Virtual Happy Hour: How to Make It Right (And Zero Awkward) 

Virtual happy hour

Want To See Your Team Members Grinning From Ear To Ear? Time To Organize A Virtual Happy Hour!

A couple of days ago, in the midst of a hectic work week, Sarah decided that she needed a break to regain her productivity. So, she checked the availability of her team members and set up a virtual happy hour to give them all a much-needed break to socialize. After all, this is the perfect way to increase happiness by 66%!

But, she remembered that some of these members were new and did not know each other. Knowing that things could get awkward, she sat down to devise the perfect activities to make sure everyone had fun and was comfortable!

Excited to take some time off from being hunched in front of their laptops, her colleagues gladly accepted the invitation to spend some time together online playing games or indulging in various interesting activities. 

Do you want to plan a fun and interesting virtual happy hour for your team members too? Let’s start by talking about what it is and how it can help your team.

Virtual happy hour

What Is A Virtual Happy Hour?

Virtual happy hour meme

A virtual happy hour is a specific amount of social time dedicated to employees to interact with one another. They can use this online meetup to play games, have dinner and drinks, or just get to know each other better.

But what is the point of having a virtual happy hour? A study from Harvard Business Review advises creating such social hours to give remote team members a chance to build connections and increase their work motivation. 

It also helps that virtual happy hours give employees a chance to feel good about themselves and build camaraderie that helps the team thrive as a whole. 

In short virtual happy hours are good for:

  • Forging strong connections
  • Building trust
  • Creating a sense of togetherness and community
  • Increasing productivity
  • Improving teamwork

So, if you want to see your team and company perform well, here are some fun ideas to make your virtual happy hour an event that everyone looks forward to.

17 Virtual Happy Hour Ideas To Have Fun

17 virtual happy hour ideas to have fun

1. “I’ll Drink To That”

As you must have guessed, this is a drinking game. But you do not necessarily have to play it with alcohol. You can bring your favorite beverage or even coffee. 

This game entails that everyone on call decides on one or more phrases that act as an indicator that you have to take a drink. No matter who uses the phrase, everyone present has to drink their choice of liquid.

Here are some tips to decide on a phrase.

  1. It should be funny.
  2. It should be common.
  3. It should be a little ridiculous.

You can also use these phrases or come up with your own.

  1. “Oh My God”
  2. “Am I Audible?”
  3. “Let’s Play!”

Every time someone uses the phrase that you all have collectively chosen, you are supposed to say, “I’ll drink to that!” and have a sip. This game keeps you entertained and hydrated!

2. Charades

Many people enjoy the age-old game of charades every now and then. All you need to do is divide the attendees into groups and then give each one a prompt to silently act out. Each team that guesses the right answer wins a point. 

This is an especially easy game to get everyone’s creative juices flowing and can help them loosen up. Below are some word options that you can explore for an interesting game of charades.


  • Psycho
  • Die Hard
  • Saw
  • Forrest Gump
  • American Beauty


  • The Help
  • Beloved
  • Of Mice And Men
  • Pride And Prejudice
  • Harry Potter

TV Shows

  • Mad Men
  • Six Feet Under
  • Two And A Half Men
  • Orange Is The New Black
  • The Vampire Diaries

3. Never Have I Ever: Remote Edition

The remote edition is much like the original version of this game. Every player will hold up ten fingers when the round begins and say one thing that they haven’t done. Examples of these could be:

Never have I ever
  • Never have I ever watched a show from start to finish.
  • Never have I ever played football.
  • Never have I ever taken a day off work.
  • Never have I ever been in a pillow fight.
  • Never have I ever dozed off during a work meeting.
  • Never have I ever had a virtual work meeting in my pajamas.
  • Never have I ever lied in this game.
  • Never have I ever cut my own hair.
  • Never have I ever gone out without brushing my teeth.
  • Never have I ever pranked someone. 

Whenever someone puts down a finger because they have done that task, they have to take a sip of a drink. The person who puts down all their fingers wins!

💡Tip: Want to take the fun to the next level? Add some virtual jokes to the happy hour!

4. Virtual Escape Room

If you want to have an unforgettable virtual happy hour, then one of the best ideas is to go to a virtual escape room. There are many websites online that have such events, usually lasting for 75 to 90 minutes. Here are some of them. 

