Having a world-class videoconferencing infrastructure comes with many benefits, especially when you work in an organisation that spans a wide geographic region.
One of the many benefits? It can be a lot of fun!
My team recently organised a little “secret” party of our own – a “bridal shower” (a gift-giving party held for a bride-to-be in anticipation of her wedding) for our US colleague, Erin who’s based in Austin, Texas.
Doing the party over lunch seemed like a great idea, but “lunch” for the folks at Polycom’s headquarters in San Jose, California meant I had to get out of bed at 3am!
I’ve always been disciplined about not accepting meetings that are way past my bed time, however, given this is the first bridal shower I’ve been invited to, I was rather determined not to miss it. (This is not something common we have in Asia!)
Hiding in my living room and turning the volume down – it's 3am!
It was a fun experience. It was a surprise for Erin, and I liked the astonished look on her face when she stepped into the meeting room thinking it was just another meeting with the team!
Erin in the top left telling us how much she loved us!
This was an example of videoconferencing exceeding normal expectations and fulfilling what is such an important aspect of our work lives. It truly allowed us to bring everyone together for a “virtual” party; one of the undocumented perks we enjoy.
We’ve had numerous celebrations that certainly defy distance, including parties for birthdays as well as a range of local and global festivals.
Somehow, it had become an educational experience allowing everyone in the team to learn more about each other’s culture. It certainly makes me feel part of a very global family.
So, for those of you who are keen on organising a “virtual party” of your own, here are some tips to note:
1. Make a list of participants and their locations. Make sure you take note of the time zone that they are in and plan your party in the most “friendly” time slot.
2. Send out the calendar invite early and get the participants to RSVP.
3. Brief your participants. Send them a brief background on what the party is about and if you have any expectations of them.
4. If you are throwing a “surprise” party, remember to inform the participants and remind them to keep it a secret! Also, keep the invite separate for the person you’re throwing the party for.
5. Last but not least, send out a reminder a day or two before the event. People tend to forget or deprioritise parties especially when they have a hectic schedule.
Finally, I would like to dedicate this post to our colleague, Erin and her new husband, John; wishing them a blissful marriage.
Enjoy yourself and happy partying!
Eric Wong left Polycom as of March 2015. This blog post is his personal view and reflective of his thoughts while at Polycom.