Happy hour is a time-honored tradition that has been synonymous with work-life for decades. And like so many of the things we once took for granted, the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened that venerable institution.
But if the future of happy hour once looked uncertain, you’ll be glad to know that the custom is alive and well in 2022—we’re just doing it virtually now.
Virtual happy hours are a great way to reclaim some of the spontaneity and camaraderie that so many workplaces have lost in the switch to remote or hybrid work formats. With Teamflow you can create the perfect virtual office and event space for your next virtual happy hour. From icebreakers to team building activities, continue reading to learn more about our top nine ideas to make the most of your next virtual happy hour.
Let’s face it: a remote happy hour can go a little stale, thanks to connectivity barriers like:
- Slow internet connections
- Muffled computer microphones
- The inherent awkwardness of not knowing quite where to look
Plus, with most of us spending a good part of our workdays in a virtual meeting, logging back on for happy hour can be a struggle.
Virtual icebreakers are a fantastic way to liven things up and get your employees and coworkers in the mood to have a good time. Here are some time-tested icebreaker activities that are perfect for virtual happy hours.
#1 Guess Who
The classic happy hour game “Guess Who?” is a great way to break each team member out of their shells and get your virtual happy hour off to a rollicking start. Each member of this remote team is assigned a character and the other players guess who that character is by asking a series of “yes” or “no” questions.
Here’s how to play:
- Choose happy hour themes – To keep things interesting but not too difficult, start with a virtual happy hour theme. Go with something like “Historical Figures,” “Movie Stars,” or “Movie Characters.” This will help everyone make productive guesses.
- Assign characters – Assign a character to each player. Send the character assignments via direct message so they’re kept secret.
- Guess – One by one, each team member becomes the subject, or the person whose identity everyone is trying to guess. Go around the group and have each person ask one “yes” or “no” question.
#2 Two Truths and a Lie
This game is another great virtual happy hour idea, all about who has the best poker face. It’s a great icebreaker because it combines a little bit of intrigue with true details that help everyone get to know one another.
The title of this happy hour game pretty much lays it all out:
- Come up with ideas - Each person comes up with three details about themselves, two of which are true and one of which is a lie.
- Guess - Then, it’s up to everyone else to guess what’s true and what isn’t.
You’ll have a great time guessing—and you’ll learn a little about each coworker in the process.
#3 Show and Tell
Show and Tell might give you flashbacks to your kindergarten classroom, but there’s no law that says adults can’t get in on the fun. We all have those priceless possessions, quirky keepsakes, or neat tech toys we love—it’s time to show them off.
Just like in grade school, have all of your attendees bring a personal item to the virtual happy hour activity. Then, go around and have each coworker show and talk about their item. It’s a great way to get people relaxed and talking about their interests.
#4 Question and Answer
Sometimes, the best way to break the ice is to start asking questions, so kick off your virtual happy hour with a question and answer segment. Here are some tips to get started:
- Divide into groups – Divide everyone into breakout groups in our endless virtual breakout rooms. For this activity, small groups of 3–5 people typically work best.
- Distribute questions – Provide each breakout room with a list of questions. You can find pre-made lists online, or you can keep things spontaneous and use a random question generator. Decide on the number of questions beforehand—we recommend about 10–20.
Within their groups, each person answers all of the questions. For the best icebreakers, questions should range from silly to thought-provoking, but avoid questions that are too personal. This is happy hour, after all—the goal is to have fun!
#5 Riddle Me This
Riddles don’t get enough credit for how exciting they can be. Your team will have a blast during this fun virtual happy hour as they work together to puzzle out the answers to enigmatic clues.
Consider incorporating a riddle tournament into your virtual happy hour. Here’s how:
- Divide into teams – Group your attendees into small teams, depending on how many people you have. Teams should be large enough to promote camaraderie, but it’s also important that you have enough individual teams for a sense of competition. Have each team choose a name.
- Create a tournament bracket – You’ll need a bracket to chart the progression of the winning teams through the tournament. You can keep it updated on a shared screen throughout the game.
- Battle in rounds – Teams compete in head-to-head battles to progress through tournament tiers. The first team to solve the riddle wins.
For an even more friendly competition, consider giving virtual prizes to the winning team and runners-up.
