“Happy Hour!” is just a way to say, “It’s time to have some fun, relax and unwind and maybe even grab some drinks.” It doesn’t matter if you’re grabbing them in person or sharing them through video call. You deserve a break!
Virtual happy hours are a great way to make the most of our time when we’re not all physically together. Now that more and more people are working remotely, it can be hard to find ways for everyone to connect with each other on a regular basis.
Virtual meetings and social events have been popping up as solutions to this problem- but how do you make sure these virtual connections don’t just end up being work?
This post will give you some ideas for ways you can spice up your virtual happy hour so that it’s always fun!
Before you get started with your next Virtual Happy Hour…
What is a Virtual Happy Hour?
A virtual happy hour is an event that usually takes place through a video conference call, with people from your company. Virtual Happy Hour is also known as remote happy hours or online happy hours.
It’s a great opportunity to get together and have fun regardless of where you are or what time it is. So, seize your chance and invite your colleagues from all over the world!
They are usually held over video meeting platforms. To organize one, you would just need your computer (or laptop), webcam, mic/speakers, and a video conference platform.
How do you make a Zoom Happy Hour fun?
Since 2020 and the growth of remote teams, Zoom meetings have become the new normal and are even hosting events like Virtual Happy Hours.
To bring some life to them, make sure to suggest a fun game, a food and drink experience, a happy hour game, or even a virtual visit to boost engagement and to include something unique and memorable.
To make the most of your next virtual happy hour, read our 10 Pro tips that will enhance your first, or next – virtual meeting.
10 Tips for a Better Virtual Happy Hour Experience!
1. Pick a theme for your Virtual Happy Hour
If you’re looking to have a virtual happy hour, it’s important that your event is as exciting and engaging as possible.
Picking a virtual happy hour theme will definitely energize your event.
You can choose from a Holiday Party theme, a zombie apocalypse night, or even an Academy Awards ceremony.
Then, ask all participants to dress up accordingly and/or display a fun-related video background.
Alternatively, if you want a more formal online call with colleagues, pick something like ‘Fancy Friday’ where every person should be able to pick an outfit from their closet.
It’s up to you! The possibilities are truly endless.
2. Get the right platform for your Virtual event
Having the right platform in place will be crucial to your event’s success. And with virtual gatherings all the rage and so many options out there, it’s best to do a little research first.
Get to know the different platforms
There are a number of popular video conferencing platforms for virtual happy hours that you will be able to use.
Your group size or the total number of participants can also help determine what platform is best for your event. For large groups of 20 or more, you may want to consider the option of breakout rooms.
A breakout room will help divide your virtual happy hour into smaller groups for the virtual attendees to connect with one another.
To choose the perfect platform for your virtual events, we recommend that you ask your virtual happy hour participants what platform they would prefer to use.
No one wants to add more and more video chat tools that they will never use again.
For your Happy Hour, video quality is key
You should also check the quality of the video and audio before committing to a platform. And should always complete a quality check or dry run a couple of hours before the main event to ensure everything is set up properly.
While it’s not always easy to know if you are going to have high quality, using a platform that has better stability when there is latency will be the best choice for your virtual happy hours.
You don’t want to see your colleagues freeze at the critical “Cheers!” moment!
Number of participants’ Capacity for your virtual events
You can also verify how many participants are allowed in one virtual event.
For instance, Skype allows up to 250 active participants in a video call and another 250 participants that can be added on as the event is running.
Webex can have as many as 3000 people in a Webex Event while Google Hangouts allows up to 50 participants on a video call.
Zoom, quite possibly the most popular platform for live and virtual events on the market today can host anywhere from 100 attendees to 1,000 depending on the plan you choose.
Simple technical check up
Last tip, make sure your guests can join the video calls from their computer or their phone, and that you are able to do some screen sharing.
Once you figure out the platform, the theme, the date, it’s time to send your digital invitations and get the party started!
3. Spark Conversation with your virtual team
Who says that Happy Hour means sharing a social drink?
We know, alcohol can be a social facilitator but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the conversation will be flowing for the entire time of the happy hour.
Hosting an event is a lot of work and it’s important to know what you’re doing. A good host can keep the conversation going, even without alcohol! For example, they might ask questions that help guide the discussion in new directions so that people will feel comfortable speaking up or opening themselves up naturally – this helps stimulate dialogue for everyone.
Asking insightful questions as well as actively listening are great ways to be sure your guests have something interesting to say when it’s their turn at talk time!
While it may be tempting to talk about work or the current pandemic, open yourself up to other topics of interest that can keep the mood light, and stress-free.
Vacation time, passions, sports, hobbies – all are great conversation starters.
If you feel the conversation is stuck, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our best creative ideas, games, or virtual experiences below!
Make sure to also check out our blog post on the top 5 minute team building activities to get some fun icebreakers for any in person or remote teams virtual events.
