The current restriction brought by the pandemic changed the way everyone works and interacts with each other. Even socializing outside the workplace is affected by social distancing measures to follow even for years to come. For remote employees, Zoom happy hour games are here to the rescue!
Surely, the new normal changes the world for good. Thanks to technology, we can still connect and collaborate with our friends and coworkers miles apart, making remote work and virtual meetups possible.
Make your meetings livelier by these following Zoom happy hour games and how you can host them in your remote team.
What is Zoom happy hour?
A Zoom happy hour or virtual happy hour refers to a social activity done over video conferencing platforms, especially Zoom.
Employees used to allot after-office hours to socialization, whether with their coworkers or friends. Social activities such as dining out and going to bars helped them unwind after a long day or week at work.
With the restrictions brought by the pandemic, employees got stuck at home with their families. Remote work has its downsides, as experienced by employees. One of them includes Zoom fatigue brought by almost endless virtual meetings.
To avoid this, companies organize team-building and happy hour events through Zoom at least once a week.
Why remote teams should host a Zoom happy hour
One of the major downsides of remote work is employee detachment. Since they do their work at home and in front of a screen, employees might feel distant from their coworkers and the company.
In return, this affects their overall productivity and motivation at work.
A virtual happy hour can help maintain their connection with their employees and company. This uplifts their team spirit and camaraderie, teaching their teams to work with each other even when they’re miles apart.
What’s more, virtual games and icebreakers help stimulate their analytical and critical thinking skills.
Zoom happy hour games for remote teams
Instead of organizing another virtual meetup, make your Zoom bondings livelier by adding games and icebreakers.
Here are some Zoom happy hour games you can easily add to increase your team’s interaction.
Virtual escape room
Virtual escape rooms work the same way as physical escape rooms. Here, participants need to crack puzzles, solve riddles, and find several clues for them to “escape” from the room.
This activity encourages teamwork and collaboration, creative problem solving, and analytical thinking.
The majority of available virtual escape rooms require a small fee to participate. However, some free rooms are organized by public organizations and would only require you to sign your team up.
Large-scale, team-based scavenger hunts might not be recommended in a virtual setting. Fortunately, you can still organize quick, small-scale ones with the items your employees have at home.
Virtual scavenger hunts are among the easiest activities to organize since it’s up to the host to customize their theme and items list.
MTV Cribs: Home office edition
MTV Cribs is a popular show on the MTV channel where celebrities do a tour around their houses. Most of them show their prized possessions and trophies for the world to see.
Your team can also feel like a celebrity with a home office edition of this show! Encourage your participants ahead of time to make their home office presentable.
Then, choose at least three or five employees that will present their home offices – complete with a little background story, chitchat while walking, and the presentation proper.
The most common in the list, a good old trivia quiz night (or day) won’t cease to bore them at times.
Organize a virtual trivia quiz with several rounds for each theme. This is the best way to challenge their quick thinking and wit, from answering general knowledge questions to finding out how well they know their favorite movies and music.
‘Never Have I Ever’
The rules of Never Have I Ever can be plain simple: each participant will list a potential activity or experience they haven’t encountered yet.
Then, you as the host will ask everyone if they have experienced it. If someone has done a certain action, they will take a drink of water or do the consequence you will set.
This game can be a great icebreaker for remote team-building activities.
Believe it or not, you can play charades virtually! Have your participants team up in pairs or two groups. One of them will act out the word that the others will guess as quickly as possible.
The pair or team with the best time wins. You can either set a prize or create certificates to appreciate their efforts.
Virtual Family Feud
Amp up their teamwork by organizing your mini-game show! You can host a virtual Family Feud on Zoom and other video conferencing apps in two ways: Through its play-at-home version or by making a presentation of your own.
With an editable PowerPoint template, you can customize your questions and surveys out of your data.
If you’re fond of board games, then you might appreciate playing virtual Scattergories with your team.
Like in its physical version, you have to provide a certain word or name that starts with the given letter in several categories. You have the option to create your random list or encourage participants to download a Scattergories app on their mobile devices.
Don’t worry if you don’t have time to create presentations for your next Zoom happy hour. There are available multiplayer games on the web that you can use without signup or setup needed.
Skribbl.io, for instance, is an online game that works like Pictionary. The system will randomly choose between participants and let them choose the word they can draw on the board.
Each correct answer will warrant a point for the participants.
Two Truths and a Lie
Lastly, Two Truths and a Lie is a more common icebreaker for both virtual and in-person setup. You can use an interactive board through Google Jamboard in listing their statements.
Participants only have to state three things about themselves, which should be two facts and one lie. The rest have to determine which statement is a lie, either through votation or by repeating the statement out loud.
How to host a Zoom happy hour
Host etiquette is the key to having a successful Zoom happy hour. As the host, you are responsible for keeping the event light and your participants engaging with the group.
After all, the main purpose of this event is to let everyone have a good time. Here are some tips on how to host a successful happy hour without fuss.
- Plan the event ahead of time. Getting prepared is the best way to host a successful happy hour activity. Consider your guests’ available time and date so you won’t be worried about bothering them during their busy schedules.
- Set a theme. Spice up your Zoom happy hour by setting a theme agreed upon by the group. You can have similar virtual backgrounds or have a virtual potluck party for additional fun!
- Keep the activity going. It’s natural for participants to be awkward with new and existing employees they will meet virtually for the first time. As a host, you have to keep their engagement up to make them a bit more comfortable at the same time.
- Practice security measures. Lastly, you would not want a “gate-crasher” to ruin your fun or put your participants at risk. With this, secure your virtual room by practicing several security measures beforehand.
Dos and don’ts in a Zoom happy hour
Whether you’re the host or the guest, it’s still best to maintain order and safety in a Zoom happy hour.
That’s why you should follow the dos and don’ts in hosting (or attending) this activity, some of which are listed below.
- Sharing the room. As much as possible, NEVER share the meeting room link with anyone without the permission of the host. It’s inappropriate to bring an uninvited plus-one especially if the host strictly limits their participants.
- Using the ‘mute’ button. Acquaint yourself using the mute button especially when you’re in a loud environment. If possible, you can install noise-canceling software that minimizes the noise they hear around you.
- “Showing up”. Don’t enter the meeting room late unless you have to. Inform the guests or host ahead of time in case you’re running late or won’t be able to make it at all.
- Being sensitive to others. Be considerate when telling a joke or statement that you think could offend someone, be it a participant or not. Keep it as wholesome and respectful as possible to avoid inconveniences.
- Multitasking. Lastly, don’t multitask with your phone, even virtually. This can be considered rude, especially to the host.