Everyone loves a good party, even those of you who claim your wild partying days are behind you (cue eye-roll). And don’t think working in a virtual office will excuse you from being in the center of some creative virtual office party ideas.
Sure, you probably won’t be doing a keg stand with your fellow coworkers and managers in attendance, but there’s nothing to stop your imagination from taking over in other ways!
As Gloria Estefan put it, it’s party time! So I’m going to go into a few great virtual office party ideas for you to try out at your next meet up. Keep calm and party ON!
1 Virtual holiday Party Ideas for Work
The only rule to trying out virtual holiday party ideas is to follow the 3 I’s: inform, include and involve everyone! Here are a few ideas;
1.1 Virtual amazing escape
Playing a virtual escape game adventure brings teammates together where they can flex their creativity and problem solving abilities.The amazing escape sends your team on an adventure to solve a timed mystery or puzzle. Amazing escapes feature themed rooms. Guests can make their selection.The session is initiated and moderated by a session facilitator, who will provide instructions on call before sending the team to the room. There are usually clues or riddles to get you closer to the finish line. The best part about escape adventures, is that they’re designed for large teams, and several such teams can play separate themes at once!
1.2 Paired potluck
In a paired potluck, you can opt to assign co workers based on their relationship or at random. The latter would be a better option if you want to turn this party into an opportunity for them to get to know each other better. Citybrewtours do wine and cheese pairings which are live, virtual guided tours. The events include custom tasting boxes that participants receive before the event. If you want to start small and keep this within the team, you can instead have the assigned pair exchange their recipes. Once everyone has their recipes, they will need to recreate it in their kitchens and present it as a group on a call!
1.3 Virtual scavenger hunt
You cannot go wrong organizing a virtual scavenger hunt, because everyone likes that Aha! Moment when you find a hidden item from the list. You can play themed scavenger hunts, where everyone has to find an item related to a certain theme. For example, if you’re playing a beach scavenger hunt, the items to find before the timer’s up can include a pail, sand, swimsuits or sun hats!
1.4 Netflix Series Party
All of us have a Netflix series favorite. You could do a cosplay party where everyone dresses up as a character from their show. To play, select the top 5 series all or some are watching or are familiar with. You can either announce who you’re going as, or unveil it on the day of the party where your coworkers have to guess who you’re supposed to be.
1.5 Dance/ Nightclub Party
Turn your virtual office into a dance floor with a DJ. You can even hang a fake disco ball and dim the lights to create the nightclub ambience. Have everyone turn their camera on and step away from their desk as the DJ begins the countdown to the first song. Family members or housemates too can join in on the fun!
1.6 Virtual Karaoke
If you weren’t in a band back in school or university, here’s your chance to go on a virtual stage and perform! A virtual karaoke is conducted via meeting platforms and can be facilitated either externally or self. The host will moderate the session, take participants through the rules and display the song selections. Ask around if anyone has access to a song’s lyrics that they’d like the group to sing.
When the hour’s up, you can hold the session over Zoom or via the Karaoke Online Chrome extension. It features an extensive playlist where the lyrics appear on screen as you’re sharing it, enabling participants to give the song their all!
1.7 Host an Online Talent show
Who on your team is a talented singer, bassist, painter, dancer or woodworker? Host a virtual talent show to give everyone a fair shot at showing their teammates their hobbies and personal interests! For those of you who tend to get stage fright, the good thing about an inhouse talent show event is that you can do it at home without everyone’s physical presence overwhelming you. When you’re at ease, you’ll be better able to finish your performance!
1.8 Let’s play Bingo
The team played Bingo virtually last Friday on Microsoft Teams and it was a lot of fun! Our HR sent out lotto tickets individually and privately the day before. We convened in the evening and went over the rules for a full house, Early Fives and four corners. As the numbers were called out, the team began crossing them off on their ticket. We got 3 full houses and 2 early-fives. It brought back memories of family get-togethers in the ‘90s where someone broke out a deck of cards or played bingo in a circle!