4. Pick from this list of virtual happy hour games
Sometimes, leading a conversation and basing a virtual event on a theme is not all you need to do for a successful virtual event.
To make this virtual get together more animated, make sure to include some games and activities.
Check out our list of ideas for some fun activities that can enhance your next virtual happy hour event – adult beverage and drinking games optional.
Virtual Happy Hour Bingo
Animate your Virtual Happy Hour with a digital Team Building Bingo!
The team leader can be the bingo caller and include prompts or clues which team members will listen out for during your call.
As the numbers are quoted during the conversation, participants will be checking off as they hear them. The first one to finish a line, a cross (or any other patern you choose) card wins!
Virtual Happy Hour Bingo is an easy and familiar way to play with your people while having casual conversations.
It’s not only easy to play, but it is also a great way to get people happy and engaged.
Happy Hour Scavenger Hunt
Give your guests a virtual makeover at home by creating a basic at-home scavenger hunt.
In a scavenger hunt, players search for items that they can find in their own home. Ask them to find something common that most people have, such as an old spoon or the costume they wore last Halloween!
This will create a great dynamic among coworkers and get them moving. Small Scavenger Hunt tip: Try asking your party guests to go look for a beer, they often get back faster!
The Question Game
The Question Game is simple, challenging, and fun. To play, have one participant ask another person a question, directing another question to someone else.
The question game will continue until a team member fails to come up with a question for a successive participant.
What’s your favorite color?
What is the capital of Virginia?
Who was president during World War II in America?
How many questions can you and your team answer correctly in a row without getting an incorrect response?
Virtual Trivia game
For your virtual happy hour theme, you can also pick one of the classical board games. We named: Trivia Game Night!
This is the perfect activity for those who want to test their knowledge of diverse facts and figures, or for anyone looking to show off how much they know about various topics.
Also known as the Not It All Game … kidding (not kidding!)
The best part? You don’t have to be an expert in anything! The questions are general enough so that everyone can partake in the hilarity and excitement of a virtual trivia night.
Pro Tip for creating a trivia night? Make sure to tailor the questions around a theme and set a timer so that things don’t drag on longer than they should.
Most in person trivia nights are an hour long but the optimal duration for a virtual trivia night is 30 mins. Remember people’s attention spans online are very different and are short.
5. Best cultural virtual happy hour ideas
Virtual Netflix parties
Organize a Netflix Party to watch the latest Netflix series over drinks.
Set members of your party can watch the same thing at the same time using the Teleparty app (formerly Netflix Party). Use it to binge on movies with your coworkers and friends and discuss your thoughts on the chat feature of the app!
Virtual Book Club Night
Another cultural activity could be a virtual get together led as a book club. Share your favorite reads with your colleagues during a Happy Hour.
This is also a great way to introduce people who don’t know each other yet and an opportunity for them to find out about new books they may not have found otherwise!
Paint night on Skype
Other great virtual gatherings could be to get all the participants to reproduce a famous painting in their own way. To organize this paint night, make sure to send the party guests the painting equipment they will need.
Once everyone is set up, on the d-day, animate the happy hour giving some instructions on how to apply the painting, how to mix colors or where to start first.
You can also call a professional painter for this virtual happy hour event if you don’t have a creative mind.
This is a great way to build team spirit and have fun while getting creative. At the end of the activity, make sure that every person takes turns and shows the whole group their masterpiece!
6. Use some creative virtual happy hour ideas to animate your party
Murder Mystery Party
A Murder Mystery party is a virtual party where people play the role of characters in a murder mystery scene. Think Clue but without all that tedious moving around.
Every team member will be given a character and they will investigate the virtual scene together to figure out who is guilty of killing who.
The game is designed so that no one knows what their role in the story is until all of them are revealed at once. This makes for an exciting virtual happy hour event!
We recommend this type of virtual activity for medium groups so that there are enough characters for everyone and the entire team can be involved.
Virtual Escape Room
Another great virtual happy hour theme could be set up around an escape room night. There are a wide number of different escape room options that teams can choose from.
There’s something about this type of virtual party. It’s an awesome break from the norm and could get everyone out of their comfort zone which would be plenty more fun than sitting around talking politics for hours on end!
Fabulous team play, escape room games are among great virtual happy hour ideas to engage your remote team and create team collaboration.
Happy Hour Useless Talent Show
Another way to get your virtual happy hour going is by having a skills show for the team. But wait a minute, we are not talking about singing, acting, or playing instrumentals… No, no, we are talking about real useless talents.
Spinning a coin, showing an elephant impression, touching your nose with your tongue… Ask your team to show what can make them special and see this conference call become a virtual show!
You might not get to see all the skills that you want, but this virtual happy hour activity will still be more fun than watching cat videos on YouTube for hours!
7. Get them something to eat and drink
Because a happy hour without drinks and food wouldn’t be a happy hour, here are some ideas for you to spice up your virtual happy hour.
