Are you running out of ideas on how to keep your remote team engaged? Did you happen to notice a drop in productivity levels? Are you worried that employees will start to question if their remote job is worth it? If the answer is “yes” to at least one of these questions, then you have clicked on the right article.
Initiating an interesting conversation during your virtual coffee break is one element that is sometimes overlooked. And there is no secret that maintaining a positive mindset while managing your co-workers in a virtual environment can get a little bit trying at times. And for this reason alone you need to invest some time in acquiring ideas on how to be able to create a more lively atmosphere in your meetings. This is where I come into play. I am here to offer you some interesting coffee chat topics for your next virtual coffee break.
And why should you need these ideas in the first place? Because most people are at a standstill when it comes to debating subjects other than their daily work assignments. And what are you going to do when those basic day-to-day topics of conversation are exhausted? Talking about the weather endlessly simply won’t do. But worry not. Below I compiled a list of useful virtual coffee break ideas for the next time you and your co-workers get together.
Virtual Coffee Break: Tips on How to Make it Successful
- keep it short: virtual coffee breaks are not endless affairs that extend over a large period so whatever you plan on doing, make sure it falls under the 15-minute timestamp.
- make it casual: nobody wants to discuss overly important matters, so try to stay away from heavy or even work-related topics.
- encourage conversation: not everybody will speak uninvited, so it is your job to make sure all team members will make themselves heard.
- bring some authenticity to the table: if you want this to be a proper virtual coffee break, then make sure you include a beverage like coffee, tea, or even some juice.
1. Mini Book Club
A great idea for your next virtual coffee break would be to encourage employees to read by opening up a book club-type session. You can review certain books that the team leader assigns to everybody or you can let each individual summarize a book that they have recently read. The subjects may vary from personal development books to science fiction novels. The choice is up to you. You can have a discussion regarding the plot, the characters, the theme of the book, and the most important lesson you took from it.
2. Quiz Time
If you are unsure how to engage employees and you are afraid that asking questions won’t help a lot when it comes to your team, then you should try a quiz. It is a great idea if you want to keep your meeting captivating. You can include an array of topics from historical facts to celebrity gossip to world news. This is a great way to enhance your knowledge about various things and have some fun alongside your team as well.
3. Pet Introduction Time
I can guarantee you have some pet lovers on your team and it would be a shame not to engage that aspect of your employee’s lives. I, therefore, encourage you to host some sort of pet show in which every pet owner in the meeting will get a chance to showcase their dog, cat, fish, and so on to the camera. Simply let employees introduce their beloved pets and share some stories about them. Let them talk about their adoption story, how they fit into the family, funny incidents, and so on. I don’t think there are people out there that despise animals so this will be an activity that will be enjoyed even by those that don’t own a pet yet.
4. Work/Home Space Tour
Another way to break the ice and do something different during your virtual coffee break is to encourage your team to host a tour of the place in which they work. This is an exciting way to engage employees, especially those that joined the company during a time when remote work was already established. Since they haven’t visited the actual organization and haven’t had a feel of how people interact in a confined space, then a virtual workspace tour is perfect to showcase just that. It will offer them a glimpse into their team member’s work life and improve the relationship-building process.
5. Recipe Swapping Time
Cooking is something we all have to do. It’s just part of being a responsible and independent adult. And whether we choose to improve on this skill or not, whether we are great innovators in the kitchen or we settle for the bare minimum, it doesn’t matter. Swapping recipes is a useful way to get some variation and upgrade our eating habits. If you happen to have a health buff on your team, for instance, then other members will benefit greatly from hearing some recipe ideas from such an individual. You can even invite people to grab more than just a coffee while discussing such matters.
This activity is easy and a quick way to turn a basic conversation into a doorway to somebody’s life. Simply make each person choose the nearest object around them and share the story behind it. It can be an old family photo, a magnet that they bought on a trip and forgot to place on the fridge, or some interesting gift they’ve received lately. This is a super spontaneous game that can get people to share aspects of their lives that others haven’t seen or heard before.
7. Tea vs. Coffee
Tea vs. Coffee is a popular tasting event that a lot of companies got addicted to lately. Basically how it works is that each team will have received prior to the “tasting” a set of two types of coffee and two types of tea. People will have the opportunity to brew and infuse the drinks for themselves and then get together and enjoy a tasting experience. This is a fun and relaxing way to enjoy your virtual coffee break while you chat about your beverage preferences.
8. Icebreaker Questions
Icebreaker questions are great conversation starters and you can easily use them to spark up any virtual coffee break session. You can do easy questions such as “What has been your favorite holiday so far?” or go for more personal questions like “What is the thing you are most grateful for?”. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you are not crossing any lines or ask inappropriate questions. Keep it light and fun and you will have a good time while learning something new about your co-workers as well.
9. Baby Photos
If you are up for things to get extra personal, then going down memory lane is what will get you there. And you will probably have a good laugh while you are at it because let’s face it, baby photos are some of the funniest things you can look at. Seeing how your co-workers looked as kids will surely give you the giggles and turn a boring virtual coffee break into a pleasant space in which you can share some memories with others.
10. Dance Party
Being active and taking care of your health is quite important so I don’t see why a virtual coffee break session can’t focus on that particular aspect of life. But in light of making things fun and easy-going, instead of going for a quick 15-minute workout, you can host a dance party. This works especially well for teams whose members aren’t very talkative so instead of forcing some awkward conversations you can host a semi-awkward dance party. At some point, probably when Michale Jackson comes on, everybody will get it on the fun and forget about their worries for a while.
11. Guess Who
This is a little fun activity that you can do the next time you are on your virtual coffee break. Have your team members submit one random fact about themselves to the team leader. During the virtual coffee break, the manager will read out loud all the facts and the rest of the team can take turns in guessing which fact belongs to which person. This is a charming little game that can also help you learn something new about the people you are working with.
One unconventional idea for your next virtual coffee break would be to encourage employees to participate in a moment of silence and relaxation. We all know how stressful corporate life can get and in light of that, I believe most people will benefit greatly if they immerse themselves into some form of guided meditation. This will make them more mindful, receptive, and focused on their tasks later on.
Engaging in conversations is important in the workplace. Whether you are going to an actual office or you are connecting with co-workers online, you need to facilitate an environment where people are comfortable to share and exchange ideas. Moreover, being able to break the flow of a work-related meeting in order to restore energy and create a refreshing atmosphere is highly important. Virtual coffee breaks can help a lot in that sense. You just need to take full advantage of them. So, if you are ready to bring your remote team closer together, then give the ideas above a try.