Virtual Happy Hours: How to Plan the Perfect Event in 9 Easy Steps

A virtual happy hour being hosted on a tablet

This post was last updated on April 12th, 2022

Whether you are experiencing social distancing with your coworkers or whether your team is spread up all over the world, an online office party is always a great idea! And to do so: Nothing better than Virtual Happy Hours

If you’re like most people, you probably think of virtual happy hours as a way to wind down after a long week at work. And while that’s undoubtedly one use for them, virtual happy hours can also be a great way to get to know your coworkers better.

So, it’s time to relax, have fun, and maybe even grab some drinks. You deserve a break!

But as more and more people have started working remotely, it can be hard to find ways for everyone to connect with each other on a regular basis. Virtual happy hours have been popping up as solutions to this problem – but how do you make sure these online gatherings are a success?

This blog post will show you how to plan one from scratch in 9 easy steps.

How to plan the perfect virtual happy hour in 9 easy steps:

1. Pick a Virtual Happy Hour Theme for your Event

2. Get the Right Platform

3. Organize your Virtual Happy Hour in advance

4. Spark Conversation with your virtual team

5. Pick From this List of Virtual Happy Hour Games

6. Best Entertaining Virtual Happy Hour Ideas

7. Try Out Extra Creative Online Happy Hour Ideas to Animate Your Party

8. Get them something to eat and drink

9. Include Exciting Virtual Happy Hour Tours

Travel, pop culture – choosing a theme for your virtual happy hour can add a je ne sais quoi to it.

1. Pick a Virtual Happy Hour Theme for Your Event

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. 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.

Then, ask all participants to dress up accordingly, display a fun-related photo/video background, organize a related virtual happy hour game, or send some themed snacks to all attendees…

It’s up to you! The possibilities are truly endless.

PS: What about a Paris theme to bring that je ne sais quoi type of feeling to your next virtual celebration. Interested? Check out the virtual hangout parties in Paris we organize for our clients!

2. Get the Right Platform

Having the right video conferencing platform in place will be crucial to your event’s success. If your company is still not using any, know that there are many options out there. It’s best to do a little research first.

Zoom and Google Meet icons

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. Google Hangouts, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex, and Skype are all great options for a virtual happy hour.

To choose the perfect platform for your digital reunions, we recommend that you check all their features and 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.

Remember that video quality is key

You should also check the video and audio quality 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 correctly.

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

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.

So to decide on the best platform, 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.

Microsoft Teams allows up to 1,000 people in a meeting (but for views-only up to 20,000).

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 your plan.

Simple technical check-up

The last tip, make sure your guests can join the video calls from their computer or their phone and that you can do some screen sharing. Indeed, some virtual happy hour games could require this feature.

virtual happy hour sign in neon lights

3. Organize your Virtual Happy Hour in advance

Send out digital invitations

Send out invites if you want to make the virtual happy hour experience more personal.

Even though some people might not be able to attend, they will still get excited when receiving an invite, and it also helps them prepare for what’s coming up.

Set a time plan for your happy hour

If you’re hosting a virtual happy hour and want to keep it as efficient as possible, make sure you set up a time limit for 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 to create some additional structure.

You wouldn’t like to skip the one drinking game or virtual happy hour activity you spent time organizing.

Tease your team with funny virtual happy hour memes

Send out funny memes in the team chat related to the upcoming happy hour event to get everyone in the right mood.

This way, you can also start some fun conversations about the event itself and what everyone is looking forward to.

This is also a fun way of getting everyone excited about the event!

Send materials they may use for virtual happy hour games and activities

Make sure everyone has a chance to participate by sending out your virtual happy hour event materials beforehand. This ensures that you can 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 specific equipment for a special occasion activity or food and drinks for a tasting experience.

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

D-day for your zoom happy hour? Let’s do this!

We know your team members might already know each other, but that doesn’t 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 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, 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.

Use fun icebreakers to get the conversation started

If you want to ease the tension and help people feel more comfortable with each other, start with some light and fun icebreaker questions. Here are a few ideas:

  • What’s their favorite cocktail recipe?
  • If you were a piece of furniture, which one would you be?
  • Waffle or Pancakes?
  • What’s your go-to hot drink?
  • Pineapple on pizzas: Yes or no?
  • At what time did you go to bed yesterday night?
  • Can you share a crazy travel story from your last trip abroad?

Make sure to read our blog post to get some more fun icebreakers for any in-person or remote team virtual events.

And, 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!

search bar with the words virtual happy hour games

4. Pick from this List of Virtual Happy Hour Games

Sometimes, leading an interesting conversation and hosting a themed virtual happy hour is not enough to really get the party started and make everyone excited to be here.

To spice up this virtual get-together and wake up the competitive spirit hidden in your collaborators, don’t be shy and add on some games and activities!

Check out below 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 that team members will listen out for during your call.

As the statements/numbers are quoted during the conversation, participants will be checking those off their bingo cards as they hear them. The first one to complete a full line wins!