1.9 Plan a Murder mystery
A ‘Whodunnit?’ is a naturally fun and exciting way to encourage teamwork among members. There are plenty of remote murder mystery adventure specialists out there, such as Ghost Ship mysteries, Dr. Ness and Outback. The games I found most intriguing, however, was Murder in Ancient Egypt and Murder in the Queen’s court, both of which are hosted by Team Building. If you want to have fun while uncovering a historical fact related to the event, look no further!
1.10 Conduct a Wine tasting tour
If a tour around a vineyard and watching a sommelier in action has been on your or someone else’s bucket list, here’s your chance to experience the online version! A virtual wine tasting will take you through the production, bottling and tasting of wines, both red and white, depending on the package you prefer.
A Wine tasting is unlike any other virtual experience in that the team will get to sample wines from exotic locations without having to be in them in-person.
1.11 Play Jeopardy with the team online
Jeopardy! Is a widely televised American trivia game developed by Merv Griffin in the mid-60s.Today, Jeopardy! Is available online and via game apps on mobile. The format of online jeopardy is that players get general knowledge clues to which they should frame their responses. You can pit your wits against everyone else and see who knows their world affairs well! Most games are offered as Factiles, Multiple-choice or hints.
1.12 Game Night (and Face) On!
No virtual office party is complete without playing a diverse mix of online games, be it for large groups, small teams or an entire unit. Make virtual game night interesting with prizes based on the person who wins most games, or at least one game. When we had a virtual game night, we played games such as Spymaster, Prison Break and even pictionary using Skribbl.io to guess the object from the freehand drawing!
1.13 Halloween Costume
This is one of the best virtual office party ideas to bring out people’s creativity. Have everyone dress up in spooky costumes and announce a prize for the most terrifying costume ever. The prize can be a gift receipt or voucher that they can redeem at online stores. Remote employees can dress up as mummies, Frankenstein, Annabelle or any other character. Bonus points if they can also fashion props such as paper skulls, black cat drawings and pumpkin cut outs to set the mood. Conduct a round-the-circle storytime where everyone shares creepy stories, or play a round of trick-or-treat.
1.14 Secret Santa
Secret Santa office parties are just as fun online as they are in-person! Set a budget for gifts and use sites like Elfster to draw names. I like what Arcanis has come up with, though, because it does not collect and store names forever like other applications. It’s a random name generator that lets you enter your team’s name and copy the links over to send to them (don’t worry, the others won’t be able to find out pairings or swap for someone else).
Social booth is a photobooth software that you can install on your machine to snap crazy, clownish photos of the team. Have everyone make silly faces at each other or at the camera and let the software do the rest!
1.16 Spymaster Party
The Sorry,On Mute team clued me in on a Spymaster game they recently stumbled played. It’s conducted by codenames and splits teams into two. Each team has a spymaster. The person who elects themselves to be the Spymaster has to give their team a one-word clue and the team has to guess which tile matches the clue. You have to manually end the guessing to let the next team’s turn The team that gets all the tiles right wins!
The Werewolf game assigns 4 roles to players at random. The choices are werewolf, villager, medic and seer. A random generator tool can facilitate the game’s online version. The werewolf eats other players, villagers vote on who they think the werewolf is, medics rescue the player and seers can reveal if the player guessed to be the werewolf really is one.
This game works better if you set the right scene for it. You can use sound effects such as a wolf howl, thunder or crickets chirping. The game master calls the werewolf to select a victi. The medic hasto point to a person to save and the seer reveals whether the person is a werewolf or not, which the game master confirms with a nod or a shake. Then, the game master announces whether the werewolf successfully ate a villager. This is a party game that will keep everyone debating and guessing!
1.18 Puppet theater
This is one of the virtual office party ideas I can’t wait to try out myself! A puppet theater set has a plot, character and voices. It is a team building activity that relies on teamwork. Just as you would a real play, each person can be in charge of something. For example, someone from the marketing team can write the story, while the creative team can design puppets out of socks or gloves. As fun as it is, it’s a great way to bring everybody together.
