2020 was like a cold plunge for us. We all knew that remote collaboration did happen before the global pandemic as well, but we didn’t expect it to become ‘the new normal’ all of a sudden.
Working from home came with a lot of pros and cons. On one hand, it was great just to wake up, take a shower, and put an acceptable T-shirt on (*yes, we all wear pajama pants). Once the coffee was ready, so were you to dive into your first meeting of the day. No more time spent in traffic or in terrible weather conditions during rush hours, and no need for that extra layer of, powder and blush (*girls, you know what I’m talking about 😜). Those are definitely some pros and we must admit them. However, working from home has its shortcomings and we can’t deny those either. The biggest struggle of them all has to do with social interaction. If you have an in-office job, things are easy. You walk in, say hi to everyone, drop by the kitchen, catch up with whoever’s there, go to your desk, have a tiny chat with the people next to you, hear the new updates (*or the gossip 🤫), not to mention the lunch and coffee breaks, when – again – everyone gathers to socialize. If your work system is hybrid or entirely remote, interacting with your colleagues might be a bit more difficult. Thank God we have technology!
And so, virtual happy hours entered the picture! To connect people working from distance, make them get to know each other better, and strengthen the bond between them! This all translates into stronger company culture, teamwork, mutual support, and great productivity. Stick with us to learn how to host the best virtual happy hour!
What Is A ‘Virtual Happy Hour’?
So… you’ve heard of ‘happy hour’, right? Well, ‘virtual happy hour’ is just like that, but with a tech twist. Instead of meeting up in person, this activity gives you the possibility to catch up with your buds from all over the world through the magic of screens. And yes, considering that you’re of drinking age, you can totally still have a glass of wine (or two).
*Speaking of which, we have an awesome post on the best dinking ‘minute to win it’ games for adults. You might want to check it out!
Now, ‘happy hour’ is usually a post-work thing, happening on weekdays, from around 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. But don’t feel like you’re tied to that schedule for your virtual happy hour with your coworkers. Check in with your pals and see when everyone is free.
And when it comes to how long a virtual happy hour lasts, you can make it as long or as short as you like. Usually, it goes on for an hour or two, but it’s really up to you and your crew. Just make sure you’re all having fun and enjoying each other’s virtual company!
How To Host A Virtual Happy Hour?
1. Make your guest list
First things first, who will be on your guest list for this virtual shindig? You want to keep it chill enough that everyone gets some screen time, but not so small that the conversation dries up. A good range is usually between 5 and 20 people. Of course, you don’t need to worry about social distancing, but still, you’d like to keep it intimate so that people feel comfortable with each other.
2. Look for common ground
Now, you want to make sure your guests are going to vibe with each other because… ain’t nobody got time for awkward silences!
Think about what everyone has in common and what they might be into. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- If there’s one thing that brings people together, it’s chow time. Chat about food, your go-to recipes, or local restaurants you really love.
- Are you a die-hard fan of a certain team? Or maybe you’re just getting into a new sport? Whatever your level of fandom, talking sports is always a good idea during a virtual happy hour with your coworkers.
- If you’ve been reading something really interesting lately, feel free to share! Also, if you’ve been to any cool museums or galleries lately, recommend those to the group as well.
- Who doesn’t love a good binge-watch session? Swap recommendations for your favorite shows and movies during the virtual happy hour.
- Maybe someone’s taken up woodworking lately, or maybe someone’s trying to learn Italian or… Sanskrit. Share your passions and pick up some new ideas.
- Last, but not least… parenting is a wild ride. Yet, it’s a little less bumpy when you can commiserate with fellow moms and dads. Share your tips and tricks for surviving life with kids.
3. Put it on the calendar
Alrighty, now it’s time to mark the calendars! Nobody likes to miss out on a party, so make sure you take a look at your colleagues’ time zones beforehand. See when you overlap in terms of working hours and choose a time that allows all of them to be present.
Plus, a virtual happy hour is a perfect occasion to celebrate birthdays, milestones, holidays, or even National Pasta Day (*yes, that’s a real thing). Also, don’t forget to send out some funky invites to make it pop! You can keep it simple with an email, but why not go for a fun and eye-catching digital invitation instead?
