Ahoy matey! Welcome to our list of virtual happy hour ideas.
Virtual happy hours are social events held over video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Webex and Google Meet. The goal of these events is to have fun and build relationships between attendees. Virtual happy hour ideas are specific games, activities and themes that you can use to boost engagement further. Other names for these events include online happy hours and remote happy hours.
This list includes:
- virtual happy hour games to play with coworkers
- Zoom happy hour games
- virtual work happy hour ideas
- virtual happy hour activities
- virtual happy hour themes
And more 🙂
So, check out this list of fun ideas for virtual happy hours.
List of virtual happy hour games
The following list includes fun games to play during virtual happy hours. These games are designed to be five to fifteen minutes each, so you can run them quickly as part of a larger agenda.
1. MTV Cribs: Fridge Edition
MTV Cribs is a show where a camera crew follows a celebrity around their house. The celebrity shows off some of the house features and cool stuff they collect. “This is my third hot tub that I only use for parties”, you might hear these fancy people say.
MTV Cribs: Fridge Edition is just like the show but with fewer trophy display cases. For this virtual happy hour activity, challenge three of your attendees to do a virtual tour of their kitchen. Start with the counters, then go to the cupboards, and finally the big reveal: inside the fridge.
Other people on the call should be an active audience; cheering, asking questions and shaming the hosts for their wilted lettuce. Record the sessions and archive them as a unique moment in organizational history.
2. Something in Common
Something in Common is an icebreaker game you can play during virtual happy hours. To start off, divide your people into breakout rooms with four or five people each. The group members have three minutes to find the three most unique things they have in common. The emphasis is on unique, because “we all have ears” is boring, but “we all cooked corn on the cob in the last week” is novel and interesting.
3. Virtual Happy Hour Bingo
Virtual Happy Hour Bingo is a type of Online Team Building Bingo.
One way to increase engagement during remote happy hours is to give your people something active to do throughout the session. Bingo fulfills this need nicely by providing prompts and clues for your people to listen for and check off throughout your call.
Here is a game board you can use:
Virtual Happy Hour bingo is a fun, easy and familiar way to integrate games into your virtual happy hour.
4. Virtual Happy Hour Trivia
A quick round of trivia is familiar, refreshing and a great way to encourage interaction on your next virtual happy hour.
For a successful round of trivia, you need:
- An engaging host.
- Good questions.
- A game format.
And that’s it; anything else like technology or similar resources is optional.
For the engaging host, we recommend asking for volunteers. The trivia host doesn’t have to be the event planner or manager; it could be any team member that wants to take on the role. Provide paid time for the person to prepare.
Here is a list of virtual happy hour trivia questions you can use:
And check out our post about how to play virtual happy hour trivia for rules and guidelines.
Most trivia adapts well to an online format, so you can do a variety of “name that tune” style trivia, pub trivia and more. One recommendation is try to include action items in your virtual happy hour trivia because sitting in front of a soul-sucking screen the entire time usually doesn’t maximize engagement.
The easiest way to make your own virtual happy hour trivia questions is to Google a subject that is relevant to your audience for “weird facts about _________” and then turn that list into multiple choice questions. For example, “weird facts about virtual happy hours” for a very meta approach.
If you prefer a more hands-off approach, then we can host your next virtual happy hour trivia for you.
Our virtual trivia sessions are 60 minutes, and available via Zoom, Webex, Meet and other platforms.
Learn more about Virtual Team Trivia.
5. “I’ll drink to that”
“I’ll drink to that” is a drinking game you can play during virtual happy hours, either with or without alcohol. Personally, I prefer ginger and turmeric tea.
To play this game, decide on a specific phrase that acts as a trigger to take a drink. The phrase should be both common and a little obscure. For example:
- “oh my goodness”
- “what do you think?”
- “can everyone hear me?”
Each time you hear the phrase, everyone says “I’ll drink to that” and takes a sip of their drink.
6. The Question Game
Have you played the question game? Would you know if you did? How long do the questions go?
The answer to that last question is “as long as you can keep it up!”
Playing The Question Game is simple, challenging and fun. To play:
- One player asks another player a question.
- That player must respond with question directed at another player.
- That players must respond with a question and redirect as well.
- Keep going until the questions stop.
I played The Question Game tonight. It was fun; or was it?
7. The Statement Game
The Statement Game is the opposite of The Question Game.
To play, one person starts with a statement and then passes it to the next player. That person responds with a statement and continues the conversation. Your goal is both to continue the chain of logic and continue making statements as long as you can.
The game ends when someone asks a question or you fail to make a statement within five seconds.
