20 Best Tips for a Virtual Happy Hour

people drinking wine

As a leader at a virtual company, you’re probably always looking for new and innovative ways to engage with your employees. It’s certainly not easy keeping a remote team engaged. However, it’s important to try because employee engagement is essential to a thriving and enjoyable workplace.

One of the easiest (and arguably most fun!) ways to encourage engagement in the workplace is with a virtual happy hour. A virtual happy hour allows for organic conversations so remote team members can relax and get more comfortable with one another.

However, if you don't plan them correctly, they can also be chaotic and unorganized. Since the main goal of virtual engagement events is to foster connections in a virtual workforce, you’ll want to make sure everything is planned accordingly, runs smoothly, and is enjoyable for all involved.

If you aren’t sure where to get started, we’re here to help.

We put together a list of the 20 best tips for virtual happy hours so you can sit back, pour yourself a drink, and join in on the fun.

1. Choose a time that works for everyone

If you plan a virtual happy hour on a busy day, everyone may feel stressed or overwhelmed. To ensure everyone comes ready to unwind and have some fun, make sure it’s a day that works for everyone. While you can’t please everyone, generally a Thursday or Friday is the best choice. You could always send out a poll to your team to see what date they think would be best.

2. Consider icebreakers

There is always at least one new member of the team that’s joining the happy hour. The best thing you can do is make them feel as comfortable as possible. Consider planning some icebreaker jokes to start the happy hour out on the right track.

3. Create a schedule

It may seem silly, but a schedule can help things run smoothly. You don’t even need to share your agenda with the team but rather use it to guide the conversations. You'll want to consider when you’d fit in introductions, games, breakout sessions, icebreakers, and anything else you want to plan for.

4. Combine virtual trivia with your happy hour

What goes well with virtual cocktails? Virtual trivia, of course. It doesn’t even have to be a lot of work to plan when there’s Online Trivia. Together, your team members will plan three rounds of trivia and get to engage with their coworkers on a whole new level.

5. Don’t make it too long

It’s easy to forget people have been sitting at their desks all day working. If you plan a virtual happy hour that’s too long, people could get antsy or tired. One hour is usually the sweet spot for virtual happy hours.

6. Consider breakout rooms

If you have a large team, it can be hard to keep everyone engaged and happy on Zoom. Breakout rooms can be a great tool to get everyone connected and help them meet new faces they might not have had a conversation with before.

7. Send them something

Whether you’re planning a virtual happy hour for fun or celebrating something, everyone loves receiving a surprise in the mail. If you send them a bottle of wine or craft beer, it shows you care about their contribution and enjoy working with them.

8. Pick a theme

Whether it’s a holiday or a crazy hat party, don’t be shy about planning a theme. It can help keep spirits high and everyone excited.

9. Don’t forget the snacks!

Every good happy hour event has snacks to complement the drinks. Consider sending your team members a goodie bag full of treats they can enjoy throughout the experience.

10. Consider smaller and intimate groups

If you don’t think breakout groups will work well for your happy hour event, you can always consider doing happy hours among different teams at the company to help create connections with coworkers who might not interact otherwise.

11. Create a list of engagement questions

Let’s be honest, silence can be awkward. The best way to prevent silence is by having a list of thought-provoking questions, like this-or-that questions, on hand. It never hurts to come prepared!

12. Make it a margarita Monday or martini luncheon

No one likes Mondays; however, when margaritas are involved, it’s a different story. If it’s a slow time at work, go out on a limb and plan a virtual happy hour event on a Monday (as long as it makes sense for your team members, of course). 

13. Turn your meeting into a happy hour

All those all-hands and stand-ups you attend could instantly be more fun if they were a happy hour, especially if burnout is an issue at your workplace. Try turning your next all-hands meeting into a happy hour event to see if it helps lighten the mood.

14. Plan a happy hour bingo event

Bingo is a fun, interactive game that pairs well with a boozy happy hour event. Take your bingo happy hour to the next level and plan a Workplace Bingo Event. The questions will focus on your team members so everyone will need to know their team pretty well if they want to win.

15. Consider your audience

If your team isn’t big on drinking, you may not want to go with a virtual happy hour event. Instead, consider a chocolate-tasting experience. This is a great way to meet your team in the middle and allows the main focus to not be on alcohol.

16. Wine-tasting Wednesday

If you have a group full of oenophiles, you might want to consider planning a wine-tasting happy hour. Best of all, everything is planned for you, including the bottles of wine for each team member.

17. Get creative

Is your team full of creative individuals who love to channel their inner artists? Then a Paint and Sip virtual happy hour might be what they need. For this virtual experience, everyone will receive everything they need to create a beautiful painting and sip delicious wine.

18. Let the conversation take its course

If the conversations are flowing naturally, that’s great! Keep those icebreakers or questions in your back pocket for another time. The goal of a virtual happy hour is to help foster authentic conversations among team members and help them connect on a deeper level while enjoying a good drink.

19. Get active

Anyone who has been sitting at a desk all day will likely appreciate an opportunity to stretch their legs. One of our favorite ways to do this is with Drunk Yoga. All your team members will need is a drink and a yoga mat to join in on the fun.

20. Have fun!

At the end of the day, it’s important to ensure the events you plan are fun for your team. Don’t let the little things get in the way of a rewarding experience with your teammates. In fact, let Elevent take care of all the planning from conception to execution so you can relax and join in on the fun!

Explore our wide range of virtual events to see if you find anything that can be complemented with a virtual cocktail. If you’re ready to play your event, reach out to our team to see how it works today.