4. Pick a theme for your gathering
The possibilities are endless, but we’ve got some hot picks for 2023: Halloween spooktacular, Christmas jolly hour, the 70s/80s/90s throwback bash, Roaring 20s flapper extravaganza, neon futuristic party, monochrome madness, black tie event, or even a random New Year’s Eve countdown. Feeling extra international? Host an international happy hour and celebrate different cultures and customs with your global team. The sky’s the limit, so let your imagination run wild!
5. Pick a platform for your virtual happy hour
Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and pick a platform for your virtual happy hour. With so many options out there, it’s hard to choose just one. But don’t sweat it, we’ve got some great suggestions to make your decision-making process a breeze.
Skype, Zoom, and Google Hangouts are all solid choices for your team to come together and have a blast. Whether you’re hosting a birthday bash, celebrating a milestone, or just looking for an excuse to drink with your colleagues, these platforms have got you covered.
- Skype is a user-friendly option that doesn’t require an account to use. You can easily control who’s allowed into the meeting, but keep in mind that it’s not end-to-end encrypted.
- Zoom, on the other hand, can accommodate up to 100 people and offers cool features like virtual backgrounds. However, watch out for uninvited guests crashing the party. And unless you have a business account, meetings of three or more are limited to 40 minutes.
- Finally, Google Hangouts offers seamless integration with other G Suite features, but guests must have a Gmail account to join.
6. Don’t forget about the drinks and snacks
Now that you’ve got your platform sorted, it’s time to think about drinks and snacks. No virtual happy hour is complete without some tasty treats and libations to sip on. From wine tastings to beer pairings and classic cocktails, there’s no limit to the fun you can have. And if you’re feeling lazy, why not try some all-in-one cocktails in a can? To complete the experience, be sure to indulge in some pint and plate pairings that will take your taste buds on a wild ride.
7. Break the ice
Nobody likes cringe conversations when showing up to a virtual happy hour, so don’t let them happen! Start with some quick icebreakers instead! We’ve got some great articles on the topic. Give them a shot:
- Best Icebreaker Questions For Virtual Meetings
- Best Icebreakers For Work
- 150 Fun Icebreaker Questions
- Riddles For Icebreakers: Clever, Fun, Easy & Tough
Virtual Happy Hour Games
1. Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Planning a scavenger hunt is fun. Playing it… it’s even better! And a virtual environment won’t stop you from making that happen! A virtual scavenger hunt is like a treasure hunt but in the digital world! It’s perfect for chilling and team building at the same time. You can play it with your buddies from afar, and all you need is a scavenger hunt list. Then, go on a hunt for the items on the list together.
2. Let’s Drink To That!
Cheers to virtual happy hours! You can play this virtual happy hour game with or without alcohol, but we all know how it’s way more fun. Start the game by picking a phrase that people will say frequently during your call. Some examples could be ‘No way!’, ‘Can you still see me?’, or anything related to ‘Internet connection’. When someone says the chosen phrase, everyone must shout, ‘Let’s drink to that!’ and take a sip of whatever they’re having. It’s a great choice for your virtual happy hour with your coworkers!
3. The Wikirace
Who knew that Wikipedia could be so much fun? Wikirace is a virtual happy hour game that challenges you to get from one Wikipedia page to another using only links on the page. You can play it with your friends or in teams. Start by selecting a random Wikipedia page as your beginning page, and then choose a destination page that’s completely unrelated to the first one. Let us give you some suggestions:
- Go from ‘Elon Musk’, to ‘Skydiving’.
- Go from ‘Adolf Hitler’, to ‘Nicki Minaj’.
- Go from ‘Potato’, to ‘Top billionaires in 2023’.
The goal is to reach the destination page by clicking on links within Wikipedia as quickly as possible. It’s like a race, and the first one or team to reach the destination page wins!
4. Would You Rather?
This is a classic icebreaker game that never gets old. It’s super easy and it’s a great ‘get to know each other’ activity for a virtual happy hour. Just ask whether they prefer option A or option B, and you’ll uncover fun truths, hidden passions, and curious interests. You can play it live or use a poll feature on your video software. Keep it light and fun, or keep a record of the answers on a digital whiteboard for people to connect over their similarities. Here are some of our suggestions for this game:
- Would you rather have a constant supply of the best coffee in the world at your office or a constant supply of the best snacks in the world at your home office?
- Would you rather get paid your entire salary plus benefits all at once for the year or get paid little by little throughout the year?
- Would you rather have way more work than you could ever accomplish in a day and be stressed or have hardly any work at all and be bored?
- Would you rather have a terrible boss but a great job or a great boss but a terrible job?
