After what has clearly been an unprecedented year, the festive season is finally here! And, the excitement can be felt even through the mechanical device screens. From massive festive sales across e-commerce websites to organisational festivities - everyone is gearing up for the great Indian festival season! So, how about planning something really special for your team this year? Something that will engage and rejuvenate them? They sure have earned it. Along with familial traditions, office rituals are just as important and formative. Regardless of how diverse your team might be - collective celebrations help bring employees together, creates a more inclusive environment across departments, boost the morale of employees, promote employee engagement, nurture team spirit, and spread joy! HR Teams are always on the lookout for unique engagement ideas, and with the virtual revolution that has taken over all our lives - this need has become even more profound. Presenting a list of ideas for your team to indulge in, during this year’s Diwali celebration - 1. Cubicle Decoration The most magical part of Diwali is the array of twinkling, shining decorations all around. Nothing says Diwali like the annual cleaning, scrubbing, and discovery of long ‘lost’ things in the process. So, how about bringing Diwali to our work stations? Lighting up the workplace in traditional diyas , flowers and rangolis have become passe’. Modern workplaces employ LED lights, lamps, electrical diyas, paper lanterns, wall designs, and paintings, etc, to deck up everything from alleyways to work cubicles. Floating and tea light candles, balloons, lights on plants, flower garlands, streamers, bells and wind chimes are other items that can be used to enhance the decorations. Do remember to include each and every employee in the activity, to bring about a sense of belonging and make them engage with each other. For a virtual work environment, you can spice up things even further by running a “Light Up Your Workplace Challenge.” Ask everyone in the team to light up their work spaces at home and share pictures. This can be done as a live challenge or a photo challenge. What’s important that everyone gets to share the joy and come together to celebrate Diwali, as if they were all in the same office space. 2. Traditional & Ethnic Attire You can ask all employees to dress up in traditional and ethnic attires, to instil a festive air in the workplace. This could also be run as a dress-up competition! Add fun or even silly awards to make it more engaging and memorable. ‘The Best Dressed Person’ ’The Most Creative Get-Up’ ’The Most Innovative Headgear’ - you are only limited by your imagination! When doing it virtually, add shortlists, Zoom polls, and other fun add-ons to increase the excitement and fun! Don;t forget to include the families in the madness. 3. Showcase Your Creativity Competition Diwali is the perfect time to put your most creative foot forward! From the timeless ‘Rangoli Competition’ to more in vogue challenges like ‘Don’t Rush Challenge’ - choose any team challenge and just roll with it! Make sure the prizes are fun, lucrative, and everyone gets a chance to participate. Urge them to include the family members to further build a festive vibe and spread joy, all around! 4. Fun Contests Running talent shows in the traditional format like we shared earlier, is just one way to go about it. You can always extend it into a carnival of small, engaging challenges that will leave behind unforgettable memories. Countdown to Sixty is one such challenge that will get the adrenaline pumping and creative bursts of energy! Ring in the festivities with joy, laughter, cheer, and watch even the shy ones come to life as they compete to win! 5. Tambola & Other Desi Games https://youtu.be/ZCQcnMwjWsg A game of Tambola is a perennial draw, especially during festive seasons in India. A sure shot method it enable and build engagement - it can work like magic when the whole team sits down together to play. Oh, and watch out! The game often can take a life of its own, even as people try and wish their desired numbers into existence! 6. Exchanging Gifts Giving gifts is a powerful thing to do - you can never go wrong with it. The more we give, the more we touch the hearts of others. So, why not make it a group activity? Much like the timeless tradition of Secret Santa during Christmas, this one promises to make your team members smile and feel more connected than ever. You know what to do - assign random names to different team members and ask them to send gifts to each other. 7. Cooking Sweets What is a festival without gluttony? From sneaking laddoos as kids to fighting the temptation to have ‘just one moreI’ - we all grew up. How about making memories along with mouth watering sweets? From calling it ‘Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye’ to getting the families involved - the possibilities are, indeed, endless! The challenge is equally fun in the virtual environment. 8. Make A Difference In Someone’s Life Festivals should inspire the spirit of giving in people. Especially Diwali – the festival of lights is also about bringing in the light of hope, joy, and laughter. There are multiple ways that you can do this. From gifting someone with a new life in the form of a prosthetic limb, cook for a cause or even come together as a team to help build wheels of hope! 09. Corporate Gifting While the team members surprise each other, how about indulging them all with a small surprise on your end? What’s even more interesting to note is that, it is far more meaningful to shower your team with experiences, rather than simple materialistic gifts. A handwritten note, their favourite book, a dinner date for newly married couple - the possibilities are, as we love to say, endless. 10. Awards and Trophies If you have been thinking of awarding your employees, what better time to make someone feel like they are a shining star than the festival of lights? Recognising people for the work and their contribution is one of the best ways to touch the hearts of your employees. While doing this, don’t forget to sneak in a few fun awards too. Silly, engaging awards are bound to get everyone in the mood for celebration and get the festivities started! Oh, and don’t forget to record the virtual session - for the archives ( and memories, of course ) 11. Wellness Check! Festive seasons are also the times when most people lose track of their fitness habits. Juggling work deadlines with festive preparations can get tricky. Thus, a wonderful way to display empathy and bring the team together is to host a wellness session. Done together with the team and their families early in the day, can be a priceless gift during such an auspicious time. 12. Competition For Kids Festivals are a great time for bonding with the not just the immediate team, but also is he perfect opportunity to make their families feel included in the larger family. The easiest and the most heartwarming way to enable this is to have a ‘Kids Only’ competition. Quiz contests, Origami, singing, jewellery making competitions, painting, and musical chairs are just a few ideas to keep the children engaged. Handing out or sending cute gifts to the winners of the competitions will add more to the festive spirit. 13. Motivational talks Festivals like Diwali mark the advent of a new year, a new beginning. Therefore, a good motivational session could very well prove impactful. Experts and masters from various industries can provide a fresh perspective and enable personal growth for your every single person of your team. 14. Music & Dance Programs Diwali is the perfect time to let your hair down and dance with the entire team. Even in the virtual environment, grooving freely to some upbeat music can work just as well! So, if you want to see your team make some fun filled memories while they blow off steam - it is time to dance those blues away. 15. Theme Parties Theme parties are a great way to get the excitement about celebrations going, even before the party actually begins. This Diwali, introduce the “Ramayana” theme. Aptly named, this one requires every member of your team to dress up as a character from the epic saga. And there you have it! A bunch of ideas for your next Diwali celebration! Jump in and join the conversation by sharing your own unique team engagement ideas.