Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: Team fun event ideas during WFH?
216 points by pseudobry 8 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 265 comments
Can y'all share any team fun event ideas that have worked well for you during the WFH/pandemic period? My folks miss the natural in-person interactions that occur in the office, and we could use some time together to decompress. But, how do we do that remotely? Maybe you long-time remote teams are already experts at this? Is there an "awesome-remote-team-fun-events" GitHub repo?

Any ideas are welcome, but I'm particular interested in events with $0-$100 per person budget and work with team size of 5-20 people. Thanks.

Edit: This is something we'd do during work hours.




Related note: do it during work hours, if possible. Not all of us want to be expected to take an evening to devote to work events. Even if I genuinely like my co-workers, there are times that I want to set aside where I don't have to think about work.


>Related note: do it during work hours, if possible.

No, not just IF POSSIBLE, either do them during work hours or don't do them at all. If a company can't make time during work hours to throw an event they are planning, then don't expect your workers to make time for the event after work either.


This can't be stressed enough. Work outings are still work, and all of a sudden an employer has monopolized my time. Are work events _really_ optional? If I _never_ show up to them?


i've skipped a lot of "optional" work events and i'm sure it has been a negative for my career.

there was one former boss who i felt was always a bit cold and standoffish (but always professional) with me and i could never quite put my finger on why until i did show up at one of the weekly happy hours i almost never went to and realized that he loved them and spent the whole time laughing and smiling and chatting with everyone.

since i was rarely at those and especially missed most of them my first 6 months on the job (when i had some ongoing family issues that required my non-work time and focus), i suspect he took that as a bit of antisocial behavior on my part and prevented him from really trusting me


> i've skipped a lot of "optional" work events and i'm sure it has been a negative for my career.

In the Navy, we'd say "Your presence is not required, but your absence will be noted."


I had a manager deny me the promotion that he otherwise agreed I deserved because I didn't participate in enough happy hours.


I was like ok what ever, then I read that they where "weekly". That is a lot of events. I was thinking like quarterly at the most.


100%. I was required to go to a company holiday party at a former work place and I only found out that it was not really an optional event after I'd already booked tickets for a movie with a Q&A with the director...


My team is fully remote and distributed among time zones, making it impossible to have an event during "working hours" for everyone. So we all just agree on an acceptable time. We think it's important to socialize as it helps engender trust, so we take the hit as it were. We do try to make it fair by moving the time around so it hits various people's off hours.


If possible? ONLY do it during work hours.

I don’t work to make friends with co-workers and hang out after hours. I’m there to put my skills to use, get paid for it, and fuck off to live my own life. Asking me to come to an event and participate for free is bullshit, especially an online event! If it hurts my reputation, whatever? I’m still getting paid and have no desire to get promoted to upper management.


Work "fun" events that happen outside of work hours are totally bogus.


If they're organized by the company, I totally agree. We have (had) a group who voluntarily organized and went out to a local bar after work on Fridays. Everyone was welcome, and no one felt pressured to go or not go.


<rant>

You hit the nail on the head.

After work drinks on Friday are enjoyable because they're informal and not (usually) arranged as a company initiative. It's a chance to let off the work related stress with a group of people in a similar situation while being on neutral territory.

Don't want to come to Friday after work drinks? Sweet, have a good afternoon. I'll be smashing a pint with/without you.

Friday Zoom drinks from 5-6PM can die. No, I don't want to sit in a quasi-optional meeting with 25 people arranged by HR/management. It's not comparable to shooting the shit with a selection of staff that have formed a connection organically.

The best way to determine the success/failure of Friday drinks is the percentage of people still present at 6:05PM. It's at least 50% below the 5:55PM number. At a local bar/pub, it's pretty stable until 7-8 and you're usually an hour past talking pure "work" shit.

</rant>


Nothing beats ranting about the company or your boss with a few coworkers on a Friday evening.


This is fine until the boss shows up. No on wants to tell the boss to get lost, even if the event isn't officially on work time.


Personally I love a bit of work drama like that, when someone blurts out something not realising the boss is there listening.


Yep.

People don't put up enough resistance to our workplaces invading our personal lives.


We have a newer team member that pointed this out to us. He mentioned in a team meeting that he sees us answering people on Slack or email after hours and wondered if he's expected to do the same. It's really best for everyone to just be off work when you're off work. I've started letting things sit til morning if it comes in after I'm out. I don't want to be the guy that makes another guy feel pressured to keep slack on his phone all night.


> I don't want to be the guy that makes another guy feel pressured to keep slack on his phone all night.

The software industry needs more of you.


It's the exact opposite. They keep coming up because most of your coworkers want these events.


As a business owner - I can't ethically ask my employees to have "mandatory fun time" after work.

But 80% of my employees keep asking for them!


No offense but frankly ignore them. They are either BSing (aka, being brownnoses trying to look like "team players") or possibly don't have lives outside work.

If someone is that eager to have an event outside work, then you should ask yourself why haven't they organized one themselves? Either it is option A (they are just brownnosing and saying what they think you want to hear) or B, 80% of people don't actually want to go out to events and it is really just a loud minority saying it and the others are just agreeing to sound good.

Chances are, you haven't actually asked 80% of your employees. Most likely you heard it second hand from a manager pushing this idea (again, brownnosing or looking for promotion) or you heard it in a group setting where people don't want to be seen as not "team players" and don't say there actual opinion on it.

If you change your policy, don't be shocked if a lot of people start leaving the company for some "unexplained" reason.


Do you know why they keep asking if they're free to get together on their own?


* The business will pay

* The business will take care of the organizing

* Making it a "work event" gives them slack from family members who might otherwise balk at coworker happy hour


>* The business will pay

While possible, I highly doubt getting an even paid for is stopping people from going to do things. If that was the case, restaurants would never be in business.

>* The business will take care of the organizing

Again, same thing. If this was an issue, then restaurants and parks would not exist, people can organize if they really want too.

>* Making it a "work event" gives them slack from family members who might otherwise balk at coworker happy hour

This is possibly the issue, but that sounds like a personal problem for them that they should speak to a therapist about. If they stay after work working longer hours or try to force events to avoid people at their home, then that is there concern and others shouldn't be punished for it. Not to make light of their situation. But people work long hours enough in this country, let people do what they want after work without forcing meetings after work. Which is EXACTLY what these things are, meetings. Anyone who says otherwise, try getting drunk at these meetings and saying whatever you want and see if you still have a job. If it wasn't a meeting, then none of that would matter.


I don't think anyone said it was impossible for people to get together on their own, so I'm not sure how most of your objections track. These are just reasons people might prefer to have semi-official gatherings.


I reckon because anything beyond spontaneously go for drinks or dinner is a big pain in the ass to organize as soon as like more than 2-3 people/opinions are involved.


Because they know their co-workers don't want to hang out with them outside of work so they want the company to force them to, maybe?


Coworkers are part of the workplace. I didn't say employers.


Only if the place you work is no fun.


I'd disagree with this, and I consider my work 'fun'. In the Before Time, we had monthly summer grill-outs with families and Thanksgiving turkey bowling and winter pizza luncheons and other events. We had only one event (a Christmas party) at the founders' house after hours. But none of that was mandatory, try as you might one or two people are going to have a conflict for the Christmas party every year because the holidays are busy and that's fine.