Virtual Wine and Cheese tasting
Wine and cheese directly from Paris… A virtual food experience you’ll never forget. At Woyago, we offer you to dive into a virtual wine tasting experience led by one of our best Parisian foodie guides.
A wine tasting is always fun, but when it has been brought directly from Paris and is accompanied by fresh and typical cheeses, things just got better without going out of your house.
With pictures and fun anecdotes about Paris and France, you won’t want to disconnect from this delicious and immersive event!
Happy Hour Cocktail Class
Whether you like them alcoholic or not, cocktails are always a good idea. Organize or book a virtual Cocktail class with a cocktail master that will teach you how to make them.
Send the ingredients in advance and try out amazing cocktail recipes, create your signature cocktail, and enjoy them with your virtual team.
Virtual Picnic in Paris
This virtual picnic will have everything you need to make your happy hour a huge success.
With the help of Woyago, every participant on your guest list will receive a “picnic box” at home. Let our Parisian guide present you with some French delicacies and walk you around Paris while you enjoy.
The different wines, typical cold cuts, cheese, madeleines, and other French pastries will immediately transport you in the Ratatouille movie, for an original virtual happy hour.
If this is one of the virtual happy hour ideas you want to choose from for your next event, make sure to contact our team to adapt it to your company and team needs.
8. Include some fun virtual happy hour tours
Who doesn’t like the idea of a virtual happy hour tour?
It’s been a while since we have left our desks and met with a colleague in person. So why not keep up with the latest trends and add some fun to your next meeting taking your team on a tour?
Virtual Bike Ride
Hop on your bike, we are going on a virtual tour in Paris! Thanks to this live virtual experience, you will be able to see all of Paris.
Learn about the history and culture while enjoying a virtual happy hour tour in the most beautiful city in France.
Your guide will be live-riding his bike in the beautiful Haussmann-style streets of the city of lights and introduce you to the most famous monuments such as Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Palais Royal, or the Louvre. So keep your eyes open and enjoy the visit!
Have you always been curious to check out the home of your coworkers? No need to be shy, and no more excuses for not making it happen with this next virtual happy hour idea.
You are invited to an online tour of your coworker’s home. Learn about the design choices their family made, see some pictures from their recent vacation, or just have in-depth conversations about what they like to do on weekend.
9. Organize your Virtual Happy Hour in advance
Send out digital invitations
If you want to make the virtual happy hour experience more personal, send out invites. Even though some people might not be able to attend in person they will still get excited when receiving an invite and it also helps them prepare for what’s coming up.
This is a great way of getting everyone excited about the event!
Set a time plan to your Happy Hour
If you’re hosting a virtual happy hour and want to keep it as efficient as possible, make sure that you set up a time limit to each activity.
There’s nothing worse than getting side-tracked during your event or forgetting about the timing so be sure to write down how long each item is going to take in order to create some additional structure.
You wouldn’t like to skip the one drinking game or virtual happy hour activity you spent time organizing.
Send materials they may use for virtual happy hour games and activities
If you make sure that everyone has a chance to participate, make sure to send all virtual happy hour materials beforehand. This ensures that you’re able to keep the meeting moving and running smoothly by giving people time to prepare for what’s coming up.
This is especially important if there are any activities or games planned. You might need to send some specific equipment for a special occasion activity or food and drinks for a tasting experience.
10. Review this fast FAQ before your next virtual event
To organize an engaging virtual happy hour, make sure to double check this fast FAQ and to make sure you got what you need !
How do you have fun on virtual happy hours?
- Choose a theme to bring on some fun like Christmas, Sci-Fi or 80s theme.
- Create icebreakers to start things off, help people feel comfortable and get to know one another.
- Include games, virtual tours and activities!
What do you talk about during virtual happy hour?
Virtual happy hours are more dynamic when people talk about what they are passionate about (traveling, cooking, sports or even actuality ?). But first, let icebreakers and games do their magic!
Pro tip: Happy hours help your team members to get out of their working routine while bonding with the others. Do not discuss work-related issues.
What can I send for a virtual happy hour?
Depending on the virtual happy hour themes, games, and activities you picked, you might have to send some accessories to your team.
You need to ensure you plan with time the package you will want to send for gifts, accessories, or material your coworkers might need during the virtual happy hour.
How often should I hold Virtual Happy Hours?
You should hold a virtual happy hour every quarter to keep your team members engaged and happy.
The key for your team to keep appreciating your virtual events is to surprise them with original virtual happy hour activities!
We’re all missing in person events at work and in our personal life. So, we deeply hope that you enjoyed these virtual happy hour ideas and tips, and will be able to put them into practice.
We are curious to know how your virtual happy hour goes!
Did you choose a theme? Which one is it?
Did you organize a drinking game? Or any other virtual scavenger hunts, drawing games, or breakout room activities? Were your teammates happy and excited to participate?
Share your tips, tricks, and photos with us on social. We’d love to see your virtual happy hour in action.