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12 Excellent Ideas for Your Next Virtual Coffee Break to Perk Teams

By Preethi Jathanna

Senior Writer for HR and Remote Work

Reviewed by Kara Funk

Senior HR Consultant, People & Culture

12 Excellent Ideas for Your Next Virtual Coffee Break to Perk Teams

If you’re in a remote setup now, but miss those awesome office coffee breaks, where the aroma of coffee filled the air, and you could bond with your coworkers over the perfect cup? Guess what? A virtual coffee break is just what you need. This digital version offers the same opportunity to remote workers to connect and chat, just like they would during a regular coffee break at the office. More than offering a caffeine boost,  these virtual java breaks are a way to build connections with colleagues, swap stories, share tidbits, and simply unwind.

In this article, we take you through a range of exciting virtual coffee break ideas, so grab your favorite coffee mug and read more to find out!

1. What Does a Virtual Coffee Break Mean?

A virtual coffee break is a digital version of a traditional coffee break that employees take in an office. Remote employees can use this break time, which usually spans from 15 to 30 minutes, to have casual chit-chats with coworkers or even arrange fun games and activities. While the word "coffee" is part of the title, it is perfectly cool if you prefer sipping on tea, hot chocolate, or even a fancy turmeric latte.

The goal is to create an opportunity for employees to break away from the monotony of daily work while hanging out virtually in a more entertaining and social way. Some casual and fun virtual coffee break ideas, such as online quizzes, games, or opportunities to learn something new, may seem like simple pastimes, but they can significantly benefit your business. 

2 Virtual Coffee Break Ideas for Work

2.1. Trivia Games

trivia games

Everyone loves a classic trivia game, and the fun-filled competitive nature of this game makes it a perfect choice to consider for virtual coffee break ideas. You could include virtual coffee breaks topics such as History, Movies, Music, TV shows, Celebrities, Geography, Sports or General knowledge. 

Last time, we picked “Guess the Movie'' as a theme. Our colleague, who is a self-confessed cinephile, gave us clues, and we had to guess the movie. We received three clues: ‘Jordan Belfort,’ ‘drugs,’ and ‘stockbroking.’ It took us just 5 seconds to guess “The Wolf of Wall Street” since one of our teammates already watched it four times! Overall, it was great fun, and we kept the virtual coffee chat questions light and engaging!

Looking for engaging and fun questions to ask during coffee chats with employees? Contact Hooray Teams for a customized trivia experience across various categories and turn your coffee chats both entertaining and engaging!

2.2. Icebreaker Activity

Icebreaker Activity

Icebreaker questions are an excellent way to have a virtual coffee chat with employees, and you can easily use them to spark up any virtual coffee break event. Whether your team is new or has been together for ages, kickstart your virtual meetings with some quick icebreakers to bring in some cheerful vibes. Some icebreaker questions for coffee chat that you can ask during virtual coffee breaks are:

  • Are you finding the work-from-home engaging or willing to be back in the office? How about a balance of the two?
  • What’s the biggest challenge, according to you, while working remotely?
  • Do you have a home office at your place?
  • What is your daily routine while working from home?
  • How do you stay productive and motivated working virtually?
  • Do you like taking tea, coffee, green tea, or any other beverage to keep your energy high?
  • Are you an early bird or a night owl?
  • Which web series are you watching these days? Do you like binge-watching?
  • Which kind of movies do you like the most? Thriller, Romantic, Comedy, Romcom, or any other?

Want to extend the fun with longer icebreaker activities? Reach out to Hooray Teams for engaging and customized icebreaker games that your team will love!

2.3. Kickstart a Book Club

For the bibliophiles in your team, you could start a reading club, allowing employees to share the recent book(s) they’re reading with the group. A reading club creates awareness around the value of reading and allows book enthusiasts to have interesting discussions on themes, plots, character developments, and much more. You may even get the non-readers to join and get into the reading habit as well!

