Employees on Zoom playing virtual happy hour games

By Bond Collective Staff

Working remotely can be hard on your whole team. So how do you help them build camaraderie, maintain cooperation, strengthen their work bonds, and feel engaged? Virtual happy hour games, that’s how.

In this article, we discuss the best virtual happy hour games you can use to bring your team together, boost their energy and creativity, and help them feel like a cohesive unit again instead of lonely individuals working by themselves.

Virtual Happy Hour Games

1) Name That Tune — Emoji Style

Name That Tune — Emoji Style is one of the best virtual happy hour games because it combines two things everyone loves: music and emojis.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Each person takes a turn sharing their screen.

  2. Set a timer for three to five minutes.

  3. Using a program that generates emojis (a text app, MS Word, Google Docs), the person types out the name of their favorite song (or the one most-recently played on their device) in nothing but emojis.

  4. The other members of the team take turns trying to guess the name of the song until the timer runs out.

  5. At the end of the time, if no one has guessed, reveal the song and share what motivated you to play it.

Alternatively, you, as the host of these virtual happy hour games, can display the emoji songs and challenge everyone to work together to guess the title.

For even more fun and challenge, break the group into teams and pit them against each other to see who can guess the most titles correctly.

2) Team Trivia

Employee at home playing virtual happy hour games

Feed your employees’ competitive needs — even when working remotely — by organizing a trivia contest as one of your virtual happy hour games.

One of the easiest ways to organize the event is to divide into two or more teams, break out the Trivial Pursuit board, and have some fun.

We recommend setting a time limit and either seeing which team gets the most pie pieces or which team answers the most questions correctly before time runs out.

Want a twist on the original Trivial Pursuit game? Try these other versions:

  • Disney

  • Star Wars

  • Lord Of The Rings

  • Kids

  • Totally ‘80s

  • ‘90s

There are even supplementary question sets — Big Bang Theory, Friends TV Show, Girls Vs. Guys (with categories tailored to each sex) — that you can use to make things more interesting.

If those options don’t seem like something your team would enjoy, you can also create your own questions on any topic(s) you want.

3) A Significant Year

This virtual happy hour game is a great way for your team members to have fun and get to know each other better in the process.

Before starting the game, have all the participants give you the year they were born.

Google “random number generator” — Google has their own widget for this that should pop up at the top of the search results — and set the minimum to the earliest year someone was born (e.g., 1975) and the maximum to the current year (e.g., 2020).

When you’ve got the parameters set, click or tap “Generate” and the widget spits out a year.

One by one, go through the group and ask each person to share something significant that happened to them in the year on your screen.

You can either generate a new number for each person or generate one number per round and ask everyone about that year.

4) Speed Crossword

Screen shot of employees doing virtual happy hour games

Speed Crossword is a classic among both face-to-face and virtual happy hour games.

The premise and execution are simple:

  1. Create or obtain two or more identical copies of the same crossword puzzle.

  2. Email a copy to everyone who is attending this round of virtual happy hour games.

  3. When everyone is ready to play, divide into two or more teams.

  4. Establish an honor system wherein no one uses the internet to find answers.

  5. Give them a time limit to complete their crossword puzzle.

  6. Send each team to their own breakout room.

The first team to return to the main meeting room is the potential winner (after you verify their answers, of course).

If none of the teams complete their puzzle in the allotted time, determine the winner by which one has the most answers correct.

5) Learn A Line Dance

This entry on our list of virtual happy hour games is unique because it requires that participants get out of their seats and move around.

If you (or another team member) know a simple and fun line dance, you can be the leader. Alternatively, you can find short tutorials online for line dances such as:

  • Electric Slide

  • Macarena

  • Cupid Shuffle

  • Cotton-Eye Joe

  • Cha Cha Slide

Take a few minutes to learn the movements and then have everyone reposition their cameras (if possible) so that they can move around. Start the music and let the fun begin.

We recommend that you record the group dance and play it back when the song ends so that everyone can enjoy the results.

6) Virtual Happy Hour Games Bingo

Employee playing virtual happy hour games

Virtual Happy Hour Games Bingo is a fun and easy activity you can run while other things are going on (think of it like a background app).

Search online for conference call bingo boards, or make your own with prompts such as:

  • “Sorry, I was muted.” (Or some variation)

  • “You have to unmute.”

  • “Can everyone see my screen?”

  • Someone drops from the call

  • Dog appears on screen

  • Cat appears on screen

  • “Can you hear me now?”

  • You take a drink at the same time as a coworker

  • Meeting ends on time

  • Family member in background

  • Host uses breakout rooms

When someone completes a row (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal), they should yell out “Bingo!”