But it's one thing to ask an employee to report after-hours for an emergency service call. It's another to demand they attend something (fun or not) that could have been during work hours but you scheduled it after hours.


When I first got a job after Uni, I moved to London where I knew no-one. By accident I ended up living in a house share owned by the HR lady that hired me and one of my housemates was another new dev in my team. There was plenty of money around for socializing and events planned so in the week, I had a great time going to bars, restaurants and parties at my employers expensive. Everyone loved it although it would have been nice if there were more women! They even hired the Albert Hall for a party one year. At weekends, I generally wasn't available as I would drive away to see old friends and go kayaking/climbing etc in the countryside. The weekday activities suited me perfectly.

Now if I joined a new company, I have family and young kids and plenty of friends that I want to spend time with. It's pretty unlikely whether I'd spend much time out of hours with the company as it would be far down my priorities and time would is limited. If I had nothing else on or it was something special, I might turn up.


My workplace is plenty fun. But so is my private life.

More importantly, people in my private life need my presence more than my company fun event needs it. Easy choice.


You sound like a stereotypical character from the movie The Office that would probably also tell people "They have the case of the Mondays".


Depends who you work with. Saying that when I consider co-workers my friends then such events don't feel like "work" events.


there are arguments for/against. it's nice that a work event during normal work hours doesn't cut into my free time, but it does cut into the block of time that I've already set aside to, you know, get my actual work done. I generally don't attend optional events scheduled during work hours unless I think attending will directly contribute to the work I am responsible for. "virtual happy hour" doesn't meet that criteria. on the other hand, I might hang out in a zoom call after hours if I don't have evening plans already.


The amount of work you are expected to complete should just not be as high if you have a work event during working hours.


If a company can't find time during the day to make time for these meetings, don't expect workers to cut time into there personal lives for these meetings either.


I too strongly agree with this


Couldn't agree more.


I used to offer via ferratas or paragliding on worktime, but then the employees would leave at 5 (none of them have children) and no-one stayed for beers.

If you do that, then at least be good at go-kart, you’re paid for it.

At least it clarified the situation: They don’t expect work to be fun. I stopped organizing events. If you want work to be boring, then this is how to make work boring.

It makes me a bit sad. But at least I’m sure I don’t care if I lose them.

I hope to build a better team after moving (which is in the plans), but I’m clearly lacking the talent to build a dynamic team. One of them told me his preferred series was The Office. Now I know my role. Maybe I should incarnate the Mickael Scott role, have a separate office, and be so much a caricature of the boss that they’d have to laugh.

But Mickael Scott was the only one at the airport when the girl left.


If I may... your events might not be as fun as you think they are. Just because I don't have kids doesn't mean I don't have other obligations. I'd like to workout after work. And the dog needs to be walked, dinner needs to get made, clothes folded, etc. I'm also an early person so I've been logged in since 6:30am. Maybe I just want to zone out and watch the grass grow for a while. It doesn't matter - the point is, you don't know what people have going on outside of work, and it shouldn't bother you that those might be a higher priority for the people on your team. If these forced events are so important to you, maybe try delegating them? "I've set aside an hour for us all and have asked Amy to put together an idea."


Well they are not taking initiative at work, so I thought doing an entirely different task may create another dynamic. But you are correct that I don’t expect myself to be more fun than the next guy, especially a boss. The question remains for me, how can I give them ownership of what is happening, because we are not going to grow if they don’t own things.

But maybe that is why I went entrepreneur. I just see the missed potential for everyone, and if I wanted to grow bigger, maybe they are the wrong “first employees”.


You sound like you're trying, which is good. As the other poster said, maybe don't expect so much.

For example, I'm a total wimp. I forced myself to do go-karting because the big macho guys wanted to do it. I hated it, it was loud smelly and scary. I was sore for days.

Maybe allow different people to make suggestions and go with ones that are out of your comfort zone instead of expected your colleagues to do things that might not appeal.


> Allow people to make suggestions and go with the ones that...

You talk like they would do suggestions... They are totally passive, and they position themselves as passive, expecting me to come up with the ideas and directions for the software and even for where to position the desks or... everything. They’re just doing as I say.

It is possible to blame it on me for not “leaving them enough room”, but when I leave a blank, they don’t fill it. I expected events to let them be more active, and I’ve tried to give them ownership of projects, but they don’t extend beyond the initial tasks.

Omg I’m just noticing of bad of a team they are. Technically they are good, but they’ll never extend the company beyond simple execution. I made myself blind by trying to empower them, but they don’t want any power. I’ve paid them too much and now they’re not trying.

Sad.


From this and a couple other of yours posts in this thread, it sounds like you are completely oblivious to possibility that YOU might be the problem. You are the leader of these people at work.

I really don't mean to be rude here. Strangely I've had a boss that had a similar beef with our 5 person team years ago.

Boss always harped that nobody takes ownership but lacked enough self-awareness to realize Boss exhibited extreme overly controlling behavior. From which snacks we had (or didn't) to which color markers we should use in a whiteboard brainstorming session. And don't forget to wipe the sink down in the bathroom after your wash your hands. Things that really didn't matter in terms of whether the business was successful or not. Nobody took ownership of the products or features without being force assigned. They were all too afraid. And too afraid to let Boss know that.

Have you tried telling any of them _directly_ that you want one of them to take ownership of a _specific_ project?


I work to pay for my life outside work. I like what I do and I find it rewarding, but it's a means not an end. I do not have kids, but I have a wife. We like to spend the evening together. My life is not boring. My work is not boring. Michael Scott as a child said "I wanna be married and have 100 kids so I can have 100 friends. And no one can say no to being my friend. " You seem to want to have employees that can't say no to being your friend.


A few of the things we've done:

- virtual murder mystery (two people on the team wrote it all up, it was intense, but I think you could buy a good package)

- drawing apps online we use https://skribbl.io but the ads are tedious

- we did a scavenger hunt for household items on different themes (we did a thanksgiving one) - this is easy to adapt to a lot and a lot of fun to see what folks have around their house - fills a lot of curiosity and makes folks feel more connected, also folks get creative in their finds - which adds to the fun.

- I like the other suggestions of a lego set / cooking - I have a friend whose company sent cooking ingredients and folks all cooked together - another that had two or three people "compete" like a cooking show with the rest of the team judging - good times.

- literally just get a cheesy icebreaker book - for once these things really do help get folks primed and engaged.

- Play Among Us

- Give folks a gift card and have them bring what they buy to a show and tell

Really looking forward to other folks' ideas.


(Self promotion) If you're looking for an alternative to Skribbl.io that has less ads you can check out a version I host[0]. It runs Scribble.rs[1] under the hood. They offer an official hosted herokuapp version here[2] but I've found it to be unreliable.

[0] https://scribble.feud.today/ [1] https://github.com/scribble-rs/scribble.rs [2] https://scribblers-official.herokuapp.com/


May I ask why the heroku instance is unreliable?


I only skimmed the code but my guess would be:

* it's running on a single dyno, which will go to sleep if there is a lack of activity or your reach the usage limit for your account for the month.

* it's using websockets to communicate, but seems to not use any shared persistence for managing state. So running a 2nd dyno to load balance + keep dynos awake doesn't appear to be an option.