  • The Escape Game
  • The Escape Live
  • Team Building Hub

Whether you want to experience a heist, prison break, art museums, or the bottom of the ocean, virtual escape rooms have it all!

5. Compliment Train

The compliment train is a great way to spend a virtual happy hour and boost the morale of your team. This starts off with one person complimenting the other, and then they choose someone else to compliment. This goes on until everyone has been given a compliment.

The best part is that you can have as many rounds as possible and make sure that everyone ends up smiling by the time you are done. Some of the compliments that you can use are:

  1. You have an extremely healthy perspective.
  2. You’re a savvy problem-solver.
  3. We enjoyed your contribution during the presentation.
  4. You’re a great communicator.
  5. I appreciate your trust.

💡 This positive feedback from others is key to mental health and helps improve confidence and self-esteem in the work environment.

6. Useless Talent Show

Useless talent

One of the best ways to make your virtual happy hour interesting is to get a useless talent show going. A useless talent does not include acting, playing instruments, or singing. Instead, it includes showing off a skill that is actually pretty useless.

These could include touching your nose with your tongue, balancing scales on your face, or spinning a coin!

7. Virtual Bingo

You cannot have a list of virtual happy hour games without bingo on it. You can act as the bingo caller and include clues and prompts that all your team members will listen to during the call. 

As you call out the numbers and statements, participants can check them off of their cards. The first to complete the set will be the winner! Here is an idea of what your bingo card can look like. 

Conference call bingo

Playing virtual bingo is a great way to deal with work stress as you forget about everything and just focus on the game! 

8. Pictionary

Virtual Pictionary is an easy game where you can channel your inner artist while your teammates guess what you are drawing. Just use a website like the ones below and get silly with your team!

  1. Draw Copy
  2. Drawsaurus
  3. Skribbl

9. Book Club

This virtual happy hour activity is a fun way to get to know your team members and their reading taste. The idea is to go around asking everyone present to talk about their most recent read or their favorite book. You never know, you can learn something unexpected about them.

You can also use this opportunity to give book recommendations to those who do not read. 

10. Classic Board Games

You will find numerous classic board games, such as Clue and Scrabble online, which you can play with your colleagues. It will be a great opportunity for you and your team to go on an adventure in a fantasy world or solve a murder mystery. 

There are various websites online that help you play virtual versions of classic board games. These include:

  1. Board Game Arena
  2. Happy Meeple
  3. Tabletopia

If you do not want to turn to the classics, feel free to check out some fun and interesting online Slack games as well.

💡Related: Slack Games For Remote Teams

11. Virtual Cocktail Hour

Another way to bond with your colleague is to turn your virtual happy hour into a cocktail hour. Each of you can get virtual happy hour cocktail kits right to your doorstep and taste them one by one to give your views. 

Once everyone has their drinks in hand, you can either play drinking games or recall happy memories to share with your team. 

12. Guess The Song Challenge

A great way to challenge all your music-loving team members is to see who can recognize a tune. This is where Guess The Song virtual happy hour game comes in. 

You can make this activity easy by asking your colleagues to add different songs to a collaborative playlist on Spotify. Then, play this one by one and see who can guess the tune first. 

13. Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Virtual scavenger hunt

Make a list of a couple of household items and tell your team members to try to find these things in their house. The first to find these either gets a prize or the last to find them has to drink. 

You can add all kinds of items to this list, but here are some ideas to help you.

  1. Find a hairbrush.
  2. Find something with buttons.
  3. Find a shoelace.
  4. Find three stuffed animals.
  5. Find a pillow.
  6. Find something that is round.
  7. Find a food item.
  8. Find something that you made.
  9. Find a liquid.

This is a fun activity, which can either turn into fierce competition or let you get to know your teammates a little bit better. 

14. I Spy

Do you remember playing I Spy back in school when your friends would have to guess what you were looking for? A virtual version of this game is much like the traditional one, but it has a twist. 

Before you begin playing, give your coworkers a few minutes to hide some things in plain sight in the background. Then, you can start your virtual happy hour game!

15. Guess The Location

There are some perks to having a remote team, such as having a diverse workforce from all over the world. While you cannot travel to every single location, you can certainly explore them by playing Guess The Location during your virtual happy hour.