Verify their answers and either keep the game going (for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place) or move on to another game.

7) Quick Questions

As virtual happy hour games go, this one is both easy to set up and fun to execute.

You can run it one of two ways:

  1. Ask a different question to each participant.

  2. Ask the same question to each participant.

If you want to try the former option, make it rapid-fire so they answer the first thing that comes to their mind. You’ll need a long list of questions for this one.

If you want to try the latter option, you can give more time for a thoughtful answer. You’ll need fewer questions for this one.

Either way, leave plenty of time for discussion afterward (or even during the game) so team members can explain their response.

Here are some examples of quick questions:

  • What is your guilty pleasure movie?

  • Which song can you listen to over and over again?

  • Pancakes or waffles?

  • Where would you haunt for all eternity?

  • Which web browser do you use most?

  • Would you rather work from a mountain cabin or the beach?

  • What is the last book you read?

  • What is the coolest/most unique thing you have within reach right now?

  • What is your typing speed?

  • What is your WiFi name?

  • What is the last website you visited?

  • What was your first online username?

8) What Do You Do?

What Do You Do is one of the simpler virtual happy hour games, but it’s no less fun.

You also can’t use it every week (if you get together that often) or even every month because answers won’t change enough to stimulate further discussion.

However, if the composition of your team changes or you have different attendees at your gathering, you can bring this one back for a bit of variety.

Here’s how it works:

  • Pose this situation to your team: “You’re alone in a dark cabin. All you have is one match, an oil lamp, a fireplace, and a candle. Which would you light first?”

  • Allow a minute or so for everyone to think about and choose their answer.

  • Give each participant the opportunity to share their choice and the reasoning behind it.

Regardless of whether you run this game at the beginning or the end of happy hour, be sure to leave time for discussion and explanation.

9) Backward Charades

In traditional Charades, players are not allowed to use words, only movements and gestures, to describe a person, place, thing, or action. In Backward Charades, it’s the opposite: Players are not allowed to use gestures, only words, to elicit the correct answer.

In addition to the answer itself, players are not allowed to say certain other words that might give away the answer too easily.

For example, if the correct answer is pizza, you might also consider banning use of the words tomato, sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni. Or, if the correct answer is test, you might ban use of the words study, learn, school, teacher, and answer.

Struggling to come up with prompts for this game? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Shaking hands

  2. Throwing a football

  3. Dancing the Macarena

  4. Walking a tightrope

  5. Making pizza dough

  6. Roping an animal

So, if player A was tasked with describing “shaking hands” without using the words hand, fingers, palm, shake, and greeting, they might say, “As a form of welcome, I’m going to extend my right arm toward you with the end of my arm facing to my left. In response, you are going to extend your right arm toward me with the end of your arm facing to your left. We are going to press the flesh at the end of our arms together and move it up and down slightly.”

If player A’s team can guess “shaking hands” from this description, they win a point.

Backward Charades is very much like the board game Taboo, so feel free to obtain a copy of the game for use in your virtual happy hour.

10) “Who’s Most Likely To…?”

“Who’s Most Likely To…” is a fun icebreaker in which the leader poses a question and the attendees vote on which coworker is most likely to perform that task.

For example, you might ask:

  • Who is most likely to believe that unicorns exist?

  • Who is most likely to wind up on the news?

  • Who is most likely to assume the role of leader in a zombie apocalypse?

  • Who is most likely to run away to join the circus?

  • Who is most likely to visit Antarctica?

  • Who is most likely to win the lottery?

  • Who is most likely to forget a birthday?

  • Who is most likely to help you move?

  • Who is most likely to have a movie made about them?

You can have people vote by raising their physical hand or their virtual hand, or, to make things easier, you can set up a number of online polls and have the computer do the counting work for you.

You can also create penalties for amassing too many votes or not enough, depending on how you want to play it. If adult beverages are part of the festivities, the player with the most votes must take a drink or, perhaps, perform five burpees.

However you choose to structure the game, be sure to leave time to discuss the reasoning behind each vote — especially if someone votes contrary to the majority.

11) Personal-Meaning Scavenger Hunt

This entry on our list of virtual happy hour games is a twist on the standard scavenger hunt where small teams or individuals hunt for items in a race against others.

In a traditional scavenger hunt, you, as the game runner, would plant items for your team members to physically hunt and find. But, because team members may be separated by large distances, this “follow-the-clues” type of participation isn’t possible.

Instead, in a personal-meaning scavenger hunt, you challenge employees to find items that hold specific value for them.