Well, I am not too well versed in this area. I'd be very happy to add a way to enable load balancing. Any tips, help or contributions are welcome ^^


(Sorry, way late to this but if you're checking replies...)

At a high level it's a matter of doing the following:

* Persistence needs to be moved to something that isn't specific to a single dyno/can be shared across dynos (i.e., not local RAM or disk). * Updating your app code to check that shared store * Now you can scale up to N dynos, the limit on N usually determined by your budget or when the level of concurrency creates performance issues in some other connected system (e.g., the shared persistence).

For the type of use case you've got, specific to Heroku, what I've normally seen people do is use Redis as the shared bus or just refactor the app to use Pusher Channels (https://elements.heroku.com/addons/pusher) directly.


+1 for Among Us, had a lot of fun with my tam playing this.


Some other things: bought the team Minecraft and hosted a server for happy hours. It was fun but fizzled out. I think that’s ok and folks should get used to rotating ideas.

We did a happy hour using Drizzly - if your team drinks it’s a nice service and you’re basically ordering from convenience stores so other drinks and snacks are available.

Play some kind of challenge game and keep a leader board. Puzzles or trivia, or some game the whole team likes and can speed run or some other high score task.


> Really looking forward to other folks' ideas.

No, I want to work for you! (I’m kidding, I can’t leave the company I founded)

PS: Is there something to do with a Lego set? Being able to keep it at the end would be nice to remember the company’s present.


It’s definitely a gift. A year ago I also got my team raspberry pis and tried to get them more into tinkering with Linux without being afraid of taking down our infra :)

You can definitely leave the company you founded, the last two companies I worked for had the founder move on after a while, it’s often a natural evolution, but maybe I’ll come work for you one day instead.


Do you have recommendations for icebreaker books?


Hah nope, I ended up just googling a bunch of list spam and it had a similar effect, I just assume a book might be better curated :)


We recently had a fun remote event: a painting class.

A local company shipped supplies to each person (canvas, brushes, paints) and held a video session with a teacher who walked us through how to paint a particular picture step by step. Accessible for beginners, many of us had never painted before.


This is the kind of thing that really depends on the team you have. If you tried this with me on the team... well good luck. I might hate you for the rest of my life. They actually tried this at a previous job with a "pottery class".

Of course your marketing team might really love this. Or the guy on one of the other teams here that actually was on part-time so he could do all his paintings and prepare for his exhibition.


Why would you hate someone for sending you some painting materials? This sounds like a fun idea with a low barrier of entry - if you just don't want to do it, you can always... not attend? Just watch?


I apologize for not making it more clear. I had been reading all the threads and one common concept was "forced fun".

This comes in various forms as you can read there from very openly forced to very subtly. So if you force me to go go karting I may not complain personally though some others might. But if you force me to do painting or pottery class that changes quite rapidly.


That's great! It's really hard to create a safe space for people to do art.


Loved the idea of having a remote manual activity to spark joy.


What was the company?



Give everyone $100 and tell them to take a half day at work.


Anyone who has a family and hobbies liked this comment.


Everyone liked it


Underrated comment.

Personally Zoom "socializing" doesn't work for me. I'd rather stick a needle in my eye than sit around and watch my co-workers pretend to have fun. We do a weekly hangout and occasionally meetings will devolve into social time but group video chats feel like meetings, not fun.


I wonder why you would think they pretend.

Any sufficiently large group will likely have its loners and social butterflies, and butterflies are the people who tend to be loud, joke around, and generally try and find (even if shallow) topics to talk about.

I'd rather consider it as a character trait, than straight up dishonesty. It's also nice to have a few of those people in a group, otherwise any meeting w/o a clearly defined topic would become too quiet and depressive. They are the people who break the ice, I don't see why they can't be having fun doing that.

I agree about the "zoom socializing" part though. Mainly because what Zoom offers is a fairly flat space where you're either one of the 20 people talking/hearing at the same time (so you gotta be loud) or you don't exist. You can't easily form a bubble of three people and discuss something all three of you care about, and any topic with 20 other people either becomes too exclusive (3 talkers and 17 listeners) or too shallow. (a 20-people grand debate about the weather)


I've been looking at wonder.me recently. It has some nice features, including the spontaneous breakouts you're talking about.


> I wonder why you would think they pretend.

Because it is unfathomable to me that it could genuinely be a positive experience.


And there's only one rule. No work during the half day off.


Absolutely!


We have a winner!


getting outside is the important part, no special need for extra money (more than salary), say no to (over-)consumerism!


I think it's hard to have meaningful interactions over video chat among groups with more than, say, four people. Inevitably one or two parties do all the talking at a given moment, and everyone else just listens

Something we've started doing at my company is monday-morning "random coffee". Everyone gets paired off to video chat with a random person for 20 minutes at the start of the day. It's been a great way to have some non-work conversation with the people I do interact with, and have any exchange at all with those I never interact with


> Everyone gets paired off to video chat with a random person for 20 minutes at the start of the day.

i would quit this job sooooooo fast

random, enforced, early morning socializing is so very much not my scene


I may have exaggerated when I said "start of the day"; we do it at 10am, which is the start of the day for some but not all. Certainly not early-morning for most people

I'm also sure it would be optional if anyone had an aversion to it. It's a small company so we're flexible on that sort of thing


I think your missing the point. If people wanted to talk to each other, they would do that on their own time.

I think maybe ask yourself, why do you need to force this to happen if people really wanted to do this?


Structure is useful; there's a social burden to going out of your way to arrange a one-on-one hangout. I wouldn't bother to do that with someone I'm not already close to, but I'm loving this structured arrangement where I don't have to feel awkward about reaching out myself.

Different stuff works for different people


Ok, but again, there is nothing stopping people from doing this as a group. There is no "magical" structure that comes from a work meeting. A group of people at work can decide to organize something on there own. You are talking about one-on-one stuff, which is different.


I've had plenty of extremely productive outcomes that started as a serendipitous a conversation in the break room with someone who is not in my day-to-day (or weekly) orbit.


this is about creating serendipity--the break-room or elevator chats--which is otherwise impossible after an abrupt shifting of the office work culture to WFH without any other changes. there's an actual need here even if this isn't the ideal solution.

heavy handed and awkward: sure. would I do it, as an introvert... 4/5 times: nope! would I appreciate the intent it if my org (optionally) did it: hell yeah.


> I'm also sure it would be optional if anyone had an aversion to it. It's a small company so we're flexible on that sort of thing

Highly recommend this as opt-in, rather than opt-out, if anyone adopts this idea.


The meaningful interaction cap is at around 4 – even for in person gatherings! https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S10905...

Shameless plug, I've been working on solving exactly this problem with Mixaba! Everyone automatically breaks into small groups of 2-4 every few minutes.


Tell me more about Mixaba. I've had the same idea. Rather than brain storming in a large group, break into smaller groups and then mix up the groups periodically. My guess is this would lead to faster group consensus and result in fewer people feeling left out or that they hadn't been heard.


Sure thing! You can see it here: https://mixaba.com/

I did a Show HN last year but a lot has evolved since then :) By breaking people out into small groups you increase opportunities for vulnerability and trust-building, and you decrease the likelihood that a single person will dominate the conversation.

It was borne from negative experiences at a couple all-virtual happy hours at the start of the stay at home orders in the US last year.

