Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has become the new norm for many businesses. This change has its obvious advantages in terms of safety. Plus, with the rollout of the vaccine and the decreasing number of hospitalizations, we’re able to get a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime, we can’t deny that as HR pros, we miss the simple joy of seeing and interacting with our colleagues on a daily basis. Here at GoCo, we’re a tight-knit bunch, so staying connected has been a top priority through this transition to the online workspace. Here’s a list of some ideas for your organization’s virtual happy hour that have been a blast for ours!
One of the most popular hobbies that people have taken up during quarantine is cooking! With the extra time we have at home, it can be fun to step up our culinary game and get crafty in the kitchen. That being said, why not turn this hobby into something fun you can do with your team? Check out Cozymeal and their virtual cooking classes! From the comfort and safety of your own home, your colleagues can channel their inner Top Chef. As for the ingredients, Cozymeal offers a link when booking so that your team can have their materials delivered right to their door! And don’t worry – they are highly accommodating to dietary restrictions.
Price: $19-$49/person (Depends on which class and recipe you select)
In true happy hour fashion, learn how to make some gorgeous cocktails as a group! If your team members are under 21, a nice mocktail would work just as well. Like the virtual cooking class, this idea would require some preparation ahead of time. That’s why we love Gustology, a Houston-based bartending school that offers both in-person and virtual mixology classes. Here’s the really cool part – you can either supply your own materials or you can order a kit straight from their website!
Price: $25/person (Includes materials and ingredient list, minimum of 12 guests)
Trivia is a classic team-building game and a great choice for your next virtual happy hour! There are tons of free online trivia generators, such as Random Trivia Generator. However, you can choose to invest in something like JackBoxTV and get access to their “Trivia Murder Party” game, along with several other games that come in the pack! The pack is tried and true by GoCo’s Marketing Team, and we have a blast every time. This spin on Trivia takes on a bit of a darker theme — if you answer incorrectly, you get sent to “The Killing Floor” where you participate in mini games to determine whether or not you die and become a ghost! Keep in mind that someone will have to purchase this game and own one of the compatible platforms. The owner just has to share their screen and everyone else can tune in on their devices!
An oldie but a goodie. You can’t go wrong with this game, and it’s incredibly simple to execute online! Split into teams, set a category, and we’d suggest pinning the Zoom/Webcam window of the person who is currently taking their turn to ensure that everyone can see them.
5. Virtual Escape Room
Here’s an idea that our team at GoCo absolutely adored. A virtual escape room is a great option for a multitude of reasons. First of all, normal escape rooms are already exciting with their sense of mystery and urgency. The virtual adaptation is no different. Second, it’s a good team-building exercise. You’ll get a better understanding of how your colleagues problem solve and work together to obtain a common goal. Lastly, they’re just a lot of fun. Our team used Virtual Escape Global – try them out! They have a vast array of rooms to choose from, so pick whichever storyline intrigues you the most!
This one’s a little more unconventional. It’ll prove to be a ton of fun, especially if you plan to do this with your team around Halloween, but murder mystery games are a good time year-round! There are a couple of different ways to go about this. The free way is completely doable, but it may require a little more work on your end. You’ll have to plan the cast of characters, the storyline, and the puzzles yourself. A fun take may be to base the story around your team, and make the game more personalized! However, there also are a variety of paid options out there that will handle the work for you. For example, you can choose from an array of murder mystery games at Red Herring Games! Like the virtual escape room, there is a plethora of plot options, from “Murder on the Dance Floor” to “Little Rock Horror Shop Murder!” Visit their website for more specific details.
Price: $30.79 (You can also request a virtual inspector to join you for $375.00)
Code Names is another GoCo Game Night favorite. This game requires witty wordplay in order to win. Basically, there are two teams of competing “spy networks” that use codes in order to contact their fellow secret agents. The objective of the game is to contact all of the agents on your team. You play on a 5×5 grid of cards with “Code Names” representing the names of the agents. Each team has one “Spy Master” who gives clues to their operatives in the form of one word and one number that correlate with a Code Name on the grid. Be careful to avoid accidentally revealing an agent from the opposite team, or even worse, the “Deadly Assassin”, whereby your team automatically loses the game. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the rules! Our team at GoCo simply embedded an online Code Names game link in Teamflow, a virtual office and hangout space, to play the game and it worked out flawlessly. Check it out!
Price: Free! (Up to 10 employees – If you have more, you can select a paid plan that works for you!)
Movie night is a simple yet effective way to spend some time with your colleagues. Vote on a movie, gather your snacks and blankets, have the host of the meeting play it while sharing their screen, and enjoy! We’ve found that comedies, thrillers, and dramas are popular among most virtual teams.
Price: Free! (Unless you’re paying to stream the movie!)
This is another one that we loved here at GoCo. It was so easy to pull off and we all had such a great time. This classic game is a great way for you to build your team up while getting to know a little bit more about how your colleagues perform under pressure! We just made our Jeopardy! board using Jeopardy Labs, hopped on Zoom and kicked it off! We also used BuzzIn.Live as our virtual buzzer, so we could keep the game fair and square. This idea really brought out the competitive spirit of our team – a must-try for your business!
Within a work environment, it’s easy to forget that we all have interests, hobbies, and talents outside of the office. Consider using your next virtual happy hour as an opportunity to showcase the more artistic sides of your team! You can either keep it casual with people volunteering to go or you can be a little more formal about it. Try making it an event by assigning different hosts from different departments for the evening and preparing a setlist of acts! Allowing your team to be a little more vulnerable and to show off their talents is a fun, low stakes way to strengthen your bond as professionals and friends.
Singing in front of people can go one of two ways – it can be a blast or it can be an introvert’s worst nightmare. For us at GoCo, karaoke is a must-have at any in-person or virtual event. Regardless, karaoke is sure to be an interesting experience for your team, and staying virtual doesn’t make it any less fun! There are tons of karaoke tracks with lyrics on YouTube, so choose your favorite song, share your screen, and let those vocals shine! A good idea might be to stick with a specific theme/genre for the night so everyone is on the same page! If your people are really feeling it, opt for karaoke sing-along style. We’re sure you’ll sound like a beautiful choir!
These virtual happy hour tips have made the work-from-home experience so much more enjoyable for us. Our team has had a ton of fun with these ideas over the past year, and we hope that your team can enjoy them as well. With the variety of price points, there are options for every organization, from a brand new start-up to a large corporation. Try them out at your next Zoom party!