Team Building Activities
Combat screen fatigue and help your team unite with these fun and exciting team-building activities, all perfect for your virtual happy hour.
#6 Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Who doesn’t love the thrill of a scavenger hunt? A long-time staple of summer camps and schoolyards, scavenger hunts are also a fun and reliable team-building exercise.
Although there are apps, programs, and websites galore that can make your scavenger hunt truly virtual, you don’t have to get super fancy to have a good time. A timer and a few good item lists are all it takes to pull off a scavenger hunt.
To start, create your scavenger hunt lists. Then, send your attendees off on timed missions to assemble the specific items. Some entertaining and realistic items include:
- Household items like cleaning supplies or coffee makers
- Personal items like car keys, wallets, or raincoats
You can also find scavenger hunt lists online.
#7 Virtual Murder Mysteries
Test your team’s detective skills by incorporating a murder mystery into your next virtual happy hour. Virtual murder mysteries offer a unique opportunity for your team to:
- Exercise problem-solving skills
- Think analytically
- Work collaboratively
You’ll likely have to purchase an app or program software for the full virtual experience, but there are a ton of excellent and affordable options out there.
#8 Office Olympics
Nothing keeps people on their toes like a little healthy competition. For your next virtual happy hour, put your team to the test with office Olympics.
Making office Olympics an enjoyable virtual happy hour activity comes down to choosing the right events. Do choose events that are fun, inclusive, and don’t feel like work. Don’t choose events that are grueling or too physically demanding. Some solid options include:
- Typing speed tests
- Company trivia
- Gaming tournaments
Make your office Olympics as much like the real thing as possible by having qualifying rounds and an awards ceremony where you can give out digital medals.
#9 Fun & Games
Need more ways to enliven your happy hour? Don’t underestimate the classic appeal of virtual happy hour games.
When your employees play games together, they build trust among one another, develop crucial communication skills, and get to know each other better—among many other benefits.
Here are just a few games you can think about for your next virtual happy hour:
- Name That Tune – This is a great way to test your team’s musical knowledge. Your employees guess the names of songs based on very short snippets. For more fun, have rounds where the snippets get shorter and shorter.
- Trivia – To keep trivia fun, choose topics with broad appeal, like pop culture, classic movies, or sports trivia.
- I Spy – If you’ve ever taken a long car ride, there’s a chance you’ve played “I Spy.” You can play it virtually, too—just use objects visible in everyone’s backgrounds.
Online card games, board games, and multiplayer video games round out the options for virtual gaming. Try out any of these virtual happy hour games for an experience you’ll never want to end.
Virtual connection and trust can also be achieved in your workplace through different game, party, and niche virtual hangout ideas.
Teamflow: Your New Virtual Event Space
The truth is, there’s no shortage of ways to make your virtual happy hour the talk of the office. All it takes is a little creativity and the perfect virtual space.
Fortunately, you can create the perfect virtual event space with Teamflow. From scheduled work meetings and impromptu sessions to—you guessed it—virtual happy hours, Teamflow is reimagining the virtual workspace to make it more like real life. Here are just some of the ways we’re doing it:
- Customizable virtual spaces – With Teamflow, you can fully customize your virtual event space to include areas for your guests, conference and meeting rooms, cafeterias, virtual bars, gaming areas, and more.
- Natural networking capabilities – When the virtual environment feels real, valuable networking happens more naturally. With Teamflow, you can capture the spontaneity of real life. Your team can move their video avatars around your virtual event space, engage in organic conversations, and interact just like they would at the office.
From brainstorming sessions and board meetings to happy hours and more, you can do it all easily and enjoyably with Teamflow.
Reviewed by James O'Sullivan, Director of New Client Experience
Jamess O'Sullivan has over 20 years of experience building and scaling companies. With diverse experience under his belt spanning everything from CareerBuilder.com to Uber, James is a well-respected thought leader, eccentric, and boundary-pusher who regularly contributes to industry-leading publications such as Entrepreneur Magazine.
1. Blog.toasty.avi. 10 Virtual Happy Hour Ideas. https://blog.toasty.ai/10-fun-virtual-happy-hour-ideas/
2. Springworks.in. 15 Benefits of Team Building Exercises and Games at the Workplace. https://www.springworks.in/blog/benefits-of-team-building-activities/