1.19 Cards against humanity
Want to make everyone laugh till their sides hurt? Why not download the cards against humanity pack and see just how rude and sarcastic everyone’s sentences get?
1.20 Caroling Karaoke party
A virtual karaoke party is a great way to help everyone let go of any inhibition. You can start with either a Christmas carol list of songs, if you want easily accessible lyrics. If the team wants to select jazz, blues, country or pop, let them! The only rule is that everyone has access to the lyrics and video or audio to know how the song goes.
1.21 Holiday in Hawaii
You know those animated background options that appear on Zoom or Skype? You could have everyone set their background to the palm beach theme and dress in loud colors. Participants to this virtual office party can also mix their own drinks, wear Hawaiian floral garland (known as Lei) and start a discussion. If you really want to get into the beach mood,I recommend checking out Neal’s deep-sea project!
1.22 Boozy Pictionary
If you want to see who can keep a clear head even with a few drinks in them, Boozy Pictionary is the way to go! Split teams as you would in an actual pictionary game, and whoever guesses wrong has to take a sip of their alcoholic drink. The team that ends up drinking the most is the losing team (sorry, guys, we didn’t specify who Boozy Pictionary would be more fun for!)
1.23 Putting the pieces together
If you loved spending hours fitting jigsaw puzzles together, then you’re sure to love a trip down memory lane with virtual jigsaw games! There are both free and paid puzzles, the former can be downloaded from Microsoft. The remote and distributed team can issue daily challenges and invite a coworker to compete to complete the puzzle in a certain amount of time. We experimented with a free jigsaw from Ravensburger featuring a butterfly and it was both engrossing and relaxing. You can start a new game and see the percentage of progress on the top left side of the pane.
2 Bonus Virtual Party Ideas for Work
2.1 Virtual Dinner Party Ideas
2.1.1 Who has the best fast food order?
I got this idea from a Buzzfeed (India) video I’d watched recently. The Buzzfeed crew sampled their coworker’s orders and scored their favorite one on a scale of 20. The order with the highest mark was the winner. I felt that the theme is in line with throwing the team a virtual dinner party! You can play the remote version of this competition. Ask participants to pick a fast food chain of their choice and set an ordering budget.
They can either swap orders and rate each other, or be randomly assigned a member’s order to sample, rate and guess who it belongs to. If your budget allows for it, you can play it exactly like Buzzfeed and have everyone taste the same orders in terms of taste, packaging, portion size and whether they’d order it again.
2.1.2 Cuisine exchange
Another food-related exchange to play as a virtual dinner party idea would be to have everyone swap a daily dish or comfort food recipe with each other. The pairings can be based on people’s dietary preferences and availability of ingredients. This is a great game that even internationally located offices can take part in. Someone from the U.S office, for example, can learn how to make Miso soup while sharing a recipe for a Philly Cheese Steak with their Japanese counterpart. The two can film themselves recreating the dishes in their kitchen and present the dish to everyone at a meeting!
2.1.3 How many popcorn kernels can you eat in a minute?
This is a fun minute-to-win-it game that challenges players to eat as many popcorn kernels, crisps or fries in 60 seconds.the players have to pick the kernels or chips up one by one to make it easier for the others to see how many are down!
2.2 Virtual Farewell party ideas
2.2.1 Pajama party
Pajamas are the new work suits, so your party goers have the dress code down pat, at least! Host a pajama party where the theme is”casual” and everyone is in lounge wear. You can also decide on a movie or series episode to livestream that everyone can watch together. A movie night with popcorn and the works is just what your coworkers need to unwind as a group before bidding goodbye to a coworker who’s leaving the firm!
2.2.2 Virtual mixology classes
If you can’t make it to happy hour, keep the drinks coming with a happy hour cocktail kit under the supervision of a professional mixologist! Sign the team up for mixology lessons so that they can learn how to make their favorite drink with a personal twist. The Vendry offers 46 of the choicest mixology classes in and around the U.S. Krafty Labs, HostEvents and drinkmasterbartending are other options to try, where you can book your class and have the mixology kit shipped to individuals. Events cost between $400 to 1000 depending on the number of cocktails in the package you book and duration.