With Mixaba, everyone joins a single event and regardless of whether you have 8 people or 800 in the event, it automatically breaks people out into new small groups, shuffling up conversations and making new connections between folks as the event goes on.


lol nope. not even once.


Co-founder of Offsyte here (https://www.offsyte.co). We created Offsyte as a solution for this problem (not just virtual, but finding fun team events in general). You can find & book events directly on the platform - I'm even seeing some of the vendors we work with in this thread!

You can find escape rooms, cooking & cocktail classes, magic shows and more. Many events have a delivery component so that there's no pre-work required for the team.

Feedback welcome! You can also email me at jonathan [at] offsyte.co


I really like this. Where I work, my boss just picks a place on Airbnb near the beach, and we stay there for the weekend. Will recommend this to my boss.


Seems like a cool idea for normal-times remote work, but a very terrible idea during a raging deadly and highly communicable pandemic.


I’ve done a few Jackbox Party Pack games sessions over last year’s lockdown, they are good fun and there’s normally at least one game per pack that everyone can be good at, without necessarily being the funniest or most creative.

It works quite well over screen share due to being time based rounds with not a huge reliance on reaction times / audio

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jackbox_Party_Pack


This is what I’ve done with my team of about 20 people about once every six weeks. I put them on my iPad and then share that audio and video via a USB cable and QuickTime recorder to the team. It works well enough - particularly if you have family safe mode, but tends to struggle for engagement beyond 8 people (also limits games at that size).

We’ve also created a few team specific decks for Cards Against Humanity and merged them with Cards Against Containers and Cards Against DevOps. We then use Pyx-Reloaded on a VPS to play the game. Modulo the bugs in Pyx-Reloaded it’s fun, but suffers problems when people drop out.

Skrbbl has been good - we have to use personal devices to play it (same with JackBox) and it quickly becomes apparent who has PiHole on their home network and who does not.


Jackbox seems alone in this niche, and their style is a bit crude for some. I think some of my family or co-workers would be offended by some of their games.


Everybody gets sent a lego set and (for those who can) a drink, and you spend a couple of hours building and talking.


That's a creative idea. I'm writing it down!

Where I work the Xmas party was obviously cancelled because of Covid so I was expecting an online event paid-for or gift vouchers, but they said that in the end we got zilch and they decided to give away the budget to charity because "that felt like the right thing to do"... Well, for moral and engagement no it wasn't...


We had an online event with takeout meals paid for, you had to choose from about four local restaurants and pick it up day of.


Our Xmas party was also canceled. But we got €100 to spend on food (either restaurant or raw food for cooking) and that's was cool.


My team did this recently and it was a lot of fun!


Which LEGO set?


Rad idea! I was given an IKEA-branded lego set for Christmas and it was good for hours of entertainment during the winter break.


Which LEGO set?

I'm wondering which LEGO set would be appropriate for an adult non-AFOL public...


I really enjoy jack party games (someone buys it, shares the screen and everyone else connects by phone), but for a quicker setup this page is great: https://skribbl.io/

It's free and it's like playing pictionary, everyone can enjoy via a link after the host creates the room.


Nit: jack party games -> "The Jackbox Party Pack" (or any of 6 sequel packs)

https://store.steampowered.com/app/331670/The_Jackbox_Party_...

https://www.jackboxgames.com/


I was randomly chosen to come up with an event for my team, a couple of weeks ago. Our team had recently doubled in size, and I have never met some of them face to face. So I decided to come up with a 1 1/2 slot, where a team member could present something about themselves. Be it a hobby, interest, holiday, interesting story, game you played e.t.c. people were given the option to join and watch only, or present. a About a 1/3 of my team volunteered. So we had around 10 presentations. I personally presented my beer brewing hobby. At the end people sent me there favourite (I like to call them lightning talks) and who ever got the most won some money. It was great. Found out stuff I never knew about people. And the winner was a guy who did wood carving in his spare time, particularly Daenerys from Game of Thrones. People who were from other countries talked about there homes and some about photography, there was a guy who talked about his heavy metal interest, another archery and the others were interesting to.


Was it optional? I find it incredibly invasive to force someone to present something for the sake of presenting. At best people choose something boring and bland as an excusem And similarly invasive to force people to sit through such presentations.


Yes, I mention people had the option to present or not. Only 1/3 of my team signed up, but that was fine. Only the people who were interested presented, but the whole team actually joined to watch which was completely up to them also.


We've also done this on our team (we labeled them lightning talks), and people really enjoyed them. It also helps to get to know one another on a slightly deeper, non-work way without crossing boundaries.

Recommended!


ah we tried something lighter that that but in the same idea. I wrote about it here https://pvin.is/post/carrot-kiwi-banana.


-


> people were given the option to join and watch only, or present

That's literally what they said. What's your objection?


We run "trips" to Paris, if you want to bring your team to the city of lights! Live footage from Paris, cheese and wine delivered, the whole nine yards!

https://www.woyago.com/


This is very well done, nice job. My team is back in the office but wish we did this during quarantine.


Mandatory fun is rarely fun. Let people self organize. Allow them to take the cash alternatively.

Also do everything in your power not to label people who do not want to participate. The worst is when a company has mandatory fun, and then kiss your promotion goodbye for not "being a team player" by attending an event that doesnt interest you.


I don't know what the per-person budget is, but our team had a really enjoyable time doing one of those group painting activities. They shipped us supplies, and we all were in a Zoom meeting together. I notice the resulting painting on my mantle about once or twice a week, and it always makes me smile with thoughts about how fun that was, and how much I enjoy the people with whom I work.


Our office of 13ish does the quiz in the newspaper [0] as a team at 9:30 two days a week. One person shares their screen and reads the questions and then we collectively decide on our answer. Lasts about 10 minutes and it's a fun way to start the day and highlight everyone's various strengths.

[0] Today's quiz (we got 16/30, pathetic!) https://www.theage.com.au/national/target-time-and-superquiz...


Live Video Escape Room maybe? https://livevideoescaperooms.com/

Or for a different way to think about it try what Podia did for a team dinner: https://kindops.com/remote-dinners

At The Skiff Coworking community we enjoy weekly drinks here: https://getmibo.com/ It’s so much more natural an experience than Zoom.


Thanks for posting that! https://LiveVideoEscapeRooms.com is my site, part of my attempt to help the customers for my startup (A SaaS product for Escape Rooms) weather the pandemic. Online Escape Rooms are really a lot of fun, it's so cool to see all the creativity in the industry being channeled into crazy online games (many of theme featuring live video links to the escape rooms, but some also hosted completely online).

I've since also pivoted my startup and created a new product (https://TelescapeLive.com/) for escape rooms moving to online!


Shameless (semi-)self plug: my wife loves putting together DIY escape rooms, and given the current situation she recently made one that can be done completely virtually with little prep:

https://www.thegamegal.com/diy-escape-room-kit-alien-threat/

Five "rooms" (or in other words, five people or small groups) that all coordinate via a video call and each have a mini-site and individual puzzles to solve that build up to the main solution. I think she's pretty awesome and therefore the game is pretty awesome, but I'm a bit biased. :)


We have been playing Among Us over zoom. It has been good for team building because we do whole game while talking to each other. The meetings to figure out who is the imposter are fun because the imposter needs to lie to the team to convince them they are not the imposter.

