Okay, you caught me, I enjoy the occasional drink once in a while. Now that we’re all working remotely, it’s been a year since all of us hung out together at a local joint after work, and I miss it! A few teammates I’ve been venting to about this suggested trying out a few virtual team happy hour ideas.
Even dispersed, it’s vital for managers to come up with ways to keep their team united. And if the boss gives you the greenlight to drink, who would pass up that opportunity? Kidding aside, remote happy hours let remote teams catch up with each other in a relaxed, social setting.
In this post, I’ll go into the virtual happy hour games and ideas you can try out to keep the tradition alive!
1. What are virtual happy hours with coworkers?
Virtual happy hours are social events conducted online over Skype’s Meet Now, Zoom, Microsoft teams and Zoom. They’re also called online or remote happy hours.
The term happy hours is coined by marketers to advertise specific times in which customers can get discounted or free refreshments from establishments. Virtual happy hours differ from remote happy hours in that they are intended for WFH employees and are part of a workplace’s relationship building activities.
You can even opt to host a non-boozy virtual team happy hour. The goal is for everyone to let down their hair and have some fun. Virtual team happy hour ideas for games and activities are intended to take this engagement up and help teams from different departments get to know one another.
2. 18 Zoom happy hour ideas for work
2.1 An Around The World Virtual Escape
Why not take your team building up a notch and treat your remote team to a virtual trip to France, Italy, or Spain! Create a virtual travel extravaganza where coworkers can “travel” from home or office to a virtual destination with no passport required. Begin with a Party in Paris with a Parisian. Or gather everyone around for an Unforgettable Fiesta in Barcelona. Or “race around” your home on a Santa Mozzarella! Scavenger hunt In Italy. Not travelling has never been this fun!
2.2 Artsy show and tell
Conduct an art gallery of your own and start a race where everyone competes to create something artistic. It can be a drawing or something handmade that shows off their ability to crochet, design or write (a short story, fake news or a poem!).
You can set a time limit and give them a theme that the final result has to fall in line with. They can work individually or split into smaller groups to work on one artsy piece together. They then take turns explaining what they’ve come up with and why. The individual or group with the best display wins!
2.3 Lip Read Battle
I got this idea from the Whisper Challenge Jimmy Fallon and Rebel Wilson played. The two took turns mouthing words while the other slipped on a pair of headphones that played loud music. They had to guess what the other was saying, and the guesses had Jimmy and the audience in splits!
The lip-read battle has to be played with video on in order to be able to watch the speaker’s lip movements closely. Here’s how it goes; the player mutes himself or herself. Run a test where you say something and type into the chat window to ask by a show of hands if anyone heard anything. If the responses come back in the negative, then you’re good to start the game.
Everyone says something while muted and the unmuted attendees have to guess what it is. Each attendee gets two or three guesses until the player unmutes themselves to reveal what they were actually saying!
2.4 Music and Drink Pairing
Spark a conversation by asking everyone what they think are good playlists to go with the drink in their hand. They can debate over their choices and find teammates with similar tastes. It’ll be interesting to see where the discussion ends up!
2.5 Virtual Mixology
If you want to see what life is like on the other side of the bar, sign your organization up for a custom mixology kit and have it delivered to all! Sourced Social, for example, delivers to select cities in the U.S and Amazon has an interesting 12-piece bar set. Source’s mixologists will teach everyone to make a mocktail and share some fun trivia with the team.
Once everyone confirms that their kit has reached them, you can organize the session with the mixologist or host it yourself. Make it interesting with a competition to create a fancy new drink. The drinks should have a fancy name too!
It’ll be a hoot seeing everyone’s face furrowed in concentration as they vigorously shake their cocktail mixing glass! Whoever comes up with the most creative drink wins, and everyone else should raise a glass to toast to their teammates’ bartending skills!
2.6 Ridiculous Talent Show
What ridiculous-sounding talent do your teams secretly have? Find out by putting together a talent show! It can be anything, from enacting a character from F.R.I.E.N.D.S, House M.D or Gilmore Girls perfectly to singing tunes with their tongue rolled up (this one’s me! I found out that rolling my tongue didn’t hamper the singing, it just made me look sillier!
2.7 How well do you know me?
There’s some pregame prep work for you to do. Create a list of questions to ask all your team members, such as
- What form of exercise or workout do you like?
- What’s your favourite brand of clothing/shoes?
- Who is your celebrity crush?
Record the responses privately and then divide the team into groups of players. You can reveal the answer and the question it was for, and then have everyone guess who could have given this particular answer. If someone manages to match most, or all of the guesses to the right person, he or she wins!
If you wish to make it easier, simply have everyone prepare a list of questions and quiz each other.
2.8 Virtual trivia
Conduct a trivia night using templates from Teambuilding. They’ve also listed sites and mobile-friendly app games that your team can log in to play. I liked the sound of Crowdpurr because you can create your own trivia game for free.
2.9 Scavify scavenger hunt
The Scavify app creates experiences that engage your team and encourage members to work together in the hunt. You can create a list of challenges and release them to the team. The app opens to a dashboard from where you can see how individuals are tracking the challenges posted. For each challenge completed, they’ll earn rewards that stroke their competitive spirit to finish as many challenges as quickly as possible!
