is key, the attendees should have the opportunity to ask questions, a broadcast type event should be avoided.

A live event, however, presents new challenges.  Online events have a higher rate of no shows.  People accept an invite, but for whatever reason decide not to attend. Attendees also have a shorter attention span.  What happens if technology fails? How do we make sure it feels like a company event?

We have a few suggestions that will help with these challenges.

Preparing the agenda

  • Break up the event in short focused sessions (15-20 minutes max.).
  • Provide a variety of content and games, perhaps include a prize element
  • Find speakers that inspire and motivate
  • Make it interactive and personal, perhaps something like a game show;
    Prepare questions that relate to the team.
    e.g. showing a picture of a baby and ask which colleague it is (not necessarily a cute picture……). Show a picture of a very frightening hobby and ask which colleague loves to do this? Include some jokes to make fun of your colleagues in the nicest way possible 😉 and have a colleague to show up live during the show and explain the answer to a specific question.
  • Have a senior leader ‘walk around the house and introduce their family and pets.


  • Tease the participants in advance to catch their attention and to remind them about the event. Let them know something is going to be revealed at the event, but don’t tell them what it is and keep them guessing.
  • Create a social page for your event. It could include a timer, weekly updates, people could respond to ‘the making of’ or ‘bloopers’ that happened throughout the preparation process. Share behind the scene stories, videos pictures on your event’s social media page will really help people feel that they are part of the “making of” the event.
  • Deliver a party box up-front to all colleagues including an invite to the virtual event (request addresses timely up-front through HR or their team lead).
  • Ensure you have someone around to focus on the technical part or decide to hire a knowledgeable event expert who can help you manage all the details that will get you to a successful event day.
  • Tailor the experience to your brand. If a show is hosted live, the background should show the ‘office’ or the ‘logo’ of the company, and have the host to wear a company t-shirt or a tie as required.
  • If you are considering to prepare a year-end event around Christmas. There are a number of innovative websites, such as https://www.lootjestrekken.nl/ which is a secret Santa generator, ideal for submitting your Christmas wish-list. At the event, colleagues unwrap their gifts and share the poem that was written about him/her to the group.

During the event

  • To keep people engaged mention after each item what will happen next.
  • Make it interactive! People should be able to comment, answer questions live.

A Sample Agenda

  • Host introduces the event and format.
  • Introduction by a senior leader.
  • Activity.
  • Topic.
  • Activity.
  • Topic.
  • Activity.
  • Closing message by senior leader.
    • Look back on the activities/games – share your insights.
    • Motivational message towards the new period.
    • Make it personal ‘walk around the house and introduce the family’.
    • Show the party box’ and raise your glass to the staff to kick-off the party.
  • Drinks, bites and gift sharing
    • DJ with music in the background.
    • Time to open up the gifts that were delivered to your house.

Example activities or topics

  • Game show.
  • Online quiz.
  • Karaoke.

So now you have an example of a successful interactive online event. Apart from this one event, consider implementing regular events in your working week. Watch out for our next article on insights and tips.

Want to know more?

Get in touch with our team and learn how we can work with you to help understand and implement what you can do for your team in these challenging times.