When you hear the phrase “virtual team meetings” do your eyes roll? Has your team been showing up for meetings but staying off camera? With the reliance on virtual communication these days that may be the case.
When the pandemic hit and quarantine was new and unknown virtual team meetings and events became a welcome escape. Now with remote workplaces becoming the mainstay, virtual team meetings have become somewhat routine. Let’s face it, not everyone wants to be on camera anymore; they may simply be tuning in. Today’s virtual meetings and morale-boosting events need to be shorter and bring a fresh energy that encourages people to attend and interact.
It’s time to ask ourselves, “Have our virtual team meetings and events become boring?” Virtual cooking classes may have scratched the itch early on, but they tend to be a little too extensive. Virtual comedy nights have their merit, but they often last too long and not every comedian is funny during a live stream. You want to maintain the fun aspects of your team culture, but it can be difficult to pull off virtually – especially after-hours when your employees have other things going on in their lives. The key is to mix things up during the regular work week.
Two Truths and a Lie
Step 1: Each team member is instructed in advance to come up with three statements about themselves. Two of the statements must be true; one must be a lie.
Step 2: Each team member, one at a time, virtually shares their three statements verbally with the group. The rest of the group decides which statement is the lie. When everyone has voted, your team member shares the lie. You then move on to the next person to share.
Play as many rounds as time allows. You will be surprised at the dialogue and the enthusiasm that ensues when people learn fun facts about each other!
Candlelight Campfire S’mores
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
A dedicated member of your team (or an intern looking to spark some fun) will need to create individual kits containing the materials below and send them to each team member’s home address in advance of the meeting. The kits should include:
- Small tea light wax candles with a wick
- Pack of matches
- Wooden or metal skewers
- Package of marshmallows
- Chocolate bars (you can make it even more tasty with a variety of different flavored chocolate bars)
- Graham crackers
- Small paper plates
- Wet Naps® / wet towelettes
Mail the kits in advance and your team members can use the tea light candles to make their own “campfire” s’mores together virtually. For colleagues who cannot have sugar, there are sugar-free marshmallows and sugar-free chocolate bars available. For team members who have gluten intolerances, there are gluten-free graham crackers available. And, yes, there even vegan chocolate bars and marshmallows available online so you can accommodate everyone.
Each team member can share the different s’mores they’ve made and enjoy a little afternoon pick-me-up with each other before your meeting. Not only is this great for your employees, it may be a fun opportunity to include your employees’ children or significant others for an after school snack or break.
Most importantly: When your virtual campfire s’mores event is finished remind everyone to safely extinguish their candles!!
Most Funny, Cute, or Embarrassing Photos
This team building activity is a blast from the past. You will need to have a dedicated team member coordinate and collect from each employee the most funny, cute, or embarrassing photo from their past (I.e., fun childhood Halloween costume photos or pictures from school plays, etc.). Your dedicated coordinator will need to digitally scan each photo, make sure they are presentable, and put them up on the screen, one at a time. Each team member can then tell the story behind the photo (I.e., how old they were, where they were, etc.). Let the laughs begin!
Avatar Creation and Unveiling
Avatars are popular because they allow a person to create a personal digital identity. You can create a digital alter ego (I.e., a super hero or cartoon/animated version of yourself). It can be an animated representation of who you are today or who you aspire to be. There are free and paid online avatar apps that simply require a digital photo of each team member to create. Some popular avatar creator apps include:
Step 1: You will need to have a dedicated team member who is good with technology coordinate and collect individual head shots from each of your team members.
Step 2: Your coordinator can then load each photo into your chosen app to create an avatar for each person.
Step 3: Your dedicated coordinator will then unveil each team member’s avatar, one at a time, as a surprise on the screen. Your coordinator can then download each person’s avatar as a digital image for them to use on their personal social media, etc. You can further extend the fun once a week by posting an individual team member’s avatar on your company social media to share with clients.
Virtual Craft Brewery Tasting
This is a relaxing way to end the workday together. If you have a local brewery in your town, or a liquor store that carries specialty brews, your team can share a flight tasting together.
A dedicated team member needs to be responsible for choosing three different and unique craft brews. They will then mail one can of each variety to your team members’ homes and instruct them to keep them chilled until the virtual event. This is also a chance to get help from a local expert. If you have a local craft brewery nearby, they may be willing to help you create sampler packages and participate in your event. They could virtually educate your team on the different varieties. It is a way for the brewery to promote their own business as well.
Virtual Wig Party
Another way to liven up your weekly team meetings is to have everyone show up on screen wearing a different crazy wig. You will need to have a dedicated team member plan a date for the virtual team meeting and either shop online, or at a local party supply store, to find a different, inexpensive wig for each person. The wigs are then mailed to your employees’ homes. For example, each person might come on screen as a rock star, Disney character, or simply with a new hairstyle or hair color. They will stay in character as you work through your team’s business agenda.
International Chocolate Tasting
We’ve all heard of wine tastings, but how about a chocolate tasting? Even better…an international chocolate tasting. You could send a small sampling of different chocolate bars to your staff’s homes in advance of an afternoon meeting. As an example, you could order chocolate varieties from Mexico, Venezuela, Switzerland, sea salt varieties, or other flavored options.
You can kick off your virtual afternoon meeting with a decadent treat and share everyone’s favorite flavors before the formal work agenda begins. And yes, if it is an end-of-day meeting, you may as well have a glass of red wine with your chocolate!
Coffee / Tea Tasting from Around the World
Keep it Going Throughout the Year
There are a plethora of other days throughout the year to keep the fun going. Some examples include:
- National Hot Cocoa Day on December 13th
- National Cookie Day on August 4th