2.2.3 Who has the highest spice tolerance?
Another Buzzfeed original! The spice tolerance challenge will test your colleague’s limits by presenting them with spicy foods in increasing order of heat levels. The question is, who will reach for the glass of milk first?
The rules are simple. Contestants arrange the food items in front of the camera and eat it systematically from the least to most spicy. They can have a glass of milk or ice cream on standby in case things get a little heated! But if anyone reaches for the glass in a round then they can’t advance to the next round. Keep doing this till someone makes it to the final round (hopefully with their senses intact!). The contestants have autonomy in deciding what foods to eat so long as everybody is able to buy the items before the challenge starts. To set the bar at a comfortably competent high, we suggest including the following
2.2.4 Macaroni Art
Macaroni art is usually a classroom art and crafts activity for young children. But who says only children can stick artwork on the family fridge? Bid your colleague farewell with a work of macaroni art. You can use either dry or parboiled pasta shells and stick them onto a pencil sketch of a subject. You can ship your creations to the colleague, who can look at it whenever they think of you. It’ll also give them something to talk about when they have visitors over!
2.3 Virtual Work Anniversary Ideas
2.3.1 Give them a day off
What better way to celebrate a virtual work anniversary than to announce you’re giving your teammate the day off? If the work anniversary falls on a weekend or public holiday, the employee can opt to take the next day off for an even longer time off.
2.3.2 Master of the day
The master of the day is a fun activity where the person whose work anniversary it is, gets to command the office for that day. Everyone on the team has to do what they say (within reason, of course!). Funny suggestions include
- Doing desk exercises for 10 minutes.
- Taking a silly selfie and posting it on the group chat
- Office charades
- Making a chai or coffee the way your coworker takes it.
2.3.3 Pick your next office
Even if the celebration is virtual, it’s fun for everyone to choose the type of office they’d want to work in.The Officefinder offers 360-degree virtual tours of real office spaces that let viewers experience what it’s like walking across a lobby, or waiting in the reception area. I quite liked the digital tour of the MeadowCreek Business Center that I clicked on. This work anniversary idea isn’t limited to space renters only. You can also create your own office VR experience as a gift for those employees who miss being at work.You can film your current office space from different angles and upload the footage on an interactive VR platform like Eevo.
2.3.4 Sandwich tower
Create a sandwich tower with fillings of your choice. The rule is that your tower should stand without being held in place by toothpicks or any other placeholder. You’ll need
- A loaf of bread
- Condiments of your choosing (vegetarian or non-vegetarian)
- A serving tray
Set a time limit of 30 minutes to make the sandwiches and an extra 5 or 10 minutes for everyone to stack the tower up. They can be near the creation to ensure it doesn’t fall over when they’re creating it but they have to step back once the countdown ends. I’d say that everyone’s a winner if there’s food at the end of it!
2.4 Virtual Retirement Party Ideas
2.4.1 You’ve got mail
I’d talked about a mailbox eruption before and I’ll say it again- how cool would it be to have a mailbox full of wishes from your coworkers? Since we’re talking virtual retirement, you’re unlikely to be able to drop by and pay a social visit in person. You can instead arrange to mail cards to your retiring coworker’s physical address. Coordinate with everyone to send it out in unison so that they are more likely to receive the cards at once or within a few days.
Gift your soon-to-be retired coworker a book full of everyone’s autograph. This autograph book can be filled with thoughtful quotes or funny anecdotes that your colleague can read at leisure.Invite everyone to contribute using a Doc or Presentation and design it the way you would an eBook!
2.4.3 Roast or Toast
A roast is a panel of coworkers, colleagues, managers or even friends and family members who gently tease the outgoing employee. Remember to keep it respectful and impersonal. If the idea of roasting your coworker doesn’t appeal, you can opt to toast to their future happiness!
