Hosting a remote or virtual happy hour can be a great bonding experience for you and your employees, especially when the team might be feeling disconnected or lonely. But let’s face it, doing this virtually is not the same as an in-person office happy hour or weekly trip to the pub. Hosting a successful remote happy hour or requires its own unique things to make it fun and engaging for everyone. Here are a few tips that can help.
Make most of tech tools
Nothing is worse at virtual meetings or remote meet-ups than technology fails. Make sure your team is set-up for success. Set-up a Zoom meeting ahead of time and send out the link to everyone.
If a tool like Zoom or other paid solutions are not available, you can use Google Hangouts or an app like House Party.
Have a theme
Invite your team to come up with a good theme for the happy hour. This can be something broad like Animals or even a color. Or maybe it could be around a certain food or drink. It can be fun to leave it a little vague to show how your team interprets the theme and also keeps the pressure low.
Keep it Manageable
Set the Happy Hour for a set time and keep it short (30 minutes is good, one hour is the max). Keep the crowd on the smaller size. Too many people in a virtual meeting can be overwhelming and will make it hard for everyone to participate. If you want to include more people maybe try to mix it up with breakout rooms in Zoom. Or a few different Hangouts for people to hop around in.
Designate a host to keep conversation moving and try to keep it light. Make this a time for people to connect and not talk shop.
Add Games and Music
There are some games that can lend themselves to a virtual happy hour. Things like Balderdash or an online Pub Trivia can be fun for teams that are looking for a little more organized. Or for something less structured, try a round of two truths and lie or 20 questions.
Music is another way to spice up the happy hour. Share out a playlist on Spotify or a similar music service ahead for people to play at home while in the Happy Hour or ask people to send you some songs to make it more of a collaborative playlist.
Send Happy Hour Swag
Of course, we are bias here, but sending a little swag gift prior to the happy hour can be a great way to make your team excited and help crate more engagement. We have plenty of items that are perfect for a Virtual Happy Hour gift. And swag.com we can send any item you order directly to the attendees at home.
Everyone’s work from home situations are different, so be conscious of people’s schedules and responsibilities. Some of your team members might have family obligations and child care to attend to, so something later in the evening might be difficult. Others may turn in early and prefer something on the earlier side. Whatever it is, let everyone know that this is an optional event and there should be no pressure to join if it is too difficult.
Or maybe a happy hour is not the right fit for everyone or for your team. You can also try to organize a group exercise class or virtual book club. Something that doesn’t involve food or drinks can sometimes be more inclusive.
These tips can help make your virtual happy hour a success, but you should modify them to best fit your team. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and try different things. If it doesn’t work, try something different next time. However, the most important thing you can do is make the virtual meet-up welcoming and a space for your remote team to bond outside of the usual work.