Virtual Happy Hour – Twelve Ways to Make it Less Boring and More Fun

Not all virtual happy hours are created equal:

  • Done correctly, a virtual happy hour can feel like an amazing after-work social event that makes everyone feel more refreshed come Monday morning. Mission accomplished.
  • Done poorly, a virtual happy hour will still feel like a party, but more like a dinner party with your great aunt and uncle who love to argue about politics.

When throwing a virtual happy hour remember that your goal is for your employees to have fun and NOT be looking for the “Leave Meeting” button.

So the key to pulling off this social event is to create an engaging atmosphere that holds the attention of everyone involved.

Here are 12 fantastic virtual team-building activities to make your next happy hour less boring and more fun. (As a side note, keep your virtual happy hour tailored to your audience. These ideas serve as a framework that REALLY shines when you put in a little hard work to bring them to life.)

1. Trivia Night

Trivia nights are a fantastic way to get everyone in your group involved and encourage a little friendly competition.

You need 3 essential things: A good host, fun questions, and a format.

Try to engage everyone without putting anyone on the spot. The topics can be about nearly anything:

  • Pop culture
  • History
  • Sports
  • TV shows or movies
  • Questions related to your business

Try to set a goal for the game such as ‘first one to X amount of points wins’. You can choose to divide participants into teams or have every man for himself.

2. Mixology Class

A mixology class is an instant crowd-pleaser that allows participants to learn how to craft quality cocktails from a professional mixologist.

How to do it: Hire an expert (if you have the money) or find an online tutorial, such as on Youtube, where a mixologist demonstrates how to create popular cocktails.

  • Share the ingredients and tools that the participants will need beforehand.
  • As the mixologist guides everyone through the process, participants can follow along, mix their drinks, and then share their creations with the group.

3. Wine Tastings

Sophisticated and classy, a virtual wine tasting is a wonderful way to explore different wine flavors and subtleties with fellow connoisseurs.

What to know:

  • Have each participant choose a bottle of wine in advance.
  • Allow everyone to describe their wine, including its origin, grape varietals, tasting notes, pairing recommendations, etc.

A virtual wine tasting is a chic and low-stress way to spend time with your coworkers. Attendees learn more about each other’s preferences, expand their wine knowledge, and get personal recommendations.

4. Virtual Escape Room

Escape rooms are widely popular for team-building activities both in person and online. There are several online platforms that offer virtual escape rooms that you can choose from.

What to do: After selecting a virtual escape room platform, split your attendees into different teams. They will work together to solve puzzles, find clues, and whatever else is needed to try and escape the virtual room.

Why it’s a great idea: The collaborative nature of escape rooms builds teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills. Participants can actually have a LOT OF FUN brainstorming ideas and working together to overcome challenges.

5. DIY Crafts

Creativity and hands-on activities are a surefire way to create fun during virtual happy hours.

How to do it: For a DIY crafts project, choose something that can be easily done at home. Share the list of the needed materials and the instructions with the participants well ahead of time. Ideas could include:

  • Painting
  • Paper crafts
  • Jewelry-making
  • Some other simple home décor projects

DIY crafting allows everyone on your team to feel relaxed and creates the perfect atmosphere for conversation, seeking advice, and getting to know each other’s creative side.

6. Cook-Off

Nothing brings people together like food, even in virtual settings. Virtual happy hour cook-offs let participants show off their culinary skills and inspire one another by exchanging cooking tips.

Suggestions to try:

  1. Choose a common ingredient or theme. Each participant will prepare a dish using that specific ingredient or following the theme.
  2. Set a time limit for cooking. Encourage participants to share their progress along the way.
  3. Once the time’s up, everyone can present their dishes, discuss how they made them, and share recipes.
  4. To really make it interactive you can have a vote for the most creative dish, the best presentation, or the overall favorite.

7. Game Night

People love games and virtual game nights are a great way for people to cut loose, laugh, collaborate, have healthy competition, and build a sense of teamwork.