Some simple rules: - everyone's phone is muted so the imposter is not revealed by the startup sound - if anyone dies, they can't reveal it until the body is found

After everyone does the first install/game it becomes easy to do a game every time we finish a meeting 10 minutes early.


This is a tough problem! Every quarter I have budget in the same range as yours that I try to fill up. Some good things that have worked for me outside of the normal board games/order takeout are:

- Team Japanese cooking class via Kenji Y--we really enjoyed this one! The recipes are simple and super tasty and he's a great educational host. https://kenjiskitchen.com/

- Mixology class hosted by Avital--I have one scheduled for next month and I'm pretty excited! https://avitaltours.com/

If I have leftover budget I use that to buy a nice gift/box of chocolates/macarons/etc and send it out at the end of the quarter, but I agree, it's tough to plan bonding events while remote. Any little bit of planning an event helps though!


Once a month we pick a fun recipe that can be made in less than 1 hour and we all cook it together (over zoom) and then eat. We have done sushi, sourdough, ramen, pizza etc.

This works well as it feels like a shared experience of learning together, in this case learning to cook new foods. Many of us continue to make those same foods once we learned.

To make it easier on everybody, we ship any tools or ingredients we can and always do it during overlapping work hours.


We had a real DJ come and start off each day in spectacular fashion over video link recently. The team LOVED it, he took requests and it got everyone awake and excited for the day ahead. Plus, it drove a great team discussion on our musical tastes! (We had https://djgraffiti.com/ - Can't recommend him enough!)


Thanks so much for the shout out. Happy to bring you all closer as a team. If you can make it by early to the set tomorrow I'll have Paradise Circus cued up for you!


Agree! We've just been doing a simple Spotify playlist before all hands, shared over Zoom. Works great with everyone just quietly hanging out together for a while and sets the mood for the meeting. Most recent was a 1992 theme for our internal launch celebration of https://steampipe.io (a tool to query cloud resources using SQL).


> Can y'all share any team fun event ideas that have worked well

Sure. Give everybody a raise and quit forcing stupid "team" shit.


Money is great but when WFH more human interaction really is needed. Especially for those that are younger without a family.


Human interaction isn't something work should be responsible for providing. It was an incidental benefit of being in the workplace, not an employer-provided perk. Maybe if work paid time and a half to attend, but in the meantime I won't sign onto a zoom chat unless it's mandatory for doing my job.


> more human interaction really is needed

My point exactly. If you give employees more money, they can afford to hire people to do their chores and then they have more free time to go out together after work (if they so desire).


Maybe not what you had in mind, but we (TechEmpower, creators of the web framework benchmarks) built a system to randomly shuffle employees among short daily social calls. The calls are not mandatory, but we usually have enough people join for a fun chat. We've found it to be a fun, low-pressure way to keep in touch. It's free to use, if you want to try it for your organization.

We only collect the data we need for the service, and don't use it for any other purpose.

https://watercooler.monster/


Every Thursday at 5 EST we have company "pub trivia" over Kahoot. Folks take turns as the host and coming up with trivia questions, and as we've grown we have a healthy set of inter-team rivalries going.

For ad hoc events we've played Among Us, had a tarot card reader come read fortunes, had multiple chefs do cooking classes, and had a few musicians do amateur concerts over Zoom.

Agree with others that work hours is best. We have standardized on around 5 ET for most things, which is not too late for the East Coasties and not too early for the West Coasties.


You said during working hours and then you say 5 ET. That's after working hours. Especially for me, as I start before 9...


Our working hours for East Coast folks average out at 10-6. Some folks take earlier (even on the West Coast, we have some folks working 6am - 2pm because of kids and such) and that's ok. That's also why we have lunch events so there are multiple opportunities.


Anything that involves free stuff. Cooking class with free ingredients, a painting class with free paint, a wine tasting with free wine. Just anything but a regular old zoom "happy hour".


I have a good friend who runs http://barnonetrivia.com - they have professional hosts who lead ~hour long live zoom trivia games. Questions are creative and original. Can't recommend enough - very fun!



Wanted to come here to plug this: https://teams.startplaying.games/. Participated in a hosted game with them a week ago and really really enjoyed it. Think that D&D and other role-playing options like it are a great way for teams to stay connected during the pandemic in a lower stakes type environment where everyone can express themselves in a cooperative/constructive way!


An Oculus Quest 2 costs 300 + tax -- extremely memorable way to have an event in these times. And acts as a collaboration device and an amazing gift going forward.


Reading through all the comments here, I was meh towards most, but yours was the only one I wowed at.

Sure, people like different things, but a device (gift) and then spending time together (co-op games etc) is an awesome idea


This is a very cool idea, although it's worth noting that it won't work for some people. Many people get motion sick from VR - I'm not sure of the percentages but I've heard it from several acquaintances.

Edit: Also some people don't have a Facebook account; that seems more common among HN's demographic.


(1) https://gartic.io (2) https://skribbl.io (3) https://www.brokenpicturephone.com (4) JackBox Party Pack Games (family friendly mode) (5) Among Us


I think the single best thing for me are just casual video chats. Whether they‘re 1on1, the whole team or randomized chat groups like the Donut bot does, doesn‘t matter. But it‘s important that they don‘t have a work-related agenda so no one feels pressured to get some specific outcome.


My team recently did a virtual escape room. Was well organized and encouraged communication and collaboration within the team. We used this company: https://www.puzzlebreak.us


I can share my idea, but I have not been able to convince anyone to do this. I would find a MMORPG or similar type game that has concepts of groups, teams, guilds, etc.. and then find challenges, quests, tasks that require teamwork or that can have multiple teams competing against one another. The game should have a chat system that aligns with those team structures. There are probably free-to-play games that carry some of these concepts.

I agree with others that this should be done during work hours. I do not show up to team or company events that are on my time.


As someone who spent quite some time with MMORPGs, I think a huge problem is the neccessary time investment to get a lot of the "more interesting stuff" going. In other words: A MMORPG usually is equivalent to the epic pen&paper campaign that can take your group years to finish. You don't want to do that as a fun event. What you want is the quick "one shot" equivalent, a kind of MMORPG which you can "finish" in an evening.

It's just a comparison. Obviously you're not going to do a pen&paper RPG with a group of 20 to 500 people (we did 20 once, it was... uhm... interesting?).


For sure. I was thinking of things more like World of Warcraft and everyone create a new character, all starting in the same area. And for those with accounts, just create an alt. Each team would need one existing player to explain what is going on. But I could see people not wanting to download a 50+GB game and you can only play for free to level 20 or 30 I think.


I always have fun with gather.town. Pictionary in particular is a blast.


Sadly it seems to block other browsers

>To ensure a high quality experience, join Gather on Chrome!


I use gather.town on Firefox/Ubuntu all the time FWIW. Seems to be perfectly supported.


My co-workers have continued their whiskey tastings over MS Teams. The guy organizing them mails out little sample bottles to each participant. Participants pay to cover the costs.


