How virtual communications can be more treat than trick
As lovers of all things that go bump in the night, we explore how virtual communications can learn from those taking part in a socially distanced Halloween this year.
I was always a big fan of Halloween. The feeling of summer turning into autumn. The nights starting to draw in, hunkering down to watch scary films with the curtains drawn, and fake spider webs hanging from the ceiling. What’s not to like?
This year, however, as it is with most things, Halloween is going to be very different. Whether it’s through candy slides or virtual costume parties, there’s something we as internal communicators can learn from during Halloween 2020.
Candy slides – using the right tool for the job
I recently read Agatha Christie’s ‘Hallowe’en Party’ and it’s a real picture of the traditional English Halloween. Kids playing snapdragon, ghostly apparitions, plenty of sugar and a rather unfortunate case of apple bobbing. Reading it, you envisage kids running around, the parents bumping into each other, and the warm glow of the fireplace.
Not so much in 2020 – with regional lockdown tiers, the rule of six and domestic social-distancing bubbles, it’s much more difficult to get around. But that hasn’t stopped some crafty enthusiasts from creating ‘Halloween 2020 candy slides’. The idea is that you don’t have to open your door for trick-or-treaters, but simply slide bags of sweets down a plastic tube from an open window.
The right tool for virtual communications
In our own world, using the right tool for virtual communications is key too. Sometimes we can be guilty of using the intranet instead of having a virtual call with a select few, or setting a virtual town hall that would have more impact as a feature in the digital magazine.
I’ve also heard that some communities are pre-bagging up bundles of sweets for kids to collect, so that they can stay safe and have fun without breaking the local or national social-distancing rules.
Sometimes the answer can be a very practical one, or more social and community-focused, and the question will largely come down to what the culture of your business would react most positively to.
Virtual costumes: video conferencing in style
I remember one year dressing up at Halloween as a lumberjack with an axe in his head. The only problem was the plastic axe with fake blood kept falling off my head, so people just saw a ten-year-old in a plaid shirt. Not very scary.
Halloween costumes at work are very cultural – some places do them, some places don’t.
It’s fair to say that a lot of us are dressing differently this year. As we work more at home than ever before, smart casual and casual clothes are becoming the norm – and business suits are hanging in the cupboards unworn, next to an ugly Christmas jumper and last year’s Halloween costume. They only come out when they are needed. Colleagues are more used to seeing us in our ‘civvies’ within our home environments. That’s having a knock-on effect to how we want to be viewed – the lines between personal and professional are blurring and there’s a real trend in people replacing the corporate headshots on their LinkedIn profile pictures with images that are more reflective of their whole personalities.
It’s very much an ‘each to their own’ thing in our opinion. So this year, we’re advocating a virtual Halloween party – giving those who like to dress up (formally or informally) the opportunity to express themselves and feel comfortable doing so under the guise of Halloween and the spirit of camaraderie.
So, whether you’ve sworn off ‘hard pants’ entirely, or looking for an excuse to brush on the cobwebs, give your team a reason to dress up on Friday 30th.