- Would you rather receive catered lunch every day at work but never get to choose what you order or cook your own lunch every day?
- Would you rather work an extra hour but get an hour of break time or work with no breaks but leave an hour earlier?
Ready for some risqué fun? Gather a group and decide who goes first. The player must choose between answering a question truthfully or performing a dare. Then the rest of the group or the previous player can come up with a question or task. After the question or task is carried out, the current player asks the next player ‘Truth or Dare?’, and the game continues. You can play it in a circle or let the current player choose the next player. And if you’re old enough, you can add some extra fun with alcohol. Go wild!
Here’s some inspiration for ‘truths’:
- What’s the biggest misconception about you?
- What’s the last thing you Googled?
- What are your thoughts on polyamory?
- Have you ever had a run in with the law?
And some inspiration for ‘dares’:
- Sing everything you say for the next ten minutes.
- Eat a snack without using your hands
- Post the oldest selfie on your phone on Instagram Stories
- Tell everyone an embarrassing story about yourself
6. This Or That?
If you want to create a stronger bond between you and your colleagues, this game is a perfect choice. It only takes 5 minutes, and players get to ask questions that will help them get to know each other better. Bonus, they will have a good laugh. Just choose between 2 options, ‘this’ or ‘that’. And if you have more time, play some variations like pairing people up and having them guess each other’s preferences.
Here are some ideas:
- Get €1,000 a week for the rest of your life or €1 million right now?
- Communism or capitalism?
- Free healthcare or free education?
- Take the red pill or the blue pill?
- Be a king in the middle ages or a normal person in the 21st century?
- Be a teacher in a high school or kindergarten?
- Dishwasher or tumble dryer?
7. The Birth Map
Energize the whole team with this 5-minute team building activity that will boost that community spirit. Open up Google Maps and create a digital ‘birth map’. Ask everyone to pin their name on the location they were born. This will show you how diverse your team is and give everyone a chance to learn more about each other.
8. Who’s Most Likely To?
It’s a super easy game and perfect for virtual happy hours. The leader asks a question and everyone votes on which team member is most likely to do that action. It’s a great way to get to know each other better!
We’ll help you out with some examples:
- Who is most likely to run a marathon?
- Who is most likely to become a social media influencer?
- Who is most likely to spend all weekend binging a new TV series?
- Who is most likely to never have kids?
- Who is most likely to be a member of the local art museum?
- Who is most likely to own her own farm in the country?
- Who is most likely to be the first to get married?
To make it even easier, you can use web conference software and create a poll template with everyone’s names. The player with the most votes each round has to take a drink or do some squats if you’re not drinking that day.
9. Two Truths And A Lie
‘Two Truths and a Lie’ is a classic icebreaker that works for people who already know each other a little bit! Split into breakout rooms and have each person say two truths and a lie about themselves. The others then have to guess which statement is the lie.
Get your artistic skills ready and have your teammates try and guess what you’re drawing. You can use a Pictionary word generator to come up with what you’ll be sketching.
11. Heads Up
‘Heads up’ is one of the best virtual happy hour activities and one of the best games to play on FaceTime. One player has to guess the mystery word on their head based on clues given by the others. You can choose from a wide range of topics, from celebrities to movies, soap operas, and books.
Hey there, have you ever played charades? It’s a classic game that’s sure to bring a smile to your face! And with the online version, you don’t need any fancy equipment, just your imagination and a charades idea generator to keep things interesting. If you’re up for a twist on the classic, why not try out ‘Fishbowl’? It’s like charades, but with a little bit of extra pizzazz! Check it out here: https://www.eteambuilding.org/fishbowl-game/.
13. 20 Questions
Looking for something to get your brain working? Look no further than ’20 Questions!’ One person thinks of a person, place, or thing, and the rest of the group has to guess what it is by asking up to 20 yes-or-no questions. It’s a great way to get everyone’s minds working and have a good laugh at the same time.
If you’re in the mood for some trivia, virtual pub trivia sessions are the way to go! Not only do you get to learn some fun facts, but you can also make it the star of your happy hour with different theme ideas like Movies and TV, Music, Decades, Geography, Animals, or Technology. And if you want to get everyone involved, why not have your coworkers contribute their own quiz questions based on their personal interests?
15. Something In Common
Looking for an icebreaker game to play during virtual happy hours? Something In Common is the perfect choice! Divide your group into breakout rooms and give them three minutes to find the three most unique things they have in common. It’s a great way to get to know your coworkers and find some common ground, just make sure to keep it interesting with unique answers!