Here are three book recommendations that are excellent for coffee chat ideas

  1. "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni: This book provides insights into common pitfalls and strategies for building a cohesive and effective team.
  2. "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman: This book can stimulate discussions on cognitive biases and how they may impact team dynamics.
  3. "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" by Daniel H. Pink: This book examines motivation and can spark conversations about how to keep teams engaged and inspired.

2.4. TEDx-Style Talks

Bring the excitement and inspiration of TEDx Talks to your virtual workspace. 

Have a few mentors or volunteers share their career journey, college, or even fun stories from childhood. Encourage speakers to present as if they are on a stage and ask them to share their side hustle stories, hurdles that they faced, or any other virtual coffee break topics they are comfortable discussing. This creates a bond between the employees, gives them a morale boost, and enhances team building as well. 

One of our teammates gave a short ‘speech’ for about 10 minutes on "how I started my career as a remote team manager 5 years ago". This also helped us learn a lot about our teammates’ journeys through their stories, which we would have for the coffee chat Tedx-style talks! 

2.5. Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt

If you are up for some adventurous coffee hour ideas, host a scavenger hunt for your teammates. This activity adds an element of thrill and engagement, making your time together more dynamic and memorable. The host (can be yourself or any pre-decided employee) asks the players to fetch a household item, and the first one to grab all the right items wins the game. 

There could be fun items such as a plant, an album CD (Gen Zs, you know what a CD is, right?), something from the kitchen like a wooden ladle, cumin powder, or even your pet! These kinds of fun and easy virtual coffee break games are perfect for teams to bond, collaborate, and strategize. 

2.6. Organize a Poetry Slam

Everyone loves poetry in one form or the other. Some like writing prose down, while others like reciting it. A poetry slam is a great virtual coffee break idea for all poetry lovers to bring them together. Find out who enjoys poetry and make a note of those who can compose poems. To make it even more interesting, consider using some fantastic poetry apps like Hello Poetry, Poetizer or Miraquill

Send out a coffee break invitation and let them read out poetry themselves or share the screen for others to read. This way, everyone can get to know each other’s taste in poetry and enjoy the coffee break to the fullest. Enthusiasts could discuss the poem’s analysis as well.

2.7. DIY Activities 

For those who enjoy experimenting with new recipes or craft ideas for their home, this is an opportunity to share their passions with the group! Hold a session where employees discuss innovative recipes, dishes from their culture/ country, hand-made crafts, or even DIY hacks for their homes. This can bring out the creative side of employees as they share their ideas and even review DIY hacks on the internet together and find out if they work. 

One of our team members shared his favorite “Baked Macaroni and Cheese” recipe, and it turned into a sensation. Everyone tried cooking it and found it so delicious. Then came “Vegetarian Tacos with Avocado Sauce,” a 15-minute recipe from another worker, and both the recipes were sumptuous. 

For more hands-on and engaging DIY coffee break themes for your virtual coffee break, check out Hooray Teams' offerings like Painting a Tote Bag from Home, DIY Terrarium (Plant) or Virtual Pasta making at Home.

2.8. Host a Short Movie/Video/ 3D Tour

Host a Short Movie

The idea of Netflix with your co-workers and a smashing cup of coffee sounds tempting. Employees could also gather and watch a video on YouTube or an OTT platform such as Netflix/ Prime/ Hulu. You can decide upon a video or show beforehand and share the link via your virtual coffee break platform. You could choose an inspirational video documentary or a comedy show to lighten the mood. Michael Scott fans, anyone?

The SIWOM team watched this documentary featuring Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) for one of our virtual coffee breaks. As one of the best coffee break ideas for work, we played a 12-minute video that inspired us to pursue our dreams no matter what. 

2.9. Virtual Coffee Tasting 

Wondering which coffee to drink during your virtual coffee break session? If you are confused, we advise you to take this chance to figure out the best coffee to savor by sampling different varieties. Whether you're a fan of the rich and bold espresso, the frothy goodness of a cappuccino, the smooth elegance of a flat white, or the mellow comfort of a latte, a virtual tasting session has it all. 