There are a couple of things that we used to do before the pandemic and can be done or adapted for these times. 1. Kart racing. It is an outdoor activity and quite safe if you bring your own helmet and gloves. It requires decent temperatures (at least 20 degrees Celsius), so it depends on your location. 2. Virtual bar or restaurant. We used to go out to some places, we can order foods and drinks while videoconferencing on Teams. It works best with some app that accepts sub-groups in a conference because this is also the dynamic at the restaurants - even if we went in a group of 10-15 around a large table, the discussions were broken in groups of 3-5 based on reach and loudness. The app should not mute the others, just reduce the volume so that there is the atmosphere of having 10 people around the table but being able to talk to 2-3 at the same time.

If you do #2 well, you can do weekly a different theme: 'virtual <your preferred pizza restaurant>', 'virtual <preferred pub>' etc, so you just order from one place every time as you would do if you were physically there. Having dinner and drinks with people helps unwind, doing it virtual helps with (not) driving afterwards after a couple of beers.


I've been building a list of fun board games to play online at https://boredgames.gg!

One of the games I built as well, https://oneword.games, is very well suited to work events; it's a casual, cooperative game that supports any number of players, so fits neatly into team happy hours or "offsites"


My team of ~10 had a pretty good time with a D&D one-shot session using https://app.roll20.net/ . Bonus was that enough of us enjoyed it that we could pick up where we left off and hold successive events. Caveat -- the DM (and at least a couple more people) were familiar with the website, and were able to help newbies set up fresh characters.


Buy everyone on the team a Google Cardboard VR viewer.

https://arvr.google.com/cardboard/

As the "teacher", take them on a virtual expedition/field trip.

https://edu.google.com/products/vr-ar/expeditions/


But hurry, "Expeditions and Tour Creator are shutting down on June 30th, 2021"


I wish Oculus (well, maybe not Oculus, but they are the only ones with a standalone headset currently) would build something like this. Google had good tools for making the content (although it'd have to be adapted to be 6DOF), but the problem was that you had to either have every kid bring a phone and be on the school Wi-Fi or have a box of Android devices to keep up with (which probably weren't under MDM or anything). If you could have quest for $299 and have interactive educational content there (which the textbook manufacturers were making with Google, so they'd probably be in), there'd be a big market I think.


Sounds like they're just merging it with an existing project:

> To make Expeditions VR tours available to everyone, we're migrating the majority of them to Google Arts & Culture's free site and application. There you'll also find a vast collection of cultural artifacts and stories from around the world which will enable everyone to continue exploring. However, as Arts & Culture expands the Google Expeditions app will no longer be available for download and Tour Creator will no longer be accessible as of June 30, 2021.


Google, shutting things down? Woah!


Cost: $0 Time: ~1 hour Location: Zoom Requires: Someone to act as host

Here's something we recently tried that worked fairly well: Story Time. The goal was to share short humorous stories. Exaggerations were encouraged. And topics suggested. To help I (acting as the host) started it off with a story about a car and picking up "new" clothing at 70 mph. Opening up to others for other stories, but specifically encouraging stories about cars or clothing (to help prime the pump).

People tended to thread story topics on their own for the most part, but if things quieted down, I would add in another story, likely shifting the topic around some.

A few stories fell flat, but they are short and for the most part it worked really well. It also helped with one of the parts of "Zoom Happy Hour" that I hate: not knowing who is supposed to be talking and when to join in.

It does require a level of comfort with the team, but at the same time it allowed an enjoyable time for those who just wanted to lurk. It also didn't appear to be limited to those who lean extroverted as some happy hours can even in real life.


Oh but that's what I do on our daily in the morning. Isn't that's why it's called a "stand-up"?

Speaking seriously, we have a Mo-Wed-Fri 3PM 'virtual coffee break'. The team of ~15 is invited, but it's optional, and free mic; you can talk about anything. It's fun, not always the same people, not the same topics.


This is not particularly original but I built a little social game for work teams a while ago (before the pandemic): https://live.jubiwee.com/ - We enjoy using it with my team from time to time. The goal is to bring back social interaction even if we all work from home (for what it worth).


We sometimes play fun multiplayer games online (+zoom for talking)

1) https://garticphone.com/en

2) Among Us (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.innersloth...)


Absolutely second on Gartic Phone, it is brilliant.

It is a drawing game, but it has no scoring, so it is very welcoming for all skill levels, including zero!

Among Us also has a desktop version if you prefer, but it is paid. (cheap though, 10BRL, dunno dollars) (you probably know, but to anyone who reads)


My friends launched Marco[0] last year for teams do fun stuff virtually. Was at first skeptical of doing something like a gin tasting on Zoom, but all of the events I've done are really fun. They vet the events, manage delivering food and booze for you, etc.

[0]: https://www.marcoexperiences.com


Yeah! Suman from Marco here - check us out!


Trivia nights are a fun bonding exercise and easy to do over zoom. We've had fun making our own online jeopardy boards.


In the UK, it is legal to exercise with one other person. So one is able to go for a walk.

Despite this, virtually no companies I know of are encouraging this real, physical, safe interaction that has a huge potential for building team bonds.

It's been a year so far, and we could well be doing this for years.

I think that outdoor team events are a reasonable way forward.


For a holiday get together a teammate created a trivia game using this tool: https://ahaslides.com/

It was surprisingly fun. You could join just using a link (no account needed), and scorekeeping was well done. They incorporated media, so for some questions a song would play, for others there would be images, word scrambles. My favorite question type, they would play a song, and you had to choose, from a list of emoji, all of the emoji that applied to that song. Unsure how much of this is default functionality of the tool, and how much was my teammates creativity, but it definitely worked very well and as well received coupled with a zoom call. We had about 20 people of all ages playing.


We are still in the early stages of our launch / rolling this out, but this problem is one of the main things our team is hoping to help solve at https://playpad.com - WebRTC chat combined with fun games / activities designed to be played with the group.

Currently we have a cooperative "pub trivia" game, a jigsaw puzzle suite, and a "co-opetition" word scramble game where you are working together but competing to be the best of the group as well.

If you do give it a try, I'd love to answer any questions & hear any feedback you have at cory [at] playpad.com - we are still in early alpha and iterating rapidly / trying out new ideas directly based on the feedback we receive!


For starters, something that happens during office hours.


Our team uses https://backyard.co - it's free, has tons of really fun party games, and comes with built-in video chat. My favorites with large groups are Fake Artist, Word Scramble and Codewords


Our team played Among Us during our last team social. I think I'm going to suggest Golf With Your Friends next, I played it with a different group of people and it was a ton of fun, very silly especially if you turn on collisions, jumping, spin, etc.


Murder mystery. Dressing up and bad accents optional.

https://www.red-herring-games.com/product/murder-on-the-diso...


Think about including physical items by organizing crafting events. Everyone starts with the same supplies or has to find them in their homes. Creating the same thing that then is unique to each person is quite something and you can SEE creativity (and everyone feels accomplished.)

Your group size suggestion is great. You want to avoid the Ringelmann effect "in which big groups can become less productive because people tend to feel less committed to an outcome."

And you're challenged by "Social Cooling"(Dutch technologist Tijmen Schep says that a big-data society can chill our personal relationships because we’re being watched all the time.)


We've done: - Bake pizza (and chat) - Played a selection of mini games, trivia, apps, what ever people found. pictionary works well on zoom for instances. - Quiz. Each team had to prepare 10 points worth of questions, each team = 1 round. A good compere makes or breaks it. Inc bonus rounds like "2 minutes to find the oldest food item in your cupboard" - paid for www.theeventscompany.co.uk for 1 evening. Not idea how much they charged us.

