Virtual Coffee Break Ideas & Topics

September 16, 2020

When you don’t have a water cooler to gather around, virtual coffee breaks may be the next best thing.

A virtual coffee break is an intentional allocation of time toward low-fidelity activities like chatting and brain storming. You may include virtual coffee breaks to help break the flow of a virtual meeting or conference in a way that helps restore energy and create engagement.

Virtual coffee breaks are sometimes called virtual coffee meetings.

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Let’s get into it.

Virtual coffee break ideas

If you are looking for ideas for you next virtual coffee meeting, then consider these.

1. Host pub-style trivia

If you really want to break-up the flow from a virtual meeting then consider a coffee break with pub-style trivia. You can either form small teams or compete individually. Here are some questions you can use:

  • Q. Who sang, “Frankie said ‘I did it my way'” A. Bon Jovi
  • Q. Jason Mraz is an avocado farmer and supplies avocados to which restaurant? A. Chipotle
  • Q. What is the highest rated Disney movie on IMDB? A. The Lion King
  • Q. What is the most visited website in the world? A. Google.

Radio Times has a list of 300 questions to start you off.

2. Guided meditation

One idea for your next virtual coffee meeting is to embrace a moment of silence. You can do a quick guided meditation led by someone on your team or a YouTube video. The guide will help center your people around the silence and help make the time mindful and restorative.

Here is a 5 minute guided meditation on YouTube you can start with.

3. Quick workout

You could dedicate your virtual coffee break to talking, and another option is to use the time to workout. Encourage your people to do a rapid round of aerobics, push-ups, burpees, jumping jacks or similar. When you work at a computer, even 30 seconds of mildly intense activity can be enough to get your heart rate up and your brow sweaty. These workouts are a good way to incorporate work from home challenges into your culture too.

4. Mini dance party

Instead of forcing your remote team into awkward conversation, consider holding an awkward dance party instead. You can cue up foot-moving classics like Footloose, I Wanna Dance with Somebody and Shake it Off. The give zero f*cks people on your team will get right to it, and the give some f*cks people will come around too. After a minute or two you will have a raging mini dance party that will help energize your people more than coffee ever could.

Mini dance parties are also fun virtual happy hour activities.

Virtual coffee break topics

Here is a list of virtual coffee break topics for your next meeting:

  • What is something you’ve been thinking about lately that no-one has asked you about yet?
  • What is your earliest memory?
  • Would you rather visit the bottom of the ocean or the surface of the moon?
  • Does Bigfoot exist?
  • What was your favorite childhood story?
  • What would the world be like without pancakes?
  • What would be the economic implications if the tooth fairy was real?
  • If cats could talk then what would they say?
  • Who let the dogs out?
  • What is your #1 work from home tip?

Check out our list of virtual team icebreaker questions for more discussion topics.

The variety of topics you can discuss is essentially endless, so put pen to paper and come up with your own topic ideas too.

Virtual coffee meeting tips

Here are some tips for running an effective virtual coffee break.

  • Keep your virtual coffee break between 5 and 15 minutes.
  • Use small group features like breakout rooms to encourage more discussion.
  • Schedule at least one virtual coffee break for every 60 minutes of video conference.

More ideas for virtual coffee meetings

In addition to the ideas above, you may want to try some virtual team engagement activities.

You can also brainstorm a list of your own virtual coffee break ideas and topics. Even three minutes of idea generation can go a long way to making your next virtual meeting a success.

Author: Michael Alexis

CEO of I write about my experience working with and leading remote teams since 2010.

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