Some top-notch coffee tasting kits that bring a whole lot of fun and flavor to your virtual coffee break ideas are Hooray Teams, Driftaway Coffee, Brooklyn Coffee, and Door County Coffee. This activity is a perfect blend of relaxation, exploration, and camaraderie, making it a great choice for your virtual coffee break ideas. 

2.10. Skill Swap

Learning is a never-ending process, and you can get your team members to learn a few  general life skills or professional skills during virtual coffee breaks. Send a survey out asking team members to list the skills they are good at and what they would like to learn from others. Plan the session in a manner where one or more employees (depending on the time and skill) take turns to demonstrate and teach everyone the skill, and they follow the tutor by doing the activity simultaneously. 

It could be anything, such as:

These virtual coffee sessions are refreshing as they divert the minds of the employees from their daily work and make for fun and growth-based virtual coffee break ideas.

One of us had taken sculpting classes before and decided to teach what they learned in the last virtual coffee meeting session. It was enjoyable for both the team and me. In return, We also learned the basics of French from one of my colleagues, who is well-versed in 3 non-English languages.

2.11. Host a Pet Show

Animal lovers and pet parents would love to share their lovable moments with pets on-screen in a virtual coffee break. Send an invite out and ask those with pets if they’d like their furry (or non-furry) friend to participate in a virtual pet show. Let employees introduce their pets, tell the story of their adoption, show photos, narrate funny incidents, and showcase their tricks.

One of our colleagues is a mom to a furry cat - Katie. When she was shown around, everyone found Katie’s playful ways adorable. Some employees brought their dogs, cats, and even a set of parrots along with them. We were highly impressed when the parrot repeated a couple of words spoken by an employee – it was the highlight of the virtual coffee break and the day!

2.12. Virtual Dance Party

Sometimes, the best virtual coffee break activities are the ones that get you up from the desk and make you groove. Not everyone will be a fan of a quick 15-minute workout, but hosting a fun and easygoing dance party can be a fantastic alternative. All you need to do is curate a playlist that your team can connect to and give everyone a chance to express themselves. 

Encourage team members to suggest their favorite tunes for the playlist or you can even join STEEZY Studio, Diva dance company, DancePlug or Dancio. When BTS's tunes kick in, everyone usually joins the fun and leaves their stress behind. It's a cool icebreaker activity that lets everyone show their fun side.

3. FAQs

3.1. How do you make a virtual coffee break successful?

  • Each virtual coffee meeting should be short (Ideally between 15 mins to 30 mins) & casual (avoid work-related topics)
  • Encourage employees to forge real connections and join as often (or as little) as their calendar allows
  • Be on time & turn on your video for better interaction and experience
  • Include a beverage of your choice (coffee is in the title, but tea drinkers and others are welcome)
  • Try to make sure the technical/network problems are kept to a minimum
  • Encourage the first-timers to speak up and participate in coffee break games without any hesitation

3.2. Why are virtual coffee breaks important?

  1. It helps employees take a break from the monotony and stress of work and lets them unwind and loosen up. This helps in driving their focus and productivity, which in turn is beneficial for the organization.
  2. Employees get opportunities to socialize with other people and bolster team-building efforts.
  3. Virtual coffee and conversation ideas give employees something to look forward to and take the drudgery out of work. 

3.3. What are some creative virtual break room ideas for remote teams?

Virtual break room ideas for remote teams can include virtual trivia contests with fun coffee chat questions, themed dress-up days for video calls, virtual game nights, and even virtual cooking or baking classes. 

3.4. How can I make virtual coffee chats with employees more engaging and productive?

To make virtual coffee breaks with employees more engaging and productive, you should establish a clear agenda, create a comfortable and casual atmosphere, and encourage open conversation. Be sure to actively listen, ask open-ended questions, and provide opportunities for team members to share their thoughts and ideas. 

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