This happy hour game is an easy and familiar way to play with your team while having casual conversations. It is also a great way to get people happy and engaged.

An Indoor Scavenger Hunt

Give them a party game they’ll remember with a great at-home scavenger hunt.

In a scavenger hunt, players search for items listened to by the host that they can find in their own homes. 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. You can split the group members into 2 teams or let them play for themselves; it’s up to you!

Quick tip: Try asking your party guests to go look for a beer. You might find that they’ll respond faster! 😉

Have doubts on how to organize one? Check out our indoor scavenger hunt for adults post for some tips!

Lightning-Round Scavenger Hunt

If you want to add some extra fun, try out the lightning-round scavenger hunt. This version is all based on speed and reaction.

Instead of a list of items, the game show host will call out the items one by one, and everyone will have to go and get it the fastest they can. Every person that will be the first to bring back the said object will win one point.

A tricky way to also make them do sport all at once!

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.

Who played the leading role of Monica in the TV show Friends?

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?

Remote Trivia game

For your virtual happy hour games, you can also pick one of the classics… 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 Know-It-All Game (Kidding, not kidding!), the best part is that 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 trivia nights are an hour-long, but the optimal duration for a virtual trivia game is around 30 mins. Remember, people’s attention spans online are very different and usually shorter than in-person interactions.

Need more ideas? Check out more virtual happy hour games on our dedicated blog post!

Happy people on a laptop screen

5. Best Entertaining Virtual Happy Hour Ideas

Virtual Netflix parties

Organize a Netflix Party to watch the latest Netflix series over some drinks.

Set members of your party can watch the same thing simultaneously using the Teleparty app (formerly Netflix Party). Amazon Prime is also trying a beta version of a watch party feature, so this could be an alternative if Netflix isn’t an option.

Use it to binge on movies with your coworkers and friends and discuss your thoughts on the app’s chat feature!

Virtual Book Club Night

Another cultural activity could be a virtual reunion 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!

Painting Session 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. Try Out Extra Creative Online 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 game 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 useless skill 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 becoming a virtual show!

Get some more happy hour ideas on our dedicated blog post if you are craving more fun ways to animate your video meeting.

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.

Wine and cheese from France … need we say more?

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, it’s something else. Yep, things just got better without going out of your house.

With your guides, you’ll also learn about the French culture and fun anecdotes about Paris and France… We promise you, you won’t want to disconnect from this delicious and immersive event!

Virtual Happy Hour Cocktail Kits & 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.

Cheers!

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 to 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, contact our team to adapt it to your company and team needs.

Live Cooking Class

Another exciting way to dynamize your happy hour with delicious food could be to send them a surprise ingredients basket and invite a guest chef to join the call.

Let the chef lead the call to explain the different steps in creating a fantastic dish that everyone will be able to share together afterward.

A different activity that will get the participants active while feeding their tummies!

8. Include Exciting 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 real life. So why not keep up with the latest trends and add some fun to your next meeting taking your team on tour?

Virtual Bike Ride

Hop on your bike; we’re 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!

Home tour

Aren’t you curious to peep into the home offices 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 weekends.

FAQ: Everything you’ve ever wondered about Virtual Happy Hours

Before you get started in the organization of engaging virtual happy hour, make sure to double-check this FAQ and that you got what you need!

What is a Virtual Happy Hour?

A virtual happy hour is a social event with your teammates that usually takes place through a video conference call. 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!

To organize one, you would just need your computer, 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. They are hosting all types of conferences or social events such as Virtual Happy Hours.

If you want to make your virtual happy hour fun, make sure to suggest your virtual happy hour guests a fun game, a food and drink experience, a theme, or even a virtual team-building experience to boost engagement and to include something unique and memorable.

One sure is certain: no work talk allowed!

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, series, sports – you name it. But first, let icebreakers and games do their magic!

Pro tip: Happy hours help your team members 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 could send your team some accessories, gifts, snacks, or material.

Make sure you plan this with time ahead so deliveries can be ensured before the virtual meeting.

How often should I hold Virtual Happy Hours?

For very large teams, you should hold a virtual happy hour at least every quarter to keep your team members engaged and happy. For smaller teams, it’s common to gather every month or even every Friday night!

How do you have fun on virtual happy hours?

  • Choose a theme to bring on fun like Christmas, Sci-Fi, or an 80s theme.
  • Create icebreakers to start things off, help people feel comfortable, and get to know one another.
  • Include virtual happy hour activities, games, and virtual tours!

Conclusion

You will organize a great social event if you follow those steps, and all group members will ask for more!

We hope that you enjoyed these 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, so don’t be shy and tag us on your posts!

Looking for other ways to create team cohesion?

At Woyago, we are experts at making your virtual team laugh, connect together, and learn while “traveling” the globe.

Our blog is full of tips for office organization, engaging employees, and energizing the team. So go ahead and check out some of our other posts below for more team-building ideas for online or in-person events:

Prepare your "world" virtual hangout!

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