2.4.4 Dress up as your coworker
Does your colleague have a particular dressing sense? Why not wear outfits that are their style! and turn on your camera to show them how their look looks on you?
2.5 Virtual Baby Shower Ideas
2.5.1 The price is right
This is a popular guessing game people play at virtual baby showers, where the guests have to guess the price of different baby gifts. From bassinets and strollers to overnight bags, the person who is able to get most prices right wins the game!
2.5.2 Baby bingo
Create bingo cards with baby-related terms, such as diapers, rattle, playpen, naptime etc. The usual rules of bingo apply such as the Early 5, 4 corners and full house, until someone gets a full house!
2.5.3 Make a doughbaby
This challenge may leave the mum-to-be and her partner in splits! Everyone has to position themselves in front of the camera with readymade dough. On the count of three, everyone attempts to shape their dough to resemble a baby in any position- asleep, playing or in motion. The doughbaby that looks closest to an actual baby wins!
2.5.4 Guess the baby photo
Collect everyone’s baby pictures beforehand in a secret chat and save them in a folder. Share your screen with the expecting mum and have her try to guess who the baby in the picture is.
3 Tips to Make Virtual Holiday Parties Even More Fun
Institute a suggestion box
Suggestions should be welcome and everyone should have a say in what they’d like to see at the party. Websites like the custominsight or suggestionox can help users anonymously enter ideas. To make the process of deciding on the games and activities fair, let everyone vote on the top 3 or 5 games that sound interesting and fun to them. The games that get maximum votes get picked!
Decide on a theme
A theme helps everyone get into the mood to party, be it a scavenger hunt, holiday party or attire. When everyone complies, it is also a show of a united front!
Set a budget for gifting options
Always, ALWAYS ask what amount employees would be comfortable spending out of their pockets before deciding on a budget. Stick to a safe lower and upper limit so that no one goes overboard or spends too little.
It’s not a party if you’re still having some hang ups, is it? Remember, the reasons to have a party are threefold: to get everyone to mingle, take a well-deserved break from work-related discussions, and to give you a high from the fun!
4.1 What are some tips to make virtual holiday parties even more fun?
- Institute a suggestion box
- Decide on a theme
- Stick to a dress code
- Set a budget for gifting options
- Let Loose!
4.2 Virtual Office Party Ideas for Your Boss
- Online birthday party online
If your boss or manager has a birthday coming up, gather the team together to spring a surprise for him or her on their special day! If you don’t already know when it is, you’ll need to be crafty about extracting this information out of them without rousing their suspicions! Start a group call, and then message your boss about a pretend work-emergency. Add them to it so that everyone else can shout their greeting!
- Gratitude party
Thank your boss for being supportive and for having your back with a gratitude party. Come up with a list of things they’d like and set a budget. If the entire team reports to the same boss, you can split expenses amongst members so that everyone gets a specific item. Put together a basket and ship it to your boss. You can hint to them to expect a delivery so that they’ll be home when it reaches their door.
- Milestone party
Thank your boss on a call by reading out loud what you’re grateful for about having them on your side. You can either do this privately or on a group-call with everyone else taking turns to recall a memorable time or goal that your boss was part of. Fair warning, it may turn on the waterworks, so you’ll be glad you can always excuse yourself by turning your camera off.
4.3 How to Establish a Socially Distant Office Party Plan
How regularly you communicate indicates how involved and informed everyone else feels. It’s easy to miss out on remote workers because they’re not in your direct line of sight, but it’s all the more reason to make sure noone misses important announcements, updates and changes to activity. If you’re moving a party up, or postponing it, it needs to be conveyed so that no one is caught unawares (this is literally the worst kind of surprise to spring on someone, so don’t unconsciously do it!).
These virtual office party ideas are a great way to help you and your team relax and engage. If you’re not the games facilitator, don’t be afraid to get in there and compete with your team members. So, which idea are you excited to try out?