Also using zooms break out rooms to split us up into small groups of 4-6 so you can have a more personal chat really. Do that for 10m. Then shuffle the rooms. In a 20 room only a few people will really talk.


Our team plays https://skribbl.io/ weekly during our "Coffee Break Hour"

It's a fun way to interact, laugh, and find out who says they can't draw but can actually draw. We play with about 8 people, sometimes others join in to just watch or we take turns. Honestly, skribbl has been the closest thing to in-person interactions we have had in a long time. I created the weekly 1-hour coffee break meeting on our calendars @ 3pm local time. Usually water-cooler talk, sometimes video games for the laughs.


I just recently launched https://slideswithfriends.com for exactly this purpose — it's a slide-based game builder with a bunch games made for team building. Imagine Jackbox-meets-Powerpoint but designed for companies.

We have a lot of trivia games, some Quiplash-style games, photo sharing games, and other interaction slides that make for some really interesting and fun event options. And everything we have is customizable so you can add content specific to your company if you want.

Plus there's a sound board :)


Appears there's quite a few players emerging in this space, some with overlapping vendors :-), so I'll go ahead & throw my venture in the ring https://www.evee.com

We've found the most engagement by organizing larger team "mini-festival" where you pre-book multiple experiences and let your teammates pick & choose which events they want to attend. https://demo.evee.com


Beer & Cheese Tasting!

We had a company event from City Brew Tours (based out of NYC, I believe, but we're in Philadelphia) where we were shipped boxes of cheese, crackers, and beers (or ciders or sodas at the employee's selection to support alternatives) and during the event were given a tasting experience over Zoom.

It was excellently done, gave team members a chance to socialize about non-work things, and we learned something, too.

https://www.citybrewtours.com/


Not a super creative, fun "event" per-se, but we have weekly virtual team lunches on Monday where the company orders everyone doordash and we hop on a zoom call to eat and chat. YMMV


Video games would be cool too. Factorio and Counter-Strike or whatever else the kids are playing these days. Call into a shared Zoom if there's no built-in voice chat. We enjoyed it.


We recently held a TV Writers Room workshop with these guys: https://andthenwriters.com/ We chose the show 'New Girl', split into teams, and then went into Zoom breakout rooms to work on the basis of an episode (they lead each room). Then we got back together, each team pitched their episode, and we held a vote for the winning team. It was a lot of fun and really brought the team togither!


We did this once as a farewell to a departing team member -- share-a-drink-over-zoom; worked quite well too. Mostly people chatting and reminiscing and discussing the current customer-from-hell -- it was an unexpectedly good way to bond. Maybe it worked well because the focus was on one person. But zoom can be a pain for separate one-on-one conversations in a group -- but there are now newer online conference systems that seem to facilitate that (haven't used any of those though).


I've played Bar None Trivia (www.barnonetrivia.com) a bunch of times with my team -- it's a blast.

Hosts were great and led us through 4 four rounds of creative trivia (including out-of-the-box questions, picture round, music round).

We were split into teams in breakout rooms so we actually got to converse and connect with people on our 5-6 person team. Also spent time in the main room as an entire group.

Pricing is $15-20/person depending on time of game. We play at least once a month, couldn't recommend more!


- One team member organized an event where everyone contributed a song they'd take to an island, we made a playlist, then played them one by one in Teamflow, and each person explained why they chose that song.

- Another time we did a game where each team member sent a story to the organizer, names were removed, then everyone tried to match the story to the person.

- There's always guest speakers to present on a relevant topic. Easier now that they don't have to travel.


If you want to play something async, http://gamesbyemail.com/ has a bunch of different board games that you can play by email and will email you when it's your turn. We've had most success with Risk and Chinese Checkers, which both support up to 6 people. Games can last a few weeks. There's also a bunch of 2 player games (Connect 4, Chess, etc).


last year i set up a game of scythe in my kitchen with an overhead camera -- i could hit a button on my phone to snap a pic and upload to my vps. played this way with a group of friends over the course of a few days and it worked pretty well. some things were tricky -- cards that players receive that are supposed to be "private", for instance, but most of the game worked face-up.


We rented a donkey for a Zoom meeting. It was a blast. https://dangrooster.com/


You can also host an event for online volunteering- eg. mapping projects. Examples- https://www.missingmaps.org/ and https://www.hotosm.org/

Most of these would show a leaderboard of whoever has made most contributions (within your event/subgroup) and you can turn it into a game.


Two related good options we have tried were playing https://www.geoguessr.com and https://virtualvacation.us/guess. It seems like the team I'm currently working with is fond of geography/travelling so these games made for a fun period. Highly recommended!


I use https://increment.me and toss some suggestions out and ask my team to send in theirs. Been great so far. Things that have come back for ex - calls with specific leaders in the company w/no agenda, just give people part of a day off, do some mid day gaming, etc. Thematically most wanted company fun inside working hours.

Only disclaimer, Increment’s my product.


The other day my team played https://codenames.game to decompress, it was a lot of fun. If you have a large group, just break it up into multiple sessions. Can go crazy and do a tournament if you'd like.

I find a lot of these remote games have a large impact on productivity in the day. They are a great way to start conversations and get to know each other.


video games

- lots of diversity, choice (helps finding something that best fits everyone)

- lots of positive emotions (designed by people whose jobs it is to make you have fun). tremendously effective at creating shared moments of joy.

- lots of cooperative games (team building yaye!)

- loose engagement: easy to hop in and out without much fuss, play as much as you want

- easy to repeat: so many games to choose from, some games have no ending

- won't necessarily fit anyone (but what does)

recommendations?

- Portal

- Among Us

I'm sure fellow HNers will have better suggestions


Shameless plug, but it's free :-)

Activity: Split into groups of 5 and go sailing. Relaxing or you can organise a race around island #5 ( start and finish next to the big boat ).

Search for "Pancake Sailor" on Steam - it's free and has both Windows and Mac version.

Greg


Might have exactly the thing you are looking for :)

We have built social/banter filled games to play right within Slack called Bored.

The games are not the typical team games - they involve accusing and deceiving people, roasting your colleagues and the like.

If that sounds like your thing and you are on Slack, you can install it from https://bored.social/


Hey, we found it on Product Hunt the other day and it's been super fun playing it. We loved the roasting game.

What other games do you have lined up?


I've seen "The Go Game"[1] work really well amongst teams within my company. I am in no way affiliated with this company, just heard good things. They have a variety of activities like trivia, puzzles, and some others.

[1] https://www.thegogame.com/team-building-games


One of the favourite events we did was "two truths and a lie". Each person makes three statements about themselves (as personal or impersonal as they like) and others ask questions and then vote. We did a little leaderboard. It was great fun and we got to know each other much better. I'll also never trust my colleagues to tell the truth ever again :-)


> My folks miss the natural in-person interactions that occur in the office, and we could use some time together to decompress.

Ugh. The last thing I want to do after working all day is "hang out" with co-workers. If you're going to force me to participate, it better be during work hours, and you can't expect people to make up the lost "work" time.


