When your team is divided between those who work from home and those who work from the office, it can be a challenge to foster a communal environment that encourages collaboration, cohesion, and enhanced productivity. But with the increase in remote and hybrid roles, it’s more important than ever to ensure all remote employees feel equally included and connected.
Fortunately, that’s what virtual happy hours are for—to build community and connection between your virtual team, no matter where they’re located. When it comes to building that work connection, nothing beats virtual happy hour games.
Looking to pep up your next virtual happy hour and bolster a sense of bonhomie among your team? You can start by learning the best ways to play virtual happy hour games with coworkers.
#1 Happy Hour Game Night
From company softball leagues to intra-office Halloween costume contests, friendly competition has been bringing colleagues together since there were offices to go into. Plus, there’s reason to believe that competition among attendees can increase their motivation and boost their productivity.1
Remote happy hour is the perfect opportunity to recapture some of the workplace competition you might be missing with remote members of your team. One of the best (and most enjoyable) ways to do it is to turn your happy hour into a virtual game night and play virtual happy hour games.
There’s no shortage of classic team games that are easily adaptable for the virtual workplace. Popular options for remote happy hour games include:
- Name That Tune
#2 Happy Hour Show & Tell
It’s not just for kindergartners. Having your employees participate in show and tell is a surefire way to enliven any virtual happy hour.
Show and tell serves the same purpose in the virtual workplace as it does in the classroom. Essentially, it’s a way for your employees to get to know each other through the objects that are meaningful to them.
But more than that, tapping into the nostalgia that show and tell is bound to prompt can be a boon to the workplace. Studies show that experiencing nostalgia can have calming effects, relieve boredom, and even bring people closer together.2
#3 Happy Hour Home Tours
If you have a hybrid team, your remote employees might be missing out on the familiarity, comradery, and opportunities for team-building that can occur organically in physical settings.
Sure, technology makes it pretty easy for everyone to work remotely. But it doesn’t do much to foster those work-adjacent events the best professional relationships are often built upon, like group lunches or water cooler conversations.
Virtual happy hour games are a fantastic way to dissolve the screen between the two halves of your workplace. Give your remote team a chance to be more present and show off who they are with happy hour home tours. When your at-home employees take the rest of you on an exclusive tour of their living space, you’ll see a whole new side of them—and they’ll feel more like part of the virtual team.
#4 Themed Happy Hours
The aim of pretty much any happy hour is right there in the title: to make guests happy. In real life, there are few more reliable ways to lift spirits and loosen personalities than a themed party.
Themed parties, whether virtually or in person, can be ultra enjoyable both because of their simplicity and their options for creativity. From an organizational perspective, all it takes to throw a themed online happy hour is, well, a theme.
The theme can be anything you or your attendees want—just make sure it offers plenty of options. Popular happy hour themes include:
#5 Happy Hour Dance Party
In certain therapeutic settings, dance and movement are used to relieve stress, balance emotions, and even improve perspective.3 When you think about it, what else is happy hour for if not to shake off the stress of the day and have a good time?
It doesn’t take much to turn your zoom happy hour into a virtual dance party. Simply tap the colleague with the best taste in music to craft a danceable playlist. Then, when the time comes, crank up the volume and boogie down.
If you want to add an extra twist to this virtual happy hour activity, have coworkers go face-to-face (or rather, screen-to-screen) in a virtual dance-off. You can offer up prizes to the coworker who goes all-in with their dance moves, or who can perfectly recreate the choreography of the Backstreet Boys’ greatest hits.
#6 Happy Hour Karaoke
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention karaoke. Since the 1970s, karaoke has been a staple of good times all around the globe, from its birthplace in East Asia to its rise in popularity within the United States.4
Fortunately, the Internet is rife with sing-along videos of some of the most popular tunes ever—and you and your employees should have no problem finding hits to make your own. You can have one person act as a DJ who queues up selections, or you can decide on an order beforehand.
There’s no guarantee that your virtual happy hour karaoke will reveal the next winner of “The Voice” among your employees. But what is certain is that you’re all destined to have a splendid time.
#7 Happy Hour Challenges
The best virtual happy hour games are the ones that don’t just leave coworkers making awkward conversation. Instead, they create memorable experiences for employees to share. Happy hour challenges are the perfect way to create some truly unforgettable moments.
Essentially, you choose a challenge, and everyone competes to complete the challenge within a specific amount of time. We like this one because it combines the friendly competition of a fun game night with the whimsy and potential for wacky fun of a theme party.
Challenges that maximize the fun game include:
If employees need some supplies to complete the challenge, be sure to provide funds (or even mail them a challenge kit in advance), so they don’t have to source these themselves.
In addition, be sure to have prizes ready to give out to the winners. Virtual happy hour games prizes should be ones you can distribute electronically, like digital gift cards or subscriptions.
#8 Happy Hour Special Guest
One way to mix up your virtual happy hour games is to invite a special guest who doesn’t work for your company. You can bring someone in from the outside to entertain or lead your gang in a virtual happy hour activity that everyone can participate in.
Need a few ideas? Excellent happy hour guest ideas include:
- Professional chefs to perform virtual cooking demonstrations
- Certified sommeliers to conduct virtual wine tastings
- Stand-up comedians to perform a virtual set
- Local cover bands to perform a virtual show
- Local celebrities to make a digital appearance
From virtual psychics to motivational speakers, the options for virtual happy hour guests are virtually endless.
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Even if you’re heading up a hybrid team, you still need an office space that promotes productivity, fosters success, and provides an environment where your employees can do their best work.
Welcome to Juniper. With more than 100 years of experience providing professional workplaces with all the desks, modular training tables, seating, and other solutions, we’re the experts when it comes to fully functional office furniture.
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- Harvard Business Review. The Pros and Cons of Competition Among Employees. https://hbr.org/2017/03/the-pros-and-cons-of-competition-among-employees
- The New York Times. What is Nostalgia Good For? Quite a Bit, Research Show. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/09/science/what-is-nostalgia-good-for-quite-a-bit-research-shows.html#
- Disability Resource. Top Five Advantages of Dance Therapy. https://www.disabilityresource.org/29-top-five-advantages-of-dance-therapy#
- How to Karaoke. A Brief History of Karaoke: Where Did It All Come From. https://www.howtokaraoke.com/a-brief-history-of-karaoke-where-did-it-all-come-from/#