8. Virtual Werewolf
Werewolf is a popular game where some players become wolves, others become villagers and you operate a little like the show Survivor voting people off the island. This game is great for virtual happy hours because no special equipment is involved; just a stable internet connection, a little strategy, and a whole lot of talking.
For the full rules, check out our list of online team building games.
List of virtual happy hour activities
Most games are activities, but not every activity is a game. This list includes fun activities that can enhance your next virtual happy hour.
9. Cocktail Shake-Up (Hosted)
Cocktail Shake-Up is a fully-facilitated virtual happy hour optimized for team building. During the event, the bartending-host teaches your team to make two prohibition-era style drinks and then leads a series of fun games. For example, your team might just play the World’s Classiest Drinking Game and do a real historical toast.
We’ve run hundreds of events, for companies like Apple, Amazon, Google and Netflix. We’d love to run a virtual happy hour for your team too.
Learn more about Cocktail Shake-Up.
10. Virtual Happy Hour Icebreakers
Starting a virtual happy hour with five minutes of ice breaker questions can drastically improve the tone of the entire experience. I recommend that you use fun icebreakers, like:
- Where would you haunt for all eternity?
- Pancakes of waffles?
- Which song can you listen to over and over again?
- On a scale of 1 – 5, how are your guacamole making skills and why?
Here is a full list of virtual icebreaker questions.
Quick tip: Have each participant in the virtual happy hour icebreakers announce the next person up before sharing an answer. Virtual calls lack the visual cue of standing in a circle, so you need to be very deliberate about the order.
11. Compliment Train
Nothing quite beats hearing praise about ourselves, other than maybe heaping it on others. For the compliment train, each person takes a turn complimenting another attendee, and then that person choose someone that hasn’t been complimented yet to give their own.
The Compliment Train is a fun way to encourage employee appreciation and recognition, and is effective because it happens at a peer level.
12. Virtual Happy Hour Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts can be a fun way to unite your people around a common cause. That cause it usually solving clues, and racing against time to beat the other teams. This format doesn’t work very well for virtual happy hours which are typically short in duration, and hard to collaborate during.
Instead, do a lightning round scavenger hunt:
- Organize your people into teams for point allocation.
- Announce a series of objects one by one.
- Attendees race to find the object.
- Players win points for their team by being the first to show the object on screen.
For example, you could prompt your people to find a curling iron, a go-to breakfast item, or their favorite socks. Rinse and repeat until the fun dries up.
Pro tip: Instead of gathering items like mugs and dictionaries, try to select items that have some personal affinity. For example, you could ask participants to grab their favorite mug, or the last book they read. These personal connections provide opportunity to share and make connections.
For a successful hunt, you really just need a list of items and rules, so here is our resource with both: How to Run a Virtual Scavenger Hunt.
13. The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Young Michael once called a radio station and asked that the host play The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Nylons. I was a fool that hadn’t yet been exposed to the harsh realities of cover songs.
Nonetheless, I would like to share with you one of the modestly fun remote happy hour activities, known as The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Here are the rules:
- The host plays the infamous song from my radio-troubled childhood.
- Encourage your attendees to sing-a-long with the lyrics.
- Every time The Tokens say the words “the lion sleeps tonight”, everyone closes their eyes and simulates sleep.
- The last person to open their eyes each time gets 1 point. If the song says the lion phrase again before you open your eyes then you lose 5 points, and can go negative.
Here is The Lion Sleeps Tonight for your reference:
You can do this activity with other songs too, but Another One Bites the Dust is less fun. Depending on your squad, “sippin’ on gin and juice” could be a hit.
14. Murder Mystery
Murder Mystery game mechanics work well in virtual conference rooms because the experience is mostly talking, listening and playing detective. You can plan your own Murder Mystery, get one out of a box, or work with us to do a Murder in Ancient Egypt themed event.
Murder in Ancient Egypt is a challenging event, where your team races to complete puzzles and solve clues. The event is 90 minutes, and perfect for promoting remote team engagement.
Learn more about Murder in Ancient Egypt.
15. Ocean’s 5 or So
Ocean’s 11 is a heist movie that includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts and some other fancy people. George Clooney, like me, was recently spotted in the Canary Islands.
Ocean’s 5 or So is a virtual happy hour activity that explores similar concepts. For this activity, assign your people to small breakout rooms with around five people. Each group must develop a wildly ambitious heist of a high-profile target. When you bring everyone back to the main room, have the groups present their devious plans and vote on which one is most likely to succeed.
16. Staring Contests
One idea for virtual happy hours is to hold a staring contest. Choose two people to face off and see who blinks first. The winner then competes against the next person and so on. A staring contest often ends super quickly, so you should combine this idea with others on the list.