It is an easy and quick game to play, especially if you use a website like Geoguessr. You will find yourself in one spot somewhere and will have a street view map to navigate. Try to look for clues that help you figure out where you are and put a pin there. Once you are done guessing, see if you were right all along!

16. Would You Rather?

Would You Rather is one of the best icebreaker games, which also gives you the chance to bond with your teammates. It is a great way to discover hidden passions, curious interests, and fun truths. Here are some questions you can ask.

  1. Would you rather have a superpower or live forever?
  2. Would you rather live on Mars or travel the world?
  3. Would you rather have a stomach that never gets full or a body that never gets tired?

17. Show And Tell

A virtual show and tell is no different from the one you used to have in school. So, just tell your coworkers to bring any item that they are proud of at the next virtual happy hour session. 

This item can be anything, from their latest purchase to their favorite stuffed toy. It will be a good chance to get to know them a little bit better.

Dos And Don’ts Of Planning A Virtual Happy Hour

The thing about virtual happy hours are that they could be fun or awkward; there´s no in-between. Here are some general recommendations of mistakes to avoid when planning a virtual happy hour: 

1. Do Figure Out The Basics

One of the first things that you need to do for a virtual happy hour is to figure out the basics. These include deciding who can come and at what time. Try to keep the attendees to a minimum, so you can get to know them first.

Zoom happy hour

Where the time is concerned, Friday at 5 pm is generally considered to be happy hour time. But you can be as flexible as you want. Send your colleagues an email with a couple of options, and pick the one with the most votes!

Another important thing to keep in mind is the platform. Even though you do not have to pick a venue for your virtual happy hour, you do need to figure out which online platform you will use. There are numerous options, including the ones below.

  • Skype
  • Zoom
  • Houseparty
  • Google Hangouts

2. Don’t Forget To Plan

Once you have taken on the responsibility to be a gracious host, you need to uphold all the responsibilities that come with it. This means that you have to be prepared in advance and armed with activities to accommodate all kinds of team members. 

Make sure that you introduce everyone and keep an eye on the guests who are especially quiet. They may need some encouragement to start socializing with the rest. 

3. Do Choose A Theme

While having a theme is not necessary, it is recommended since it helps differentiate between social team bonding time and business meetings.

You could have an 80s-inspired virtual happy hour and ask everyone to wear retro clothes or you could have them dress up in costume or just show up in their PJs!

📚Further reading: How To Plan a Successful Virtual Business Lunch?

4. Don’t Plan Generic Activities

If your group already knows each other, one of the easiest things to do is sit with a drink in hand and talk. It is a great way to chat and catch up. However, it does get boring after a while and makes the less-acquainted members of your team feel awkward.

In the case the members of the team don’t know each other so well, you can start with an ice-breaker activity to put everyone on the same page. 

This is why you can indulge in the interesting activities mentioned above and have a great time. from virtual wine tasting to scavenger hunts, you can have a fun bonding experience!

5. Do Get Snacks And Drinks

To get into the spirit of a virtual happy hour and make everyone feel at home, invite everyone to bring a snack or a drink with them. For a party theme, you can ask them to sit down with a soda, cocktail, or beer. But for a Netflix movie screening, they could bring a bag of popcorn and a light beverage!

6. Don’t Leave Invitations For The Last Minute

Join virtual happy hour invitation

Once you have all the basics, the theme, and the activities planned out, it is time to start sending out invitations right away. Instead of a basic email, you can choose to send a fun invite from the internet or design your own if you want.

Here is everything that you need to include in it.

  1. Date
  2. Day
  3. Time
  4. Theme
  5. Agenda/Activities

Make sure to also tell your coworkers if they have to bring something, such as an item for show and tell. Where the theme is concerned, try to be as specific as possible. For example, for a Hawaiian night, you could add suggestions for dressing and even recipes for Mai Tais!

Ready To Let Loose?

Virtual happy hours are an entertaining and unique way to stay connected to your group no matter which corner of the globe you are located in. You can use technology to build connections with your coworkers and use the themes and activities above to keep things interesting.

No matter which virtual happy hour games you choose from the list above, your teammates are surely going to be in great spirits afterward!


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