17th September 2020

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Categories: Engage for Success Blog

How to host a virtual happy hour for team building

Keeping team spirits up when everyone is working remotely is more important than ever. It is also a potentially challenging prospect, since being geographically separate and only able to socialize through a webcam is far from ideal.

Thankfully with these tips you can learn how to host a virtual happy hour party to help boost morale and build team cohesion from a distance!

Pick a theme

While an unstructured chat can be entertaining in its own right, it is also possible for enthusiasm to peter out if there is not a particular aim or agenda in place.

Thankfully with the right virtual happy hour themes, you can transform a digital get-together into a truly enjoyable and memorable experience for all involved.

From running a weekly book club or quiz to hosting an online murder mystery where the participants need to find the guilty person from amongst their colleagues, there are so many themes to consider.

You could even treat it more like a discussion forum, where the theme is a little more nebulous, such as a look at what the future might be like. Assigning specific decades to participants so that they can think up fun contributions to make is a great way to keep people interested.

Mix things up

While happy hours can be tuned towards encouraging proactive involvement from team members, it is also important to keep things fresh and also to foster a more relaxed vibe from time to time with a different approach.

For example, it can often be chilled-out and cathartic to get everyone to watch the same movie at the same time on the streaming service of your choice. There are plugins that allow playback on platforms like Netflix to be synchronized across multiple devices, so everyone should be up to speed. You can then chat in real time to enjoy the movie as a team, or aim to reconvene after it is over to discuss it.

This is a particularly good strategy for making sure that your happy hour party is not always a full-on affair.

Set challenges

Team-building is often accompanied by specific challenges that are posed to participants to either help them work independently or in conjunction with their colleagues.

It is still possible to factor this into a virtual happy hour, especially if you pre-plan the challenges and request that people prepare their entries ahead of time.

It can be fun to set a photo challenge, for example, where everyone showcases a picture they have snapped along a given topic. You could also opt for a show-and-tell approach, where each member brings an important object to discuss.

You could even set challenges which make the most of the resources that will inevitably be at their disposal as they sit in front of their PCs. Tasks which can be completed online, such as finding specific information or even playing browser-based games like Geoguessr together, will tick all the boxes. Boosting employee engagement during these tricky times can lead to benefits across the board.

Be flexible

Even if team building is the aim of the virtual happy hours that you run, it is also important to remember that this process should not feel like some kind of enforced fun which rubs certain team members up the wrong way.

It is better to embrace as much variety and flexibility as possible, reading the room to make sure that your efforts are being appreciated. Furthermore you can adjust the way these events are scheduled to make sure that they are an occasional treat rather than a regular chore. Hopefully you should now be prepared to make the most of the opportunities available!

Author Bio: Richard Fendler is a goal-oriented manager with distinguished experience in SEO and proven leadership abilities.
Photo Credit: Pixabay