Hello! We at Serein Inc have being doing alot of fun activities with groups of all sizes during this pandemic. Murder mysteries,Treasure Hunts (themed), Pop Quiz, Mafia all done virtually. We've received excellent feedback and even once had employees ask (well beg!) their HR if we could run activities for them every week! You write to us hello@serein.in


I've been organizing our internal activities however I did hire Social Scavengers Inc to help out with one part of our virtual holiday party and it was a blast.

What we've been doing is giving our employees a stipend to spend on dinner and/or drinks and everyone joins in in an activity via Zoom- anything from trivia to true or false show and tell.

I hope this helps! Good luck!


Terrariums (e.g. https://www.etsy.com/listing/880201016)

We all received a kit in the mail and on a Friday afternoon, everyone was guided by an indoor gardening expert. It was a calm, pleasant, ~2 hour exercise and I got a fresh plant for my desk out of it.


We're building a company around this called Marco - we'd love for you to check us out! We think we're the best way to bring your people together and have options ranging from Kombucha Making to Private Comedy Shows [0]

[0] https://www.marcoexperiences.com/


I've been organizing our offices events which have gone well but I did hire Social Scavengers Inc. to help with an event for our Holiday party and it was a blast.

What we've been doing with the events I organize is giving employees a stipend to spend on drinks and/or dinner and then we all participate in an activity on Zoom.

Hope this helps. Good luck!


It's hard to have a cocktail party on Zoom, but there is a new "breakout rooms" feature that we used at our Holiday party to set up a bunch of different topic rooms (and some random ones) where people could pop in and out of. It was better than 50 people in a room where only one can really talk at a time.


Spotted a game for Slack on Product Hunt the other day. We tried it out in our company workspace and it was quite fun. We loved the roasting game the most :D. Especially since our boss was playing and she was quite the sport.

https://bored.social/


Shameless plug, but this is exactly what we do at Mystery. We have a curated catalog and the ability to distribute supplies to your team.

The activities I’ve helped vet are all super fun and engaging and our customers have loved them as well.

https://trymystery.com


typo, .com


Thank you!


This https://meet.airconsole.com/

or if someone has a copy of Jackbox Party Pack that's also another game that's fun and easily streamable, without costing a lot of money as you only need one license to play as a group.


Gaming is always an option, but that assumes your entire team consists of gamers or at least willing to try.


As a team we play a game of Geoguessr (https://www.geoguessr.com/) on Friday afternoons. It's fun to have some friendly rivalry and banter and de-compress together after a week of work.


As someone who used to like team happy hours / events when we had offices - team "events" via zoom are weird and awkward. I spend so much of my time at home working, that the last thing I want to do in my free time is pretend to want to talk to my co-workers.


There are a bunch of fun events available at www.teambuilding.ryptic.com. They're a bay area escape room company that has expanded into a Virtual Paint nights, Game nights and virtual escape rooms!

Also have heard good things about the free options available at rume or zombies.io.


Jackbox games like Patently Stupid or Fibbage are great since only one person has to buy the game in order for everyone to play. Just do a screen share of the main screen and have everyone connect using their phones. My friends and I do it frequently and it works great.


I can't recommend these enough. The game packs can be bought in Steam, and there are games for everyone (trivia, drawing, puzzles). The trivia games even have a "Disable US centric questions" so everyone on the globally distributed team can enjoy them.

I started remotely last year and playing these kind of games have been a great way to get to know the team in a more informal setting.


I heartily recommend Talking Points. Most of the work is done by actual players, rather than relying on the game to provide trivia or whatever, so there's no way for someone to play in advance and figure out all the answers ahead of time.


Bob Ross videos are on YouTube. Most computers have paint or krita or something. Take a half hour to do a screen share paint-along meeting and show off your paintings in the last minute or two. Then set it as your background for two weeks until you do another one.



I personally bought all my team members a beer delivered to their houses. One guy didn't like beer and got whiskey instead. On Friday at 4pm we all had a casual chat about non work topics and drank together. That seemed to go down well.


We use watercoolertrivia.com and it's great for having something to talk about other than work/covid. We use their weekly program ($1/user/mo iirc), but they also host one off events

Disclosure: I previously worked with one of the founders


For any trivia fans out there, I'd recommend giving https://www.watercoolertrivia.com/ a shot - makes running team trivia super easy


https://fishbowl-game.com/ is a fun one and specifically encourages good communication with low stakes. Easy to play with at least 4 people


- I set up a CS:GO server, and that took us through a few weeks for those that were interested.

- We have open games of Among Us which are also great.

- We also did an online Virtual Escape Room within my small team, which was great fun.


We have Team daily "stand-ups" for staying in touch daily but the best "during work team fun events" are our Friday group and team virtual happy hours during work hours!


Among US is a ton of fun. But make sure everyone plays a couple of rounds for themselfs to get familiar with the game.

If everyone is into Battle Royales, Warzone or Fortnite can be fun as well.



Another shameless plug :)

I recently left my job at Google to focus on building a trivia platform (https://www.trivvy.co/). We offer both async trivia leagues and live trivia games over Zoom with professional hosts. We're currently beta testing our live games (for free!), so if anyone wants to do a fun live event (anywhere from 60-90 minutes), shoot me an email (sam at trivvy dot co).

Also if you're interested in trying out a multi-week season with one game/week played whenever players are free, feel free to reach out as well :)


Form a chess team with your co-workers? https://nacorporatechess.com/


Async team building as weekly ritual is often a better investment than a one time event, one of the many reasons I built watercoolertrivia.com :)


boardgamearena.com, esp. 6 nimmt, Oh Hell!, Incan Gold, and No Thanks seat more than six, are very easy to explain, are very fun, and are brisk. Turn the Tide only seats six, but meets the other points.

Short tournaments could be fun. The site allows people to be spectators to games they're not participating in, and if everyone is connected by voice chat it could be a nice shared experience.


The Houseparty app has a decent variety of games that you could play together as a team. Our team had a lot of fun playing pictionary on it!



Live action "Where's Wally?". Turn camera off. Hide. Turn camera on. Works better with two plus people in the same location.


Online board games on a video call is a fun option.


There are quite a few listed here: https://quickparty.games


We play a lot of Codenames. It is a lot of fun.



I appreciate the effort companies make trying to team build over Zoom, and some events have been genuinely fun, but for me it falls flat in terms of feeling connected socially. You just simply can’t have the same type of social interactions over video, that’s one reason companies often fly in remote workers every year or two. It’s almost worse seeing people over video because of a sort of uncanny valley effect and taunting you with the fact that you can only see them “through the prison window”. I very much look forward to my vaccine taking hold.


Tabletop Simulator was a lifesaver for us. We play it every week and I can't recommend it enough.


Two teams of ten or at least more than 5 and play Among Us. We do as a team and it’s awesome!


Among Us was my first thought, because it's a good social game, but is it a good team game? Encouraging dishonesty and distrust doesn't sound like a good team-building exercise.

Perhaps it depends on how much the team already trusts one another.


Does that imply I can’t play poker with my coworkers?


It is! Because if your team is on good terms it’s more of a laugh than legit lying to hurt others on your team.


But there's nothing funny about being dishonest and lying, calling it a game changes nothing.


This game is not for you then.


We tend to play Among Us and we have a blast. The inside jokes continue for weeks afterwards


It's not real though. My team understands that it's just a fun game... and we have an awesome time playing every week.


you can't really talk during the rounds, so not much bonding potential


Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: