Are you ready to party?! Being stuck working from home doesn’t mean that coworkers can’t still have fun in new and unconventional ways. A lack of in-person communication can leave remote workers feeling isolated, but coworkers can stay connected using several services that offer the opportunity to have virtual office parties. There are numerous virtual party theme ideas, from happy hours to a '90s party.
Popular Services for Virtual Office Parties
There are several video call applications and web platforms that are being used to fill the social distance void and make virtual parties a growing form of entertainment during this COVID-19 pandemic. Among the most popular applications for hosting office parties are the following:
- Zoom is a free app and web service designed to support multiple live videos simultaneously, supporting multiple party participants, several different filters, touch-ups and lighting, noise cancellation, reactions, and presentation control.
- Google Meet is a messaging and video chat service that is not as feature-rich as Zoom, but is ideal for smaller businesses throwing a virtual party. Real-time captions, multiple party participants, screen sharing, and adjustable layouts and screen settings are some features of this tool.
- MS Teams is a communication tool that can allow you to create a shared space for hosting virtual office parties. Some key features include dynamic view, Together Mode (shared background), large gallery view (49-person view), and video filters.
- Other popular services include RingCentral, Vonage, Skype, Slack, and FaceTime.
Your choice in web service for hosting your virtual office party will likely depend on the number of participants. While some services are free, others can be acquired for affordable monthly rates, starting at $15/per month.
Virtual Themed Party Ideas
Virtual parties are crucial for keeping team morale high. Working from home can cause employees to feel like they do not belong, and virtual parties create opportunities for team building, bonding, and boosting morale.
1. Board Game Night
With several apps supporting online board games, this is a great way to make online coworker meetups interesting and fun. Chances are, your coworkers are passionate about board games. Monopoly or Scrabble could be your teammate’s favorite. Board Game Arena, for example, is a popular platform for playing board games virtually. A little healthy competition is good outside of work.
2. TV- or Movie-Themed Happy Hour / Cocktails
Are you in for an evening of relaxation? If so, pull out your favorite cocktail recipe. You could have a theme for the happy hour - maybe one inspired by “The Great Gatsby” or “Sex and the City.” Select a platform (Zoom, for example) for your coworker meetup, pick and create a time for the meeting, then send out invites. Grab your favorite snacks and enjoy catching up. It doesn’t have to be a happy hour either -- check out Ironmark’s Schitt’s Creek Virtual Baby Shower here:
3. Fancy Dinner Party
Home doesn’t seem like the right place for fine dining and posh outfits, but that’s where you can have a fancy dinner party with your coworkers. Everyone could order their favorite foods, and set respective tables where they can show off their fine dinnerware. Whether from a phone or laptop, make a connection with others and imagine dining together in elegance and sophistication.
4. Live Sports Viewing
Is it basketball season or football season? Since meeting at the local bar is out of the question, a virtual watch party is a great option. Save the date for the next football game, or whichever sports game the group is interested in viewing. Send out reminders when game day is close. Have coworkers wear their jerseys and pull out the foam fingers and beer. Chips and dip add the finishing touch to an Instagram-worthy game party.
5. Movie Night
A classic for virtual parties is movie night. Who doesn’t love a good movie? There is no shortage of movies online and Netflix’s group party streams, for example, are ideal for movie night. If the group prefers to watch a single movie, or spend an entire night binge-watching “The Handmaid's Tale” on Hulu, movie night can be fantastic. Set the date and get ready to pull out the popcorn.
6. Wine Tasting
Maybe some of your coworkers are wine connoisseurs. Bonding over your favorite bottle isn’t a bad plan. A good idea is to have each person purchase a bottle of wine from the same region or the same category. When it’s meet-up time, via Facetime or Google Hangouts, compare tasting notes.
7. ‘90s Vibe Party
Feeling a little nostalgic? A ‘90s era vibe party is something that you and your coworkers could enjoy together virtually. Collaborate and create a party-popping playlist, menu, and the attire for the party. This could be the perfect throwback party.
8. Pride Birthday Lunch Party
It’s a coworker’s birthday, but planning a big surprise office party is out of the question. However, the celebrations can go on virtually. Make it a birthday lunch party so that everyone can join in. Better yet, make it a pride-themed party, a nod to the coworker if he / she is involved in LGBTQ advocacy, for example. Each person could decorate their space in vibrant pride colors. Zoom filters are great for birthday parties.
9. Pictionary Game Party
You don’t have to be in the same room with your coworkers to play Pictionary. This game can easily be played virtually via group video call. Pick a date, set up the call, and start having fun. Whether you use the Houseparty app to play or use a Pictionary word generator to create real-time, random words for guests to draw, everyone is in for a fun time.
10. Disco Dance Party
It’s time to get jiggy with it and bust your best dance move. A virtual dance party may be just what’s needed to get everyone’s mind off the pandemic, relieve stress, or hit the reset button. Collaborate on a playlist, set the date, send out invites, and get the party started. It would be fun to have each person show off their signature dance move.
Here at Ironmark, about a third of our employees are working remotely these days. We have tried some of these parties -- and they truly are a blast. Virtual get-togethers are the new normal and can really improve morale among employees. So, it's best to make the most out of the experience! Drop us a line if we can help inspire you or your team to improve morale with virtual parties!