For example, you can give your team members five minutes and ask them to:

  • Find the item that makes them the happiest

  • Find their favorite way to connect to others

  • Find an item that triggers a powerful memory

Once everyone is back on screen, give each person a few minutes to explain the meaning behind the item they’ve chosen.

12) Lightning Round Scavenger Hunt

Like the Personal-Meaning Scavenger Hunt, this virtual happy hour game is a twist on the standard scavenger hunt. Unlike the Personal-Meaning Scavenger Hunt, though, this activity is all about speed.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Divide into teams (or play as individuals if it’s a small group)

  2. On your “Go,” challenge everyone to find a specific object (e.g., a 3.5-inch floppy disk)

  3. The first person back on screen wins a point for their team (or themself)

So, if you’ve divided all participants into teams A, B, and C, and you’ve challenged them to find a large eraser (like a Pink Pearl). Countdown from three and say, “Go!”

Everyone now runs around their living space or searches through their possessions to find a large eraser. The first one back on the video conference with the item in question wins a point.

For even more fun, make a list of uncommon items that someone might have close by and mix those in with more common items such as a stapler, a USB drive, and a paperclip.

Not sure what type of uncommon objects to include? Here’re a few to get you started:

  1. 5.25-inch floppy disk

  2. Cassette tape (from the 80s and 90s)

  3. 8-track tape (from the 70s)

  4. LP record

  5. 45 record

  6. Marble (the pretty, round child’s toy)

  7. Pez dispenser

  8. Magnifying glass

  9. Coaster (for under a drink)

  10. Hip flask

For even more fun, allow time for individuals to explain why they have these hard-to-find items.

13) Sneak It In

“Sneak It In” takes a bit of prep and record keeping, but it’s a fun individual or team game that you can run anytime.

Here’s how it works:

At the start of your virtual happy hour, give each attendee a secret word. (Or, you could divide into teams, separate into breakout rooms to discuss strategy, and then come back together to start the game.)

Players then attempt to work the secret word into the conversation as many times as possible without others noticing. Teams or individuals earn a point every time they mention their secret work without being “caught”. But, if someone else recognizes the other team’s secret word and calls it out, said team loses all their points.

The point of the game is to amass as many mentions of your secret word as possible (without getting caught) while trying to figure out the other secret word(s) floating around.

Whether you run the game with teams or individuals, try to come up with secret words that don’t flow easily into regular conversation.

For example, you might assign such words as:

  • Railroad

  • Avocado

  • Jet ski

  • Kumquat

  • Curry

  • Tango

  • Witness

  • Rhino

14) Group Think

“Group Think” is a fun virtual happy hour game for new teams, or when new individuals are present, because it doesn’t put any one person on the spot right away.

Divide all the participants into small teams (three or four works well) and supply them with a list of questions (or, have them write down the questions as you read them off).

Then, send each team to a breakout room and challenge them to answer the quiz based solely on the knowledge in their heads and without using the internet.

You’ll have to operate on the honor system with this one because the internet is everywhere, but you can stress at the beginning of the game that it’s about having fun with your teammates, not about having the right answer.

Ideas for questions include:

  • Correctly spell a difficult word

  • Guess the number of marbles after looking at a picture (or an actual jar of marbles) for one minute

  • Write as many digits as possible of pi

  • Name three models of a certain make of car (e.g., Toyota Corolla, Camry, RAV4)

  • Name a song based on the lyrics

When all teams are finished, bring everyone back together and present the answers to see who won.

The Right Space For Virtual Happy Hour Games

Coworking space for the right space to do virtual happy hour games

Want to make your virtual happy hour games more effective and more fun for everyone? Choose the right space from which to host the virtual meeting.

It might not seem like it at first, but what your team can see behind you has a significant effect on their attention span and their engagement.

You want them focused on the games — and each other — not on the clutter in the corner of your room.

If you’re running the virtual happy hour games from your home or apartment, position the camera so that it captures as little of your living space as possible — a blank or sparsely decorated wall is best.

The best option, of course, is to run your virtual happy hour games from a conference room or other professional workspace.

The coworking spaces at Bond Collective are the perfect solution for all of your virtual meeting needs.

At Bond Collective, we provide:

With access to those spaces and that infrastructure, your virtual happy hour games will go off without a hitch and bring your distributed team closer than ever before.

Visit any one of Bond Collective’s many locations in the United States, including workspaces in New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Illinois, Tennessee, and Texas. Or call us today to find out more about everything we have to offer.

And while you’re at it, schedule a tour to experience first-hand how the boutique work environments at Bond Collective can benefit your business.