16. Water Or Not Water
Gather shot glasses and fill some with a transparent alcoholic beverage and one with water. One person drinks a shot and decides whether the liquid was water or not. Everyone else tries to guess the truth based on their facial expressions.
17. Never Have I Ever
Get ready to bring back an old classic to your next virtual happy hour with ‘Never Have I Ever’. Take turns posing questions to see who has or hasn’t done it. If you have, take a drink. It’s a great way to learn more about your coworkers and their interests while having some fun. Just make sure to keep it light and avoid anything too troublesome!
Here are some examples:
- Never have I ever called in sick at work to attend an event.
- Never have I ever forgotten a coworker’s name.
- Never have I ever made my coworkers watch a YouTube video.
- Never have I ever snooped on a client’s social media.
- Never have I ever changed careers.
18. Appreciation Train
Who doesn’t love receiving compliments? In this team building activity, take turns praising each other and then choose someone who hasn’t received a compliment yet to give their own. The Appreciation Train is a fantastic way to show employee recognition and appreciation at a peer level. It’s great as a team building activity for couples, but it also works for your virtual happy hour crew!
Virtual Happy Hour Ideas
19. Tapas Night
Get ready to experience a taste of Spain with a virtual tapas night! These small, flavorful bites are the perfect pairing for a refreshing drink. So, turn up some lively flamenco music and bring the Spanish culture to your virtual happy hour! Feel free to go for any culture you wish! Have an ‘Aperitivo’ for an Italian evening, or cut some cheeses on a board and turn the virtual happy hour into a French classic!
20. Mixology Session
Ready to take your happy hour to the next level? Invite a professional mixologist to teach your team how to create delicious cocktails and mocktails during a virtual mixology session! Whether you stick to classic drinks or get creative with signature cocktails, this activity is sure to shake things up.
21. Indulge Your Sweet Tooth
Who says you can’t have dessert before dinner? Encourage your guests to indulge in a sweet treat together before diving into savory snacks or a meal at your virtual happy hour. After all, life is short – so why not start with something sweet?
22. Tour Your Favorite Room
Welcome your guests into your home, virtually, and give them a tour of your favorite room! Whether it’s your cozy book corner or your luxurious bathtub, show off your unique space and make your guests feel right at home. Who knows, they may even get some decorating inspiration!
23. Book Club
Join your fellow bookworms in a lively discussion on all things literary! Whether it’s your latest read on personal growth, your favorite team building books, or a classic novel, anything goes! Bonus points for anyone who can whip up a signature cocktail that pairs perfectly with the theme of the book.
24. Paint Night
Grab a canvas, some paints, and a glass of wine, and let’s get creative! No matter what your skill level is, painting is a therapeutic and fun activity that everyone can enjoy. Plus, you’ll have a masterpiece to show off at the end of the night.
25. Story Time
Everybody has a story to tell, and this is the perfect opportunity to share it! Whether it’s an unbelievable true story, a hilarious anecdote, or something completely random, let’s hear it! This is a great way to get to know your coworkers on a more personal level and have a good laugh.
26. Party Tricks Showcase
Do you have a hidden talent that nobody knows about? Maybe you can do a killer impression or a weird trick that never fails to impress. Let’s showcase these unique skills and have some fun! For those who are less confident, we can all attempt a mini-challenge together.
27. Netflix Party
Get cozy on your couch and binge-watch your favorite shows with your friends! With Netflix Party, you can watch together while chatting in real time. Let’s make this a weekly event to keep the good times rolling!
28. Virtual Beach Getaway
A good virtual happy hour idea is this beach getaway.
Ditch the office and take your team on a virtual vacation to a tropical paradise. Sip on some refreshing mocktails, close your eyes and imagine the warm sun on your skin and sand between your toes. Compete in a range of fun-filled activities that will have you feeling like you’re actually on vacation, including guessing travel destinations, movie trivia with a vacation twist, and jamming to summer hits!
29. Fundraising Virtual Happy Hour
Make a difference while having fun with your team by hosting a fundraising virtual happy hour. Swap the alcoholic drinks for delicious mocktails, and bring on the party games and challenges. Encourage team members to seek sponsors to support them as they compete in different activities. This is a fantastic opportunity to create a positive impact, raise awareness for a cause you care about, and have a blast with your colleagues.