Nothing says "team bonding" like silently watching a movie together.
At this point, we are all more than familiar with the Zoom happy hour. It is, after all, the safest option as experts recommend you still don’t go to bars and restaurants amid rising COVID-19 cases. We are far beyond the point of figuring out how to organize a virtual work happy hour and well into the territory of trying to keep our virtual happy hours interesting.
If you’re experiencing Zoom fatigue, you’re far from alone. Experts liken constant virtual hangouts to exhausting in-person happy hours… except at the bar where this happy hour is being held, you run into your family, your friends, your coworkers, and your romantic partner. We’re holding all of our social interactions in the same virtual space and, often, in the same physical space. Who among us hasn’t taken a work meeting, a friend catch up, and a Zoom call all from the comfort of your bed?
One of the easiest ways to alleviate virtual hangout fatigue is by allowing breaks like you would during an in-person hangout. It may feel strange to excuse yourself to go to the bathroom during your work happy hour, but chances are, most other people on the chat want to do the same. Give yourself and your coworkers some natural breaks. Then, try out some of these Zoom work happy hour ideas to help combat video chat exhaustion.
Put together a list of household items people will find during your next work happy hour. You can vary the list from things that relatively common to rare or strange things your coworkers will need to find. Have them find something that’s alive. Have them get their go-to drink. You can make it a competition or just a way to get to know each other better.
Zoom happy hour themes can range from simple to silly to hyper-specific. Make everyone dons their most 90s garb. Have people dress like their favorite TV show character. The more extravagant, the better.
Pick a common ingredient or two that people have to include in their happy hour drink. Start off simple like lemon or frozen fruit. For the more advanced mixologists, you can throw in more obscure ingredients like egg white or nutmeg.
Go old school — like, literal old school — and have everyone bring something to show off and talk about during your next work happy hour. It can be their most prized quarantine purchase, a movie recommendation, or a tweet that made them laugh so hard they almost forgot about the pandemic.
This is game is perfect for people who don’t like games that put them on the spot. Have one person start by asking a simple either/or question: chocolate or vanilla, cats or dogs, early bird or night owl. Everyone takes turns answering, no explanation required. Whoever is in the minority has to take a drink. If it’s a tie, everyone drinks.
Everyone from John Legend to Miley Cyrus is using Instagram live shows as makeshift performances, Q&As, or just a way to connect with fans. Find an artist, a comedian, or a speaker you’re into. I highly recommend Ziwe Fumudoh’s Baited. Then, you can each stream the show on your own devices or watch the Instagram live show on a desktop and have one person screen share to watch it simultaneously.
Have everyone fill out a simple questionnaire with facts that your coworkers likely wouldn’t know. (e.g. What was your first car? Do you have a hidden talent? If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?) You can aggregate responses into one document (names removed and answers shuffled) so you can all play along.
GeoGuesser shows you a random Google Maps street view and you have to guess where in the world that picture is from. You can play as one team through screen share or play in smaller teams and see who can get the highest score.
Have everyone give a tour of their home office or wherever they happen to be calling in from. If that’s a little too personal, have everyone grab an object closest to their right and do a mini show and tell.
Have everyone share their proudest or most ridiculous culinary creation they’ve had that week. Pictures recommended but not required.
Open up your camera roll and show off the most recent (and most work-appropriate) photo you’ve got on your phone. Explanations not necessary.
Do a table read of the pilot episode (or any episode) of a show you’re all into. Bonus points if it’s a workplace comedy. You can find free screenplays of many shows online. From there, all you need to do is call dibs on your favorite character.
This variation of highs/lows is a fresh way to share what you’re excited about, frustrated by, and looking forward to. Each person shares a rose (something positive), a thorn (something negative), and a bud (something they’re looking forward to) for the day, the week, or the month.
Have everyone download the Heads Up! app on their phone, if they somehow haven’t downloaded it already. You could play as per usual: hold the phone up to the camera and having someone else give clues for you to guess. Or you could make it a guessing game for everyone by having the person holding the phone give the clues for everyone else to guess.
Have everyone share a few of their current most-used emojis. Like with sharing your most recent photo, explanations are fun but not necessary.
Divide up into teams of two and try out an escape room like this free one from Enchambered. Whichever team "escapes" the fastest wins.
Have someone pick any of the seemingly infinite crosswords online. Then, they’ll share their screen and you can all solve the crossword together. Don’t be afraid to pick a more challenging puzzle since you’ll have multiple brains working together.
Every lock screen photo has a story even if that story is just "I like this picture." Have everyone show off the the image that they look at most: the one that’s their phone background.
Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you sing in front of your coworkers. Have one person create a playlist of songs. They can be obscure, thematic, or just their faves. They’ll play a small portion of the song and other people will "buzz in" — raise their hands, hold up a sign, etc. — and guess.
If all else fails, you can always turn your next work happy hour into a Netflix party. Nothing says "team bonding" like silently watching a movie together.
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