List of virtual happy hour themes
An easy way to increase excitement and engagement for virtual happy hours is to give them a theme. For example, you could do an 80s party, a Halloween dress up, or high tea.
17. 80s Party
In the early 2000s, retro 80s parties were all the rage on college campuses across North America. Now, you can have your Vanilla Ice and eat it too, with an online 80s Party during your next virtual happy hour.
A successful 80s themed party has several key elements:
- 80s music. Your playlist will probably include Michael Jackson, MC Hammer and Kris Kross.
- 80s clothing. Bring your colorful swag and shiny bling.
- 80s hairdos. You don’t have to cut your hair into a mullet, but you could.
Here is some inspiration for your party:
You could choose another decade for your virtual happy hour theme too, for example the 50s.
18. Halloween Anytime
In the real world, sometimes it is Halloween and sometimes it isn’t. Online, you can have Halloween any damn time you please.
Halloween Any Time is a way to do virtual happy hours with a haunted aesthetic. Here is how it works:
- Encourage your team members to dress up in Halloween costumes.
- Prepare spooky backgrounds for the virtual conference call.
- Ask icebreaker questions like “where would you haunt for all of eternity?
- Tell ghost stories.
Halloween Any time is a fun way to get together that breaks the normal expectations of what a virtual happy should be. You can do iterations on this idea with Christmas Any Time or Thanksgiving Any Time, but Halloween is better.
For more spooky happy hour inspiration, check out our list of virtual Halloween party ideas.
19. Black Tie Event
Just because your event is virtual, doesn’t mean you can’t dress up. For your “black tie” virtual happy hour theme, nobody actually has to wear a black tie. Instead, encourage your attendees to:
- Wear a suit and tie, dress or other formal clothing.
- Prepare a small plate of bougie appetizers.
- Make a fancy people drink, like a Manhattan or scotch on the rocks.
- Include icebreakers like “which famous celebrity would sing at your wedding?”
Black Tie themed events can also be excellent for virtual fundraising.
20. Nicolas Cage Movies
The one thing that is definitely true of Nicolas Cage movies is that there are a lot of them. For example: Face/Off, Con Air, and National Treasure. For this themed virtual happy hour your teammates can embrace their inner Cage and celebrate his work.
- Dress up like Nicolas Cage from your favorite movie.
- Play a game of “identify which movie the quote is from”.
- Do Nicolas Cage themed trivia.
- Watch a Nicolas Cage movie together.
- Do a National Treasure inspired virtual scavenger hunt.
While this theme is obviously very Nicolas Cage focused, it doesn’t have to be. You could replace the actor’s name with Sylvester Stallone, Mariah Carey, Isaac Asimov, or anyone else with prolific work.
21. Virtual Holiday Party Theme
My colleague, Carly, is a little obsessed with Christmas. Chances are that someone on your team is too, or maybe the holidays are just approaching. Either way, a virtual holiday party themed happy hour can be a great way to connect your people in the holiday spirit.
For this theme:
- Send cute holiday cards in advance.
- Start with holiday themed music, like Jingle Bells and Twelve Days of Christmas.
- Include an ugly holiday sweater competition.
- Ask icebreakers like, “what is your earliest memory of the holidays?”
Check our our list of virtual holiday party ideas for more inspiration.
You can develop your own activities and games to play during online happy hours too. Nearly anything framed as a fun game can be a quick way to engage your people.
FAQ: Virtual Happy Hours
Here are some of the common questions about virtual happy hours, and our answers to each one.
What is a virtual happy hour?
A virtual happy hour is an online social event, usually held over video meeting platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Webex. These virtual events are similar to their non-virtual counterparts, and usually include icebreakers, simple games and activities and drinks. It is common to adopt a theme for your virtual happy hour, such as 80s, Christmas, or Sci-Fi. These events are also known as remote happy hours or online happy hours.
What are virtual happy hour games?
Virtual happy hour games are fun games to play with coworkers or other attendees at your remote event. For example, these games might include Something in Common, The Question Game, or virtual team trivia.
What are the best virtual happy hour games?
The best virtual happy hour games are ones that encourage participation from all attendees. For example, you can't complete Something in Common unless everyone contributes. The ideal length for a game is 10 to 15 minutes, and you can plan several games for your event, which will keep the momentum going.
How can you increase engagement at a virtual happy hour?
One of the best ways to increase engagement at a virtual happy hour is to use breakout rooms. Most major video meeting platforms have breakout room features, where you temporarily separate groups of people from the main event. These breakout rooms provide opportunity for small group dynamics, which encourages participation, especially for introverts. Another way to increase engagement at your remote happy hour is to require video and audio both be on at all times.
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