Skribbl is a free drawing game where you just need to enter your name and join aboard. Someone will draw on it and there’ll be a clue on the top right with one letter filled in. Whoever guesses the word before the clock stops ticking scores! All the scores are displayed at the end. We played this on a fun-Friday catch-up and had a great time. I couldn’t decide what was funnier, the drawings or the guesses!
2.11 Happy Hour Karaoke
Virtual team karaoke is always good fun and can help people loosen up a little. There’s a free Chrome extension that the team can add to their browser and sing to their heart’s content. Or, if you want to splurge a little, why not sign them up for Karafun? For just $5, you get 2-day access to online playlists, complete with lyrics and singer management!
2.12 Who murdered Neil Davidson?
There’s a dead man and 6 suspects at large. But which one of them is Neil Davidson’s killer? You and the team can use the process of elimination and follow the trail leading up to the murder by playing TorontoTeambuilding’s clue-based murder mystery! To get your curiosity up, here’s a brief clip of the 9-1-1 call Neil’s wife made after finding him.
2.13 Guess what’s hidden or missing
This is a game that lets you see if everyone’s paying attention while on the call! Have the attendees pick a random item in their surroundings to hide. Everyone should turn off their cameras for 30 to 45 seconds while they go about hiding it.
The item should be something you would see clearly when the call begins, such as a lamp, or a painting hanging on the wall. When the camera is back on, you can go turn by turn guessing who hid what from view. Everyone gets 2 guesses before moving on to the next person.
2.14 The Ridiculous tale
This game can be played in two ways. One is to have everyone craft a story from start to finish without looking up any sources online. Award extra points to anyone managing to make the story take a funny or ridiculous turn.
The second way is to play the Ruined Paradise game. Divide the team into two, called The Paradise and the Ruined Team. Both the teams alternate the story, with team Paradise making the story positive, uplifting and funny while team Ruined makes the story negative and unpleasant. At the end of it, an impartial judge will decide if Paradise is ruined, or not!
2.15 Never have I ever: Lockdown Edition
Most of us have experienced what it’s like to be on lockdown or in quarantine. The lockdown edition can be as funny as you’d like it to be! Ask the participants to respond to Never Have I Ever statements such as ‘ Gone a day without showering, or ‘ Made breakfast while on a work call’ and watch the guilty raise their hands!
2.16 The fake fortune teller
Don’t believe in fortune tellers? Makeup fortunes instead! Let everyone pair off with their favourite coworkers and give them a reading. The only rule is that the predictions should be in good taste. For example, if you know payday is nearing, the fortune can be that the teller sees a financial windfall in the future!
If the idea of a fake fortune coming out true is a little unnerving, stick to Magic-8 predictions!
2.17 Cookoff/ Bake-off
Organize a cook-off or bake-off for the team. Arrange for it to happen towards the end of the week so that staff are truly free and able to participate. The rules are simple;
- All the ingredients should be easily available or lying around in their kitchen.
- The recipe should be simple to follow and recreate within the given time.
- Extra points for plating and presentation.
You can either have everyone create the same dish, or give them a list of recipe dishes to choose from.
2.18 If I had a drink every time
There are a few business phrases everyone hates hearing on repeat, some of which include ‘ let’s circle back’, and ‘give it 110%’. If you, or someone you know is guilty of using these sentences often, the penalty is to down a drink, alcoholic or non-alcoholic!
2.19 Silly Accents
Recite a passage from a book or movie script in the silliest imitation of an accent that you can muster! It can be a Texan drawl, or something you come up with on the spot!
1. What do you say on Zoom Happy Hour?
You can say the following in Zoom happy hour activities-
- Announce housekeeping rules at the start before getting into any games.
- Start the conversation with some icebreakers.
- Ask how everyone has been doing and what have they been upto over the weekend. Make sure the entire group gets to respond to the questions. Keep the tone casual and humorous.
2. How do you make virtual happy hour fun?
Happy hours can be made fun virtually by playing a mix of icebreaking and team building activities. You can opt to have it as a boozy or non-boozy event depending on the meeting participants’ preferences. Such team-building activities can be easily unified into employee engagement software to make them more organized and easier to execute especially for large-scale organizations. The software can be used to enhance communication through chat or messaging apps and specific non-work channels for employees. Sorry, I was on Mute offers one such integrated platform that can be used to acknowledge and reward excellent work or contributions at an individual or team level across your organization. Make accurate data-driven decisions based on the in-depth reports and analytical information that this software provides to create customized rewards and recognitions. You can then take it one step further and align these with your company mission and value system to create a dynamic performance recognition center.
3. How do I host a Zoom Happy Hour?
- Schedule the meeting for a time and send the meeting code by email or text to the participants in advance.
- Remind them in a common group to join in and ensure they are aware of what the meeting is for.
- Start the session only after confirming everyone is let in and are able to hear and see you.
- Time the games and activities planned so that everyone gets a fair shot without the meeting time overrunning.
- Take feedback at the end of the meet so that you know how the attendees felt. If the responses are positive, you can think about planning a future meet!
4. What virtual happy hour games can you play as a large group?
There are several virtual happy hour games large groups can play, which include breaking out of virtual escape rooms,solving murder mysteries or playing drinking games. A few from this list that we recommend would be The Ruined Paradise, Scavify and the lip read or whisper challenge!