Top 20 virtual retreat ideas to refresh and reset your employees

Top 20 virtual retreat ideas to refresh and reset your employees

When was the last time your team held a good old team-building event? If you’re like most teams, it’s probably been a while. When the pandemic hit, we kept rescheduling out-of-office activities for the team while maintaining over-optimistic expectations of when the lockdown would be over. And now it’s 2022 — half of the team relocated across the country (or even across the world!), others are not really in a hurry to return to the office at all. Considering all the changes, how do we keep the team spirit alive?

Virtual retreats (also known as virtual parties) are here to help you lift the spirits of your team members and make sure everyone is on the same page.

What are virtual retreats?

These are virtual team-building activities organized in dedicated virtual party rooms. The theme, content, and duration may vary. One of the most important things to consider is the choice of virtual party space since Zoom, Google Meets, and similar business calls do not really count as virtual retreats (even if you make them super fun).

Virtual party platforms — what to expect inside?

Due to the range of available activities on virtual event platforms (such as Party.Space), the choice is almost limitless these days. Making a choice depends on the planned duration of virtual events. If you plan a one-day event (4-5 hours in total), we recommend choosing up to 10 activities, some of them running in parallel to each other.

Top 20 virtual retreat activities to choose from

  1. Award ceremony
    Let’s start with the most important part of any virtual retreat — appreciating a team’s hard work and dedication. There should be several awards in multiple categories, even if your team is not that big. Handing out an award to only one person wouldn’t be encouraging for the rest, right?
  2. Prize raffle
    Other people should not leave the party space empty-handed either. Prepare small but useful gifts (Starbucks cards, Uber promo codes, etc.) and distribute them randomly. Always a perfect ice-breaker.
  3. Q&A session with CEO
    If serious presentations are not on the agenda, organize a quick (15 minutes tops) session with the CEO. Virtual teams are expanding all the time these days and newcomers hardly know anyone outside their immediate team. A Q&A session is an excellent chance to remind everyone “we are still on the same team.”
  4. Virtual mixology
    Every party has some drinks, right? Why not to host virtual mixology class?
    Organizing a Virtual Mixology Class on your own is not that difficult. Take a quick look at five steps and one tip for doing it with almost zero hassle in our blog. 
  5. Virtual disco hall with a shared playlist
    The event might be virtual, but the dance mood is real! Every organization has a bunch of people who are killing it on the dance floor. Make sure they have a dedicated room on your online party platform.
  6. Movie screening with a chat discussion
    Another room can be for cinema enthusiasts! Just make sure the movie choice is not overcomplicated. Art house is not for everyone. A trending-now TV series or a good old season of the Office (or Friends) might be a better option.
  7. A photo contest
    Announce the topic(s) a few days in advance to give people enough time to prepare. And of course, the winner would need a photo-related prize. 
  8. Spontaneous drawing competition
    Take a famous enough picture (how about “American Gothic”?) and ask volunteers to redraw it in 10 minutes, using Paint or Canva only (obviously, graphic designers are not competing here, they are on the panel of judges).
  9. Emoji (GIF) battle
    For this game, the activities are endless. “Guess the book by three emojis”, “Explain a song in two GIFs only”, you get the idea. By the way, at Party.Space you can use emoji gun to shoot heart or beer emoji to your colleague.
  10. Virtual workshops
    When working from home for an extended period of time, people start to take their hobbies more seriously. Many have picked up long-forgotten hobbies and developed interests in others things. And this interest is still alive! 
    For virtual team retreats, there are several options to choose from. For example, home gardening basics and cocktail mixology.
  11. Random coffee and sharing sessions
    When choosing a virtual party software for your online event, make sure it has the option of virtual private booths — small rooms where people can simply chat (Starbucks or similar gift cards can be emailed before the event).
  12. Game streaming
    People usually play online games with either their friends or strangers from the internet. Finding a bunch of colleagues who are also fans of “your game” is always a nice surprise!
  13. Virtual-but-not-computer games
    “Truth or dare” and “Never Have I Ever” are some of the best ways to get to know your colleagues from a very different perspective. Just remember, what was told in the virtual truth or dare room, stays in the virtual room.
  14. Wellness lecture
    Not everyone is in the mood for parties these days. A virtual lecture on professional burnout prevention (or digital hygiene in social networks) might interest those not ready to party hard.
  15. Confessions of failure private room
    Are you familiar with the concept of F*ckup Night events? Maybe it’s time we all try that — admit we make mistakes far more often than we hope. Praising success stories is awesome, of course, but learning from failures is much more educational.
  16. Virtual book club
    As simple as it sounds: people get together to discuss what they are reading. For some, this is a good starting place for a long-term personal friendship!
  17. Travelers’ club
    Hiking tips, hotel recommendations, gastronomic reviews, secret promo codes to local spas — who says that colleagues can’t be part of your comfortable work-life balance?
  18. Cooking together
    On many occasions, colleagues with kids skip team-building activities due to a lack of time or because they couldn’t get a babysitter. How about cooking a meal together? It’s always fun for kids and colleagues can exchange useful tips for cooking for kids! Produce baskets can be delivered to any of the participants’ doors on the day of the event.  
  19. Wordle, anyone?
    And don’t even try to persuade us you are not playing. Everyone does.
  20. Follow-up survey
    While this isn’t part of the virtual retreat itself, it shouldn’t be overlooked. Do not forget to collect feedback on the virtual retreat activities a few days after (a week max.). When it comes to entertainment, people’s preferences are changing all the time. Make sure you know your team well enough.

On a final note, a purely technical recommendation on organizing virtual events for large groups: when choosing a virtual party website, make sure you have the chance to try a demo (a pilot party) at least several days before the event itself. Arranging all the technicalities in advance would help prevent any awkward pauses and delays in your virtual party timeline.

Published Feb 22, 2022

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