There are a ton of great online platforms for multiplayer virtual happy hour games, from classic board games like Monopoly and Scrabble to virtual versions of popular party games.

How it’s done: Depending on the game, divide participants into teams or play as individuals. Try to encourage lively banter, strategizing, and friendly competition.

Whether your team is solving puzzles together, embarking on virtual adventures, or having quick trivia rounds, virtual game nights are guaranteed to create a lively, entertaining, and engaging atmosphere for everyone.

8. Movie Night

We love the idea of a virtual movie night for those who want to bring their team together in a more low-key way. If you want something more relaxed, virtual movie nights are a great way for introverts on your team to spend time together without any social pressure.

Tips to try:

  • Select a movie or TV show on a streaming platform that allows synchronized viewing.
  • Coordinate the start time and provide instructions on how to access the content.
  • As the movie plays, consider setting up a live chat where participants can share their reactions, discuss the plot, and exchange movie trivia.
  • If you see fit, allow time afterward for people to talk about the show. They can discuss their favorite scenes, analyze the characters, or share their interpretation of the plotline.

9. Museum Tour

Explore the world of art and history by embarking on a virtual museum tour.

Virtual museum tours are an enlightening way for your team to grow in their appreciation for art and culture. Many museums and galleries offer virtual tours where you can explore their exhibits and collections.

How to organize a virtual museum tour:

  1. Select a museum or theme for the tour that would be right for your team.
  2. Share the link, time, and other necessary information with your group.
  3. As you navigate through the virtual exhibits, encourage participants to discuss the artworks, the historical context, or other things that they appreciate about the tour.

10. Virtual Travel

Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can’t experience the joy of travel. Explore the world with your team by embarking on a virtual travel experience during your virtual happy hour.

Ideas to try: There are 2 main ways your team can virtually travel the world:

  1. Dream Destination – Allow participants to take turns sharing their ideal travel destination. Have them share why they would like to travel there and what they would like to do.
  2. Favorite Past Vacation – Instead of participants sharing where they would like to go, have them share their favorite vacation that they have been on.

In both cases, encourage participants to put information together beforehand such as pictures of specific places they’d like to explore, foods they would like to try, or other unique cultural highlights.

Bonus: To kick things up a notch, have attendees wear traditional clothes, set a virtual background, or prepare a dish native to the place they chose.

11. Talent Show

Let your team unleash hidden talents and showcase their skills during a virtual talent show. Talent shows are a fantastic way for people to get to know each other more personally.

Talents could be anything such as:

  • Singing
  • Dancing
  • Music
  • Magic tricks
  • Stand-up comedy

Pro tip: If possible, let the categories be open-ended to allow for the most creative outcome. The point of this happy hour is to create a fun atmosphere where participants can appreciate each others’ personalities. Another idea is to consider setting certain themes to keep the mood light-hearted such as “useless talents” so participants don’t take themselves too seriously.

12. Show and Tell

A virtual happy hour show and tell is similar to a talent show but a bit more relaxed.

Virtual show and tell is a wonderful chance to:

  • Get to know each other more
  • Discover shared passions
  • Promote curiosity and self-expression

Virtual show and tell could be ANY hobby or interesting item that the person is passionate about and would like to share with the group. It could be a collection, artwork, a pet, a musical instrument, or even a unique skill that they’ve acquired.

To keep in mind: When outlining the program, encourage participants to choose something that is a reflection of their personality. When presenting, have them talk about the significance, history, or personal connection to their chosen item or hobby.

Make Every Event Enjoyable

Are you struggling to keep your audience engaged during virtual events? Is your company finding it difficult to retain your employees’ attention span during virtual meetings?

Virtual happy hours are only the first step to boosting employee engagement. There are TONS of strategies you can use to overcome the common difficulties encountered during virtual meetings and events.

With the right tools and techniques, you can bring all the benefits of going virtual while mitigating the challenges.

Curious how you can improve the quality of your virtual events? Our team of experts carry over 15 years of experience and are EAGER to share their wisdom. Tell us what problems you’re encountering and we’ll give you